Everyone I talk to is trying to save money one way or another.  The best way to save money is to not buy anything altogether, but sometimes you really need something or you get bored and feel like shopping.  If you have to spend money,  I suggest checking out your local thrift store, such as the Goodwill, Salvation Army, or St. Vincent DePaul store. 

These stores sell  interesting and very affordable merchandise. The stores are stocked with slightly used merchandise  donated by friendly people in your community.  All of these stores are on a mission to help people.  The money made from these stores usually helps to provide families in need with living expenses and job training.  You can feel good about shopping the thrift stores knowing that you are buying needed items at great prices and your money is going to be used to support worthy causes.

Some items you should never purchase new.  Here are the top five things you should only purchase at a thrift store:

1. Books

couch(61614)Credit: kozzi

Unless you need a particular book, in which case look online for cheap deals, the thrift store is the place to go for great reads at great prices!  Often times thrift stores have a huge selection of good books, even new ones!  Sometimes you can find treasure here as well, such as the book I found with a twenty-dollar bill in it, or a rare first edition.  I even once found a college textbook I needed for a class, for less than a dollar!

2. Furniture

actual couchCredit: kozzi

I made the mistake once of buying couches from a retail store.  Those couches cost me a thousand dollars.  It's a mistake I will not make again. I thought that after I got done with college and got a grown up job that I should buy new things.  I regret that sort of thinking.  Those thousand dollar couches were nowhere near as comfortable as my old college couch, which I got at a thrift store!  Thrift stores always have a ton of great furniture at dirt cheap prices! 

3. Workout Equipment

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Wether you are looking for a bike, free wights, or an entire bench press.  Look first at your local second-hand store.  People are always deciding to get in shape and then soon quitting, giving all there newly purchased workout equipment to the thrift stores!  Before you do the same thing, save a little money by purchasing it from the thrift store. In the end you won't feel as bad when you drop it back off at the thrift store for the next well-intentioned soul!

4. Toys

toy(61616)Credit: kozzi

If you have kids, take them to the thrift store for toys.  Toys are probably the cheapest thing in a thrift store.  Your kids will be happy because they can pick out many more toys than they could if they were at a full price retail store, and you will be happy because you saved a ton a cash and made your kids just as, or even more, happy!  And don't forget to check out the board games.  Often they are only fifty cents or a dollar, up to 90% off retail new!

5. Kitchen Ware

kitchen(61613)Credit: kozzi

Thrift stores probably have more kitchen ware than anything else in the store!  Why go out and spend tons of money on pots and pans and dishes and utensils when the thrift store has them all for cheap!  They often even have brand names.  Now again you can even find some silver mixed in with all the other forks, spoons, and knives!

These are the top five things people should only purchase at the thrift store, but there are lots more!  And remember, shopping your charity store helps the environment by recycling, helps your wallet by saving money, and helps the charity your store supports!  It's an all around win for everyone!