10 Tips For Shopping At Thrift Stores

According to GetRichSlowly.com: " If the national media is any indication, more people are embracing the notion of buying used clothing from thrift stores and consignment shops. Last week, USA Today ran a story describing how secondhand stores are reaping the benefits of recession:

As Americans look for ways to cut spending, they are scooping up bargain clothes, accessories, toys and furniture once owned by someone else.
“We’re sorry about the economic situation, … but it is a good time for our industry,” says Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops. Three-fourths of resale stores said they had higher sales in September and October, compared with the same period last year, according to the trade group. The average sales increase was about 35%.
According to the article, 70% of adults surveyed last summer say that buying used is now more socially acceptable than it was a decade ago."

Here are 10 tips I've found to be helpful from my Thrift shopping experiences at local thrift stores:
1) GO WITH A PLAN: Have in mind specific items you or your family members need. Also keep in mind items for your household that you need.

2) SET A BUDGET: Don't go shopping with an open ended budget. Decide in advance the amount of money you can spend for the whole shopping trip.  It is easy to get carried away and over spend when you put a bunch of inexpensive items in your cart.  
3) Goes along with #2: GO WITH CASH:  If you can, take the budgeted amount along in cash. This will really help you to stay on track with your plan and your budget.
4) KNOW YOUR LOCAL THRIFT STORES SALE DAYS: Often your favorite thrift stores will have sale days like 1/2 off Wednesdays.  Keep this information in mind and try to take advantage of them.
5) ASK WHEN THEY ROTATE STOCK: Many thrift stores rotate stock continually, so you should check back often, but ask if there are specific days they bring in new inventory.
6) THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX : One of my favorite out of the ordinary thrifty places to shop is the Habitat for Humanity Restores.  We have several in the Richmond Metro area. They are a great place to find household, flooring, cabinetry, tiles, at 90 % off the retail price. We recently replaced a pair of bifold doors for $15.00 dollars from Habitat for Humanity Restore. Plus the money goes to a good cause. (They have exquisite dining tables too!)
7) TRY THINGS ON: Some thrift stores have dressing rooms, and some don't.  If you can try the clothes on.
8) READ THE LABELS: carefully read the labels and washing instructions. Don't by that cute silk blouse if your not going to dry clean it.
9) EXAMINE CAREFULLY; Nothings worse than getting home and discovering an unnoticed stain, broken zipper, or hole you hadn't noticed.
10) FIND WAYS TO REPURPOSE: A cute Christmas table cloth might make a cute tree skirt. Sheets can be used as shower liners or curtains.

Jan's bonus tips: Some people find that going to a more expensive living area of your town reaps the best named brand items at thrift stores and consignment shops, so that might be a fun thing to check out.  

                         Some used clothing stores let you sell them your unwanted items back, such as Plato's Closet, so take some with you and use the items they buy as store credit for your shopping trip.  

What are your favorite Thrifty Shopping tips or greatest finds?

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