Thrift shopping for clothes and housewares is a great way to save money, explore vintage fashion, and give your money to a charitable cause. However, as with any store, if you don’t shop smart you could end up wasting your time and not making any useful purchases. Use these tips to become a thrifting pro:
- Know What You Need (and What You Don’t): Thrift stores can be worlds of temptation. Finding lots of well-priced and interesting items can lead any shopper to spend more than they should for things that they don’t necessarily need. Before hitting the stores, have an idea of what you’re shopping for. Are you looking for funky wall art? Do you need a new coat? Creating a shopping list and a budget can keep you from getting carried away, so you don’t end up donating back unnecessary purchases in a few months.
- Practice Your Timing: Obviously, most used items are already priced cheaper than new items. However, many thrift stores host clearance sales to help clean out stock and make room for new donations, so you can save even more money. Ask your favorite local store if they have a clearance or restocking schedule, so you know when old items might go on sale, or when new items might be brought in. Remember to visit often, since you never know when your next favorite find will be donated.
- Check for Damage: While used items likely have a little love-wear, be hesitant about buying items that are actually damaged. For example, don’t purchase a shirt with a hole unless you are absolutely certain that you’ll mend the damage and wear it. Buying damaged things that you won’t use takes them away from people who actually will fix or repurpose them.
- Don’t Be Rude: Thrift store workers deserve just as much respect as any other retail person. Don’t try to haggle unless you know the store is price-flexible. Also, don’t rummage through clothes and housewares and make a huge mess. High turnovers and non-uniform items make thrift stores especially difficult to organize and clean, so show some respect and clean up after yourself. After all, you’re getting unique stuff for a great price.
- Research the Charity: Many thrift stores are non-profits that donate their earnings to local, national, and international charities. Do your research, and choose a charitable thrift store if you want your money to go towards a cause you believe in.
- Give Back: Finally, thrift stores depend on the charity and donations of others to provide affordable clothes to those in need, and to support charities with funds from sales. Keep up the recycling and the love by donating items in good condition to the thrift stores you frequent. If you need more motivation, remember that donations are tax deductible for the value of the items you donate.
Shopping doesn’t have to be expensive, and it doesn’t have to hurt the planet. Support your local community by shopping used, and use these tips to become the thriftiest shopper in town!