Personally, thrift shopping for me is a game, a personal high, my way to be and rule to live by. I mean when all those other people are out there paying full price I am waving around my thrifty finds and I am all like I can buy five of those for what you just paid and guess what? I am going to let you in on a few of my personal secrets so you can do it too!
This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Be so nosey about their sales.
Knowing about sales is key knowledge about the thrift stores you frequent. Ask them when are your sales? Is an end of season bag sale held at any point? Are there times of the month or week certain Items are price dropped? Stores like Goodwill and Salvation army tend to have scheduled sales. Small shops often do as well but they are not always as well planned.
Remember seasonal things in many stores are higher so they do not run out of those items and they can make the most money on them. For example, Halloween is around the corner. All their Halloween things are at their high price point from now until Halloween. Yet when you plan to walk in there the day after and you can score dress up items for a small fraction of what they were asking the day before and even buy next years costume bigger for your little one to grow into you are saving even more. Knowing the sales is going to help you maximize your savings.
Girl, what are you even looking for?
Be a man with a plan…err a woman with a plan. Every few months I go through the kid’s clothes. You do that too right? I keep an inventory of what is going to be needed, what is wanted, Ideas I have to decorate my home. So when I have my little list and I am dragging around those millions…Okay, yeah, my ten measly bucks; I know if Little Miss needs pants because she is outgrowing them or has ruined them in one of the million ways she finds to ruin clothing… That her pants are a high priority on my list. So go in there with an idea of where to start first.
The hunt is half the fun, right?
I am going, to be honest. When you walk in and see a mixture of this and that it can be overwhelming. I tend to stick with thrift stores where things are categorized by size and item. Otherwise for me personally it all just blends in together.
When looking for clothing for your self or anyone I want you to start at one end of the rack of let’s say pants and item by item work your way through. Pull anything you think you might like off the rack, shelf, bin and put it in your cart and continue to look and pull. You are NOT making choices you are simply selecting what you might like.
When you are looking for hard items be prepared to sift through and move things around. In, under, tucked in dark corners and again anything you find to place it in your cart to inspect and make a final choice. If you leave it sitting, it is likely someone else may need it too. You’ll blink and it will be gone.
Be your own quality control.
Once you have found a stack of possibilities you are going to go through each item putting back anything that is too worn, ripped, stained, don’t work, missing parts and so forth.Don’t be afraid to look for or ask about a plug. For some things, I even carry commonly sized batteries and a small screwdriver. I hate to get home and find out a toy does not work.
They say not to handle items because it creates a sense of ownership. I will tell you, in this case, it really helps to weed out the bad from the good. You do not want to get home and discover those designer jeans have a broken zipper and a nasty hole right where your women parts are. Or the game you picked for the family game night is missing so many parts it is never going to be played unless you count throwing each part in the trash as game night basketball. Take your time to look things over. Many thrift stores have pretty strict return rules.
Too dirty, popped seam? Can YOU fix it? Yes, you can! Ask them for a deal!
Let me tell you if you’ve got some skills like sewing and can simply fix a popped seam, or have an awesome stain remover that you are sure will work on that tiny stain or perhaps you don’t mind the small chip in that beautiful vase that will sit on your mantle untouched. Could be that doll with the horrible hair can be brushed down and braided to make her beautiful and loved again. Walk right on up, point out what they missed and ask if they are willing to mark the item down. Some places will practically give you the item. I will tell you it does not hurt to ask and you should by all means ask.
Thrift shopping means you can be a brand name snob.
I can tell you certain brand names we are talking about clothing mostly here outlast the cheaper brands. When thrift shopping I am sifting through items of clothing I am not looking for something I can purchase at that big discount store off their ten-dollar rack and personally you shouldn’t be either. You will mostly end up with clothing that pills, falls apart, or once stained will hold that stain in until it sad little death in the trash bin. Think of all those brands you love to shop for or wish you could. Those right there are your target items.
Know what it is worth.
Once you have shopped around it is important to know the thrift shop values of items in your area and also what you feel is a fair second-hand deal. ladies I’m going to tell you my husband likes to tell me that these numbers are clearly made up, but I assure you for me in my area and for my personal, budget they are not. Your price point may be different. It is a learned skill over time. I fully expect to hit my price point or under no matter how much I love an item I know I can put it down because I will find a better deal later. I can assure you, you will too.
- Children’s clothing $1-$2
- Children’s Winter Coats $2-$3
- Children’s shoes $1-$2
- Toys $1 – $4 the higher end for larger or highly coveted toys
- Adult clothing $2 – $6 the lower being for T-shirts and the higher for brand names
- Small kitchen appliances $2- $7
- Decors such as wall hangings, curtains, and knick-knacks $1-$4
- DVDs $1-$2
- Books $1 and under
- Purses $5 and under
- Belts, ties, hats, gloves, new socks, gently used bras $2 and under.
- Small electronics such as alarm clocks & radios $2-$3
- End tables and small furniture $5 and under unless the piece is special such as mahogany
- Couches, chairs, and table set $10 – $35 my price point is low here because often you can get these things free on giving away sites.
***Many time larger toys like the ride on toys and outdoor toys will be marked low due to lack of storage space at the store those things they want to move quickly.
Let me tell you, there is nothing like the feeling you get walking out of a thrift store knowing you just ripped them off. Oh, My Gosh! KIDDING. Sometimes though, I really feel that way. So walk in there with an open mind armed with these tips and thrift shop like the pro you now are.
Are you a thrift shopping Mama? Tell me your own tips in the comments below or shoot me your questions I would be happy to answer them.