Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Thrift Stores

I think that it's time to start winding down my Thrifty Thursday posts. I'm running out of ideas for them and I don't want to bore you for months on end. So probably only a few more weeks and then I can start a new series. Does anyone have any suggestions of topics you would like to see discussed on a weekly basis? Please let me know in the comments or via email.

Even though Thrifty Thursday is on its last legs, it's not over yet! So today we will be discussing thrift stores and how to efficiently shop at them.

Thrift stores can be awesome or they can just be like any other store. Depending on where you live, you will have the option of many different stores or you may only have one or two. No matter how many thrift stores you have, be sure to take a look around and get a feel for the prices. Just because it is labeled as a "thrift store" doesn't always mean that they have thrift store pricing. So watch out for that.

When shopping, have a rough idea of what you are looking for. This is a fine line to walk since you can't be too specific in your shopping but you also don't want to go in with the idea that you should buy everything. Since everything is normally priced so low, it's easy to buy more than you need (or have room for) just because it is an awesome price. So watch out for the desire to buy stuff just because it is cheap and ask yourself if you really need it and have a use for it.

What I like to do is have a rough idea of things that I am looking for and then shop for those things over a span of a couple of months. Just because the store doesn't have any end tables the first time you go in, doesn't mean it won't 3 weeks down the road. They are constantly getting new stuff so you will want to check back semi-often.

You have to be really patient when thrift store shopping. It's not like going into a Walmart or Target where you can just go to a specific shelf and find what you are looking for. Most of the time you will have to dig and actually search for the good stuff. Especially when it comes to clothes. Most of the clothes are outdated or tacky but if you search long enough, you can find some real treasures.

Another suggestion I like to make is to go in with a budget in mind. Tell yourself you only have $20 (or more if you want) and make yourself stick to that budget. It's so easy to overspend at thrift stores because you keep finding amazing deals of things you must have! Until you get to the checkout and realize you spent a small fortune on second hand items.

One last tip is to shop the sales. If your local thrift store has some sort of membership, join it. Members usually get emails about upcoming sales and sometimes they even offer special 50% off rates to members only. I've scored some amazing deals on books and clothes while shopping a 50% off sale before.

I do realize that some people don't ever shop at thrift stores and that is perfectly fine. They are not for everyone and I'm not trying to tell you that you need to start now. I just wanted to offer some tips on making the most of thrift store shopping and telling you what works well for me.

What about you? Do you shop at thrift stores often? Any tips or advice I forgot? Speak up, I love hearing from my readers.


Thrifty Thursday Mini Series

Week 1: Tracking Your Spending
Week 2: Monthly Budget 
Week 3: Just Say No
Week 4: Mini Emergency Fund
Week 5: Buying vs Making 
Week 6: Coupons 
Week 7: Debt
Week 8: Christmas Gifts 
Week 9: Thrift Stores 
Week 10: Finale 


  1. No tax at Vinnie's tomorrow and Saturday, weee!!! I love me some thrift shopping! Though I find it's just as easy to buy something new on sale then shopping at Value Village, the way their prices are now. Something has to be said for buying for the purpose of recycling I guess in addition to saving money, since we are such a consumerist society, we should thrift shop for the sake of using things until they are not useful anymore, rather than because we are just bored with it... easier said than done I suppose!

  2. Vicky - I LOVE Vinnie's, it's way better than Value Village. Are you going to be shopping during the no tax sale? And I think your point of buying things second hand to help with waste is such a good one. Thanks for pointing it out!