- Personal Finance»
- Frugal Living
9 Ways to Walk Out of A Thrift Store Happy - Thrift Store Shopping Tips
Thrift Store Finds
Thirft Store Shopping Guide
This article is dedicated to my boyfriend's mom, Tina Blumenshine. She lived for shopping at thrift stores, and we shared that passion together. It is surprising what you can pick up and more remarkable how many people you can cloth. It feels good to buy a lot, yet spend less. My wardrobe is overloaded from all the finds. I never have to spend more than twelve bucks for a pair of jeans. Some of the stores are shoe heavens. I found some worth loving!
I researched some other tips and found a few good ones, but I want to add some useful tips to prepare you for the trip. Sunday is frequently the starting day for the new color tag sale of the week. Sunday is often a better time to find more of those sales tags. It is best to arrive before 10:00 am if you don't tolerate the bustling sounds of families and crying babies.
Preparing to go shopping and what you may need or use while you are in the store:
- Assess what you need and whom you will give the item. What are the shirts, pants, and shoe sizes of each person?
- Are there any particular collections or hobby items you are searching for?What are thepreferredbrands, stylesandcolors? What do you already have plenty of?Sometimesthis is an adoptedmission to help out a friend, butthesamequestionsapply to develop a usefullist.
- This is theperfectplace to shopforhouseholditems, homedecor; especiallyfor recycle and reusing purposes. This can be a terrifictimefor "GreenShopping". With somany blogs givingideas on how to turn an item into something else, you can save yourself a lot of moneyfiguring out a brilliantnewusefor an olditem. Makeitmoreattractive, addfreshstain, paintor stencil design.
- Take something to drink and snacks. I know I have spent hours in one store, and it becomes exhausting, and you get thirsty and tired. I have sat on top of a buggy full of clothes one of the first times I went!
- How to look through shirts and other apparel at a fast pace. You have to have a sense of the person's style. You want to look quickly at each shirt as fast as you can. If a rack is stuffed tight, it is harder to do. Take a few items out just to make some space. I go expeditiously and only slow down when I see one of interest. Pull it out to survey closer. Watch for those color sale tags while searching, especially the ones that are 50% off!
- Categorize.This helps determine the starting point in each store. Start either with your favorite things first and then move to other items. Start at the front of the store and work towards the left side and back; then backup to the front like a horseshoe shape path.
- Selling items on eBay or in a store. Have in mind or on a list what you want. Include brand names. Use your phone to access eBay while in the store to check prices. That may help you with the decision to buy the item or leave it in the store.
- Antiques and quality item identification. This is easier for people that have the knowledge already, but there are plenty of books and online sites that you can educate yourself on items worth finding and reselling. Always think about estimated shipping costs. Smaller items are easier and cos tless to ship to customers.
- How to use your smart phone to increase your odds of finding a bargain worth reselling. Check eBay, Amazon or just do a Google search on the item and locate the current market value. Use phone apps that can help assess values, so make sure those "tools" are in hand and ready to verify values.
Prepare and Take These Items with You
Check list of what to take with you:
- Sales of the day or week. What tag color is in the sale and how much is the discount? Often times there are multiple colors with various discounts or prices. Any coupons, some are available via email subscriptions others are from Valuepacks or Sunday newspapers. Is it Senior Citizen discount day? Who will go with you so you can get the discount too?
- Sizes of clothing and shoes for the people you are shopping. Use the memo in your phone or write it down and keep it with you during every shopping trip.
- Kleenex, yes these may be necessary. I noticed my nose runs when I am in these stores. Mold? Dust? Old things, the a/c or heating system, who knows; you need them if you have kids too.
- Hand sanitizer, maybe a Ziploc bag with Lysol wipes inside. Protect yourself from germs.
- Small children keep them happy. If you have small children, take a few quiet things they can do in the buggy or stroller. Make sure they ate before you leave, still take snacks and drinks for later.
- Mini notebook. Track what that store specializes in and maybe add a little hand-drawn map of the store layout. This allows you to start shopping exactly where you want to and work efficiently through the store..
- Extra bag (make sure it is machine washable) you can put things in, in case the place has a buggy shortage. Some don't keep enough, instead of waiting for a free cart, have an alternate way to carry things. Clothes become heavy real fast.
- Colors. Any household items you want in a specific color, take a picture of the room it is going into. Ensuring it coordinates in the right shades currently in your home is essential. Some places have many curtains and blankets. If you have your paint chips, take those too.
- Cash or credit cards, no checks. It is embarrassing to get the front of the checkout and realize the types of payments the accept.
- Keep that thirst quenched. Keep a bottle of water or your favorite drink in hand.
- Change, in case you need a drink from the vending machine.
Becoming familiar with the thirft stores
Some stores have much lower prices than others. Red Racks are generally higher prices now. Check out the stores around you and in near-by cities to find the best stores offering the best bargains. When you become accustomed with the store layout and what they offer, you will know where to start looking.
An example of one of my shopping trips: I took $20 bucks today and went to The Goodwill and Red Racks. I brought home 7 men's t-shirts, 1 woman's tank top - Talbots brand and one smaller Pyrex casserole dish (1.49) on my budget of twenty dollars. That Pyrex dish I may try to sell on eBay or Etsy.
Make money from items found, which leads us to shopping for the purpose of reselling items. Know your brands and antiques, know what people want. I would look through eBay for best sellers and what people are looking for. Keep your eyes open for items easy to ship. With larger items, you may want to rent a space from an antique store and put the items in the booth or have a garage sale if you think you can charge more than what you paid. It is a fabulous way to find things you can refinish and make look nicer, more modern or more quality. Some resell stores pay individuals for antique furniture and household goods.
Savings Comparing Thrift Store to Retail
Name Brand Jeans $6-12
Name Brand Jeans $30-150
Mens T-Shirt $1-5
New T Shirts $9.99-34.95
Tank Tops $ 2-10
Name brand tanks $12.95-36
new low to mid brands 19.99-65.00
thrift stores finds
Thrift Store Shopping Poll
Do you shop at thrift stores, discount stores or garage sales for savings?
Goodwill and Red Racks Thrift Stores
2 Thrift stores next door to each other