If you’re heading to a secondhand store soon, you’ll want to save money as much as you can. These thrift store shopping trips are tried and true so help you do just that.
I love thrift stores. No joke, but I have a serious, serious habit. A serious thrifting habit. I absolutely love going into a thrift store and finding a great bargain.
I’m sure you do too, am I right?
As much as I love thrifting, I can also say that if you’re not following a few guidelines that you set for yourself, it can be a dangerous dangerous thing.
When you head to the thrift stores, it can be incredibly easy to spend more money than you intended to. That’s why thrift store shopping tips such as these are so important for you to know before you head out to shop. Because take it from me; you can really overspend if you don’t know them.
Ask me how I know. 🙂
Thrift Store Shopping Tips
There are so many myths about shopping at secondhand stores and frankly most of them are entirely untrue. That whole “only poor people shop at thrift stores” is one of the bigger ones.
I also love the one that says that all thrift stores only sell junk. Frankly, that could not be farther from the truth. Most thrift stores often sell brand new items and those times my friend; are when you really find the deals.
Like this denim jacket (here) I found a few years ago. The original price was $99.95. I paid $6.00!
Why You Should Buy Used First
If you are in need of anything for your family or home – with a few exceptions of things you should never buy used (SixDollarFamily.com) – your first stop should almost always be a thrift store or consignment store.
Why no, I haven’t lost my mind. There is a reason.
Shopping at thrift stores is a great way to save money; we all know that, right?
Of course we do.
But, have you ever thought of how they save you money?
How Do Thrift Stores Save You Money?
It can be easy to overlook just how many ways a thrift store can save you money.
I know I do a lot of the time.
There are, of course, the obvious ones; clothing, household appliances, and so on.
But how about helping you save on hobbies? Craft supplies and more are all very cheap at thrift stores most of the time.
They’re also great at helping you save on furniture; although make sure you skip mattresses and box springs. They’re on the list of what you should never buy at thrift stores.
Thrift stores are also a great way to save money on camping and outdoor equipment.
In other words; shopping at a secondhand store – and making it the first place you check – will often save you more money in your life than you realized was possible.
How to Save Money at Thrift Stores
Like I said earlier, these thrift store shopping tips are the key for helping you keep more of your money exactly where you want it; in your own pocket.
Know Your Prices Before You Shop
Just because you are shopping at a thrift store doesn’t mean that they will always have the best price or the best buy.
Knowing what something costs new can save you from buying a dud deal used. If you know that a toy only costs $15.00 new, why would you pay $18 in a thrift store used? In this case, buying it new, even at regular price, would be the better deal.
This one is especially important which is why it’s first. I’ve seen a lot of cases where a thrift store. One in particular that starts with a “G” and ends with “will”, specifically stands out to me as having has a very bad habit of marking their items at or even above retail prices.
Shop With a List in Mind
Shopping with a list doesn’t just apply to the grocery store and thrift stores can be just as dangerous without one.
Before you shop, mentally go over everything you need to find and only purchase the items that are on your list. Don’t buy something just because it’s a good deal. .
The only exception to this is if you know – as in know 100% certain – that you will need the item in the next couple of months or that you can make a profit from your thrift store score.
If your daughter has prom coming up and she happens to find the dress she has to have, go ahead and pick it up if it’s cheap, but keep your extra buys only to those items that you are certain you will have a need for.
Shop at the right time of day
Like at your local grocery store, the deals that you’ll find when you shop are dependent on what time of day that you shop usually.
Shopping in the morning means that you’ll have access to any new items they’ve put out while shopping in the evening generally means they’re putting new items out as you shop.
I have found that shopping in the middle of the day usually means I won’t find as many items.
Pay attention and learn when you stores add their new items and try to shop around that time frame.
Shop the Sale
Yes, you heard me right. Thrift stores have sales too.
A lot of the time they are tag based sales. Check the item that you want to buy for a colored tag. Usually there is a sign at the front of the store that will tell you what color tags are on sale.
You can usually find items marked down 50% and sometimes even 75% off of the secondhand price! Finding those items can really add some bulk to your savings!
Also, keep an eye out for bag sales. I have seen promotions where thrift stores have sold brown paper bags for $1 or $2.00 each. Whatever you can fit in that bag, goes for that price!
These are typically my favorite types of sales because you can usually get A LOT of items in those paper bags making shopping them even more worth it!
Don’t forget about online thrift stores
Online thrift stores or consignment stores are a fantastic thing and if you find the right ones, you’ll agree! An online thrift store is a great way to save money while never having to leave home and still find the items you need.
For clothing, I prefer to shop at an online consignment store called ThredUp. They offer women’ and children’s clothing, shoes and accessories at really decent prices. If you’ve never shopped with them, you can score a free $10 credit off your first order at THIS link (ThredUp).
Plus, ThredUp allows you to sell the clothing, shoes and accessories (belts, wallets, purses, and more) as well.
For books, I absolutely adore Thriftbooks. Not only is shipping free at just $10.00, but they have a great rewards program too and fair prices on books. The section is huge too so it’s easy to find what you need.
If you’re new to Thriftbooks, THIS link (Thriftbooks) can save you 15% off your first order.
Keep Your Wallet Close
While I don’t mean to watch for theft – while not a bad idea- keeping your wallet close in terms of spending is a great thrift store shopping tip for you to learn. Just as you should never shop without a list, you should not go into a thrift store without setting a budget for yourself. (Six Dollar Family)
Shopping without either is the single most absolute way to overspend in a thrift store. The one and only time that we went into one without out setting a budget was the time that I walked out paying $148.00.
Before you shop, sit down and look at your finances. If you’ve only got $20.00 to spare for shopping, then don’t spend more than $20.00. You’ll have to hold yourself to your spending limit, but don’t let yourself go over.
One very good way to make sure that you stick to your thrift store budget is to only take cash with you when you shop. Leave your debit and credit cards at home.
This is one of my favorite thrift store shopping tip for one reason; if you’ve only got $25 in cash on you, you’re literally unable to spend anymore. I don’t know for certain, but I think even people like Dave Ramsey would agree with me.
Don’t overlook holidays
When you’re shopping, be on the lookout for items that are still in their original packaging or still have the tags on.
These items are perfect for giving at birthdays or Christmas and trust me; the person you’re giving it to will not suspect where you truly bought it from.
This past Christmas, my daughter Emma received 2 pairs of jeans that retail would have cost me more than $50.00 each. Instead of paying that high cost, I bought them at a Goodwill in our area, still with the tags on for $4.00 each.
That’s a fantastic savings and she Em never knew the difference!
Just because something is sitting on the shelf or hanging on the rack at the thrift store doesn’t mean it wouldn’t make a good gift and there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a new item secondhand to give.
I personally would never give a used gift, however, if you would and are comfortable doing so, have it it from your thrift shops!
ALWAYS Test Before You Purchase
Thrift stores are notorious for not testing items before they put them on the shelf so be sure that you do. Otherwise, you may end up paying your hard earned money for an item that doesn’t work.
Always double check something and do not assume that just because an item is new in the package that it works like it is supposed to. Always test something and if you can’t test it; walk away. It isn’t worth the risk of getting an item that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to because it’s cheap.
Use Loyalty and Rewards Programs to Save Extra Money
Finally, my last thrift store shopping tip for you is to find and use any rewards or loyalty programs your favorite thrift stores may offer. These can include stamps for spending a certain amount of money and other promotion ideas.
Often, these will be card based and once you fill a card, you’ll save an additional percentage or dollar amount on your total purchase.
It’s a great way to boost the amount of money you’re already saving by shopping at a secondhand shop!