From clothing to household essentials, thrift stores are great places to find a wide variety of items, and at steeply discounted prices. If you’re trying to cut down on your spending, shopping at a thrift store is a good start, but you may be able to save even more money with some of the following tips:
Shop during the right times
You’ll always be able to find low-priced items for sale at your local thrift store, but for the best bargains, try to save your shopping trips for the right times of year. Although it’s not a guarantee, you may have better luck by going during certain seasons, and when the selection is likely to be much larger. For example, the beginning of spring can be a great time to try, because many people finish their spring cleaning and bring their unwanted items to their local thrift store. You may also want to try in January—because a lot of people make the New Year’s resolution to become more organized, you’ll likely find a lot more merchandise in stock.
Ask when new merchandise arrives
Not only is it a good idea to shop during the right times of the year, but you’ll also want to try to schedule your shopping trips for the right days of the week and when new merchandise arrives. Many thrift stores will often set aside specific days of the week in which they put out new inventory, so you can always ask your local thrift store when this day might be. Being one of the first customers to shop new inventory can give you the opportunity to find the best bargains and products.
If you have to rush through the shopping process, you may end up missing a great, low-priced item or paying too much on another. Allow ample time to search through the aisles and bins of merchandise; thrift stores are known to be a bit haphazard, and sometimes you just have to dig and search through their products to find what you’re looking for. If you’re not in a rush, you’re more likely to have the patience needed to find some of the better deals and merchandise.
On top of their already low prices, many thrift stores will have sales and run promotions to maximize savings for their customers. For example, they may run a buy one, get one free promotion for a limited time. These sales may not be openly advertised or you may find out about them too late, so be sure to ask ahead of time if they’re planning on running any specials that week.
See the potential
If an item is almost being given away, but it needs a lot of work, try to see the potential. If it won’t cost to make it like-new again and it’s something you’d normally spend a lot on, you can save yourself a lot of money by looking beyond its current condition and seeing the potential it has. Not only can restoring an item help you to save substantially, but it can be a fun do-it-yourself project to tackle.
Don’t ignore quality
It’s one thing to see the potential in certain items, but sometimes you have to draw the line and determine when a bad quality item can’t be saved. Even if the price is low, spending money on something that will just end up in the trash the next day is a waste of money. Remember that a lot of thrift stores won’t accept returns, so carefully inspect everything you buy before you make the purchase. If you’re purchasing clothing, for instance, check carefully for defects, such as split seams, missing buttons, or severe discoloration.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, legal, or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.