top 5 tips for thrift shopping

Tip #1
Be familiar with the store.  
Check out all of the facts you can about the stores in your area. 
There are 2 main thrift shops in my city, Savers and Deseret Industries.  Savers offers regular discounts, 20% off coupons for donations and regular sales days and a Super Saver Club Card where I receive invitations to Sales only for Club Card members, like 30% Off Sale Days, etc..  Deseret Industries has special shipment days on Thursdays in my area.  Just get to know what your stores near you offer and then jump on those deals.  They will love you for it!!!

Tip #2
Select the store by what is the highest priority to you.

I love getting the absolute lowest price for my 2nd hand items.  I think of it this way = the items were given to the store, ...given!  They didn't have to buy them at a wholesale price, so what ever they make on the sale, be it even just a dollar, they are getting a profit.  So I hunt for the lowest possible price!  I love to shop at my favorite place on their 99¢ Sale Day, which is on Monday {if they aren't having a 50% Off Sale Day} because I can get the lowest possible price.

As an example: These fabulous sparkle jeans with the brand name of WHITE HOUSE | BLACK MARKET were only 99¢ because I found them on that "sale" day!  I about 'peed my pants' when I found them because they had a Savers tag of $12.99 price on them and no one had bought them even on the previous week when they were 50% off!  They have been one of my all-time favorite "finds".

A few weeks ago I bought a shirt for 99¢ and as you can see from this set of photos above, that it has never been worn!  It even has the "L" plastic strip on the front.  The price tag from JCP asking price was $16.  At Savers, they wanted $5.99 but, it was still there on the Monday that the orange tags were going to be just 99¢!  Savers rotates the colors in sequence but if you lose track, you do what I do.  I just ask when I first walk in the store.  Sometimes I ask the clerks and other times I just ask a neighboring shopper.  Usually someone know the correct color that is 99¢ on Monday!  However, I have learned that you have to get there right when they open or start your shopping sometime in that first hour.  Yet, there have been some times when I have not got there until Monday afternoon and I still find great 99¢ deals.  I'll discuss more about the 'luck' strategy next week.

Imagine the fun you could have with a basic turquoise mock turtleneck that was only 99¢?  Man, the scarves I can wear with this number is nearly endless.  My Mom {my fashion guru} always claimed that anything goes with turquoise! Awh ~ ~

(Disclaimer:  Some Savers in Utah are still doing 99¢ Sale Day and others are not.  When I mentioned it in a previous post last year, that they were stopping the 99¢ Sale Day, I was at a store in Salt Lake Valley that told me that their region was no longer doing 99¢ Sale Day.  However, the one I shop at the most, in my city, is STILL doing it. Yay!)

Tip #3
 Don't settle for a cluttery - messy store!
Just because they are 'used' or 'second-hand' items doesn't mean
the store should to be dirty or unorganized.

Now many of you know I mostly shop at Savers.  Well, that is because it is CLEAN and ORGANIZED!  Earlier in the month, I really wanted to go to a Goodwill Store that had finally opened here in Utah.  There is only one that I know of. {Savers and Deseret Industries have a very strong market here}  Well, I was very disappointed in that Goodwill!  I did buy the purse, seen above and a hat that is for when my hair is depleted due to chemo in a few months.  But other than those two items, I was not interested in their selections or their prices.  Primarily the store was a mess!  I could tell there was a certain sense of order attempted, but when the rakes are tight, like so tight ya can't begin to slide the items over a bit to see the selections ~ urgh, that's bad!  Oh and the shoes. OMyGuersh!  They looked like the shoes I would toss in the trash!  They were horrible!!!  There is also a Salvation Army about 20 minutes north of me and it is an equal messy disaster.  Sad, really. 

There are fabulous thrift shops out there and if there is a disgusting one near you, let them know, primarily by boycotting it!  No cars in the parking lot, no customers and no sales happens really quickly when the stores are dirty, mismanaged and basically a mess! The best thrift shops succeed!


Tip #4
Take your time!
Plan out the time and money and what your really want.
Every once in a while I will just pop into my neighborhood Savers on an arbitrary moment.  {I found my nude Steve Madden heels on such an occasion, seen below.} But generally speaking, I plan my shopping time and the money for it.  If there will be a sale on a US Holiday, say on Memorial Day or Labor Day, I save for it.  Usually $50 gets me a great selection.  I can get a variety of items for that dollar amount.  I like to set a limit, too.  When I set a limit, that is all I am going to spend --- period!   Like for instance, in the last sale on President's Day, I only wanted to spend $20 that day!  I sought out to buy just purses.  My daughter and I shopped together that day and she just wanted items for her son and a few maternity things for herself. {yes she is due in May with my 6th grandchild, a little boy, yay!}  So we bounced the items off of each other: "Is this cute?"  "What about this?" "If you don't want it, I do!" etc., etc..  We were there for about 2 hours. We both knew that would be the time we would be spending there in order to find great things!!!  I also got the two items in my most recent posts,  the green and turquoise argyle sweater in "Argyle Anyone?" {HERE} and the great long sweatshirt in "Many, Nice Things"{HERE} along with 4 purses, one of which is the one seen below.  I love to shop with my daughter, but I also love to shop by myself.  It just depends what I want to accomplish.  

In other words, don't just wander into a thrift shop and expect the item to jump out at you.  It requires work to get the GREAT deals!

Tip #5
Don't buy anything ripped or stained!
Inspect the item thoroughly before you claim it.

Most items are great, but there are a few occasional things that are great at first glance and then you see the spot when you are trying it on.  Personally, if I own a stained shirt or top that I can't get the stain out, I toss it in the garbage!  I don't understand why people donate something that they wouldn't wear based on a stain and yet they think someone else won't mind?  That is not donation.  That is laziness!  So I feel sorry for the store when I see a stain or an un-repairable rip.  I mention this just as a 'heads-up' because those item are out there and you need to stay aware of those errors.

Just inspect everything and if it is ripped or stained, kindly place it back on the rack.  After the item is there for a few months the store realizes it and sell it to a fabric recycling place where the funds will be passed on to other non-profit organizations. 

I have had many of you ask me in my comments or in email as to how I get some of the deals I do.  Also, I have mentioned this in my "about" page too, that I treat thrift shopping as a game; a game of skill and luck.  Next week I will share my strategies for the skill and the luck moments as I thrift shop or in the experiences I've had.  Hope these specifics have helped you all and that you are feeling more and more confident in your abilities while you are shopping at thrift shops, wherever you live!

H A P P Y   T H R I F T   S H O P P I N G !

These items are NOT for sale.  
The price listed is the price I paid at the thrift shop!