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Shop at a Thrift Store and Get the Best Deals

Updated on August 28, 2016
You can dress like a king on a pauper's salary
You can dress like a king on a pauper's salary | Source

Plan Your Trip With Careful Research

Decide how far you are willing to travel to a thrift store. A store may advertise magnificent deals, but if you are not willing to go to where they are located, it is useless to you. There are several stores that offer wonderful deals that my sister makes a trip to once a year. To her, the gas money that she is spending makes up for the tank of gas she uses to get there and back.

Look at many stores, not just one. Search online for thrift stores, resale shops, consignment stores, charity stores, and everything else you can search for that designates what you are looking for. My sister found one of the best deals ever when she was looking for a stereo for her daughter. What did she search for? All of the above, and stereo repair shops. The deal she got was memorable because they were going out of business.

Online retailers can be your best friend or your worst experience. Check to see how returns are handled, what payment options there are, and who pays for the shipping. Also note where the item is being shipped from, as that can add a lot of time to the arrival of the item, or can cancel out the item being returned due to the cost. Shipping something back may not be worth the money that is invested on the item. Is it worth it to you if the item cannot be sent back without great expense?

Read Reviews

Take the time to read reviews of a business. I really wanted to shop at a certain store because they were supposed to have excellent prices. A local reviewer described a transaction that ruined a wedding. More reviews on this same business noted similar transactions from this business. I was shocked to learn of such practices. As I read more reviews, I went to different sites, where sadly, the merchandise was wonderful, but the care and customer service were lacking. A bride described the literal un-wadding her dress from the bag it was shoved into, incurring a pressing fee from a dry cleaners. Obviously, not a place that I wanted to do business with. Most places will have some negative reviews. You cannot please all people. Some people simply love to write negative reviews. Read more than one site to get a good feel for the business.

I still went to the store with all of the negative reviews. The staff was rude, but the prices were great. I asked for how to get hold of the owner, to complement them on the great prices. The staff gave me the information, and I wrote an email, listing all of the negative reviews as well as my own experience in the store. The owner corrected the problem, and they are now one of my favorite places to shop at.


Measure Before You Go

Whether it is furniture, clothing, a bookshelf or a large appliance, measure before you go. I paid a tailor to take all of my measurements before I started shopping online. Those measurements were well worth all of the money that I paid to get them done. I printed a set off, laminated them, and carried them in my purse. It made comparing sizes and prices online and in stores a breeze.

Don't buy something now for "When you are thinner". You don't know where your body will take the weight from, and you don't know how long it will take you to lose the weight.

Try everything on. I try on everything before I buy it. It is a hassle. It does take more time. It is so worth it in the amount of things that I put back on the rack because they do not fit me properly. Bring the correct shoes for the clothing you are trying on, it does make a big difference.

Check for Sales and Day of the Week Specials

There is a clothing store near me that offers specials on every day of the week. Tuesday is a great one, because with every purchase, you get a lesser priced item for .25. The store is packed, smart people arrive very early, and there are some great bargains to be had.

If you find yourself shopping at one store a lot, learn if they have any shoppers' incentives, such as a mailing list, a loyalty card or even a Facebook page. I learn about some awesome deals through my email box that are never mentioned publicly.

Ask for Special Pricing or Treatment and Not Just at Thrift Stores

I always say that it never hurts to ask. If you are making a large purchase, ask how firm the price is. When I purchased a large dinette set, I asked if the price could be lowered. The clerk told me that she would have to ask the manager.
I happily said that I would wait. The manager appeared and explained that they could offer either free shipping or absorb the taxes. I did a calculation and determined that the free shipping was a much better deal, so I selected that. Not asking is making sure you are not getting the best price. Asking is giving yourself the opportunity to get the best price.

Some places I have gotten a discount from may surprise you:

  • Sears --The box was crushed but the merchandise inside was still good. I asked if I could return it if the merchandise did not work and I was told yes. Amount of discount? 20 percent.
  • JCPenney-- Pants had a stain on the pocket. Amount of discount? 10 percent. Stain came out in first wash.
  • Grocery Store--Cans were dented. Half off the cans.
  • Grocery Store--Milk was expiring next day. Half off the milk. I was using it that day in baking.
  • Grocery Store--Bread was smashed. Buy one get one. I was using it in bread pudding.
  • Grocery Store--Vitamins paper was torn nearly off. Could not read milligrams. 90 percent off! (They allowed me to take a picture of an intact bottle so I could make a label at home.
  • Wal-Mart--Cover was missing from a Barbie Box. 10 percent off.
  • Wal-Mart--Lids missing from plastic bowl set. 50 percent off. I ordered the lids online for less than 2.00 including shipping.

You don't know if you don't ask. I now look in my grocery basket and do a quick online search for online coupons. I use a store loyalty card. It saves me money.

Join the Mailing List

Join the mailing list. It will save you money. Most stores now have a mailing list. You will get notified of special sales and incentives by joining the list. Some will require you to print the coupon, but more will allow you to scan it from your smart phone.

The best list I am currently on lets you get one free item from your total purchase...the most expensive item! (Up to a certain amount) I make it a point to always go in when they make that offer. They make it a point to bring all of their slow moving merchandise into plain view, and everyone wins.

Share the Wealth

If you want these wonderful places to stay in business, share them with your friends, family, and Facebook. Show photos of your amazing deals. Most thrift stores fail because they are unable to generate enough foot traffic to be able to survive. Tell your friends what types of things that they sell.

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  • Rochelle Frank profile image

    Rochelle Frank 5 years ago from California Gold Country

    Great tips for getting the deals in a variety of places.

    I love that you contacted the store owner whose employees weren't doing him any favors. The reviews aren't always true, so it is good that you verified the situation, yourself.

    As for asking for a better price-- I always feel a little timid about that, unless it's a yard sale. My husband always asks for a discount, and I'm always surprised that he usually gets it. You are right, though. It doesn't hurt to ask.

    (... and I always felt sorry for Pepin the Short... who was apparently best known for... being short.)