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Thrift Shopping 101

Updated on February 19, 2012

Make the Most of Your Money!

Even in the best of times it is necessary to be frugal. Just about anything you want or need can be found in thrift and consignment shops for a fraction of the retail cost. Allow me to share some money saving tips and ideas designed to cover all of your needs while working within your allotted budget. Don't miss out on getting exactly what you want. With time, patience, imagination and a little cash you CAN have it all!

A neat idea! Thrift Tour / Road Rally

Thrift Shopping by groups

After a local newspaper published a small story on my thrift and consignment shopping I was contacted by several people who wanted to take part in one of the "tours" that I talked about involving local thrift and consignment shops.

My first tour resulted in 43 passengers on a chartered bus and an additional 10 cars following. Though it seemed overwhelming as a first effort, it was a wonderful experience! An itinerary to include directions to all of the shops we would be visiting was created and distributed to those who would be driving. It consisted of stores within a three county radius and was a total of 88 miles round trip. We met the bus at 8:30 am and had made prior arrangements with shop owners who graciously agreed to open early for our group and many also provided additional discounts and light refreshments. A scheduled stop for lunch gave friends and new friends a place to gather and discuss their purchases. Overall it was an experience I was pleased to have been part of and have continued this tradition on a much smaller and more manageable scale.


What a wonderful way to spend your day with friends and family! If you all share the common goal of saving money and you love shopping, this is a must. Not only is it a lot of fun, but you can introduce those not acquainted to thrift store pricing to the fact that they do not have to spend a great deal of money to be trendy.

Take charge! Arrange your itinerary by listing stores that you would like to visit in a chronological loop that will eventually bring you back to your starting point. Map out the directions along with addresses and have your itinerary prepared and ready for your participants. Be sure to contact store owners prior to your visit and let them know how many people to expect on your tour. Many will offer additional discounts and refreshments, but don't be afraid to ask if they don't. It's a good idea to add a variety of stores to your agenda without focusing on just clothing or wares. Antique and specialty shops can be added too. It's also a good idea to add some other establishments that perhaps people have not seen that will be attending. (IE: For one tour in December I added a nursery that had a great selection of Christmas items, on another we stopped at an Italian Import store) When you have completed your itinerary, make your guest list.


I keep a master list of thrift and consignment shops in our area that I make available to members of our Facebook Group (Over 300 strong!) via Googledocs. In making my itineraries for road rallies I choose stores by areas and try to give a variety of selections. We live in central Ohio and are very close to Amish Communities, so those tours are usually scheduled at the change of seasons to enjoy their ambiance.

Make it a party!

If you are the queen of party hosting, a thrift and consignment shop road rally is a must for your group. You can make this a scavenger hunt, a collective effort to gather items for an upcoming event such as a wedding, birthday party, theme party, room makeover, etc. It's your call. Make it exactly what you want. Add your own twist and make it exactly what your friends and family expect of you, a riot!

In the spirit of giving to local charities, I once arranged a Christmas gift exchange in which you purchased an outfit for your person and it had to be purchased at a thrift store. We set a date to meet at a local restaurant after work the day that we exchanged gifts and you had to wear what you were given. It was hysterical! Nothing like a costume party in December. People had shopped together and actually helped pick out items that they did not know were intended for themselves which made it even funnier! One of the guys picked out a Swiss outfit that he thought was for someone else. Needless to say, he showed up at the party as the RICOLA Man.

Let's face it, Fun is fun!


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    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      What a good idea. Love thrift shops. Enjoyed your hub. Voted up.

    • mybestadvice profile image

      mybestadvice 5 years ago from Canton, Ohio

      Thank you so much for the words of encouragement from such seasoned members. I've got a lot to learn about this site and hope to continue the good work. Have a Happy and prosperous New Year!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 5 years ago from United States

      Your group shopping tours are a really cool idea! Good thinking, girl, and congratulations on being so successful at it. Hope you have lots of success on HubPages too.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wow! I'm a self-described Goodwill Junkie (I have a hub about it, lol). This is *awesome*. :)

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Terrific idea! I'll bet your tours are always filled with a waiting list of people wishing to go. Even designers featured on television shows like HGTV love shopping at thrift shops. We can all learn from this. I like the idea of things being recycled also. Great first hub! Welcome to HubPages!

    • EyesStraightAhead profile image

      Shell Vera 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      This is a fun idea. I only know of two local thrift stores so this hub makes me want to do a search on GoodSearch to find out how many I don't know about! Thank you for suggesting such a fun idea and sharing about your experience.

    • jesimpki profile image

      jesimpki 5 years ago from Radford, VA

      Wow, I've never heard of touring thrift stores before. I imagine this could be quite popular in major cities with lots of thrift stores.

    • lucybell21 profile image

      Bonny OBrien 5 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

      Awesome hub with lots of great info!

    • rgarnett profile image

      Rachael Fields 5 years ago from KC, MO

      I really like this idea. Its great for old folks homes and their buses. I would have never thought about looking into something like a thrift store tour. Well done.

    • starstream profile image

      Dreamer at heart 5 years ago from Northern California

      Thanks for the thrift shop tour ideas.