Home » How to Shop at Thrift Stores – The Do’s & Don’ts

Thrifting is a great way to save money. There are tips and techniques to finding those hidden gems. See our top TIPS for helping you find the best deals.
Thrifting is a great way to save money. There are tips and techniques to finding those hidden gems. See our top TIPS for helping you find the best deals.

Thrift stores are always fun to shop and you can find some great deals there, too.  What I love about thifting; you can do it all year around and not just seasonal savings (Like yard sales or flea markets)

Shopping thrift stores can obviously save money, but did you know there are even more ways to save? 

There are some things you will want to keep in mind while shopping thrift stores. You can save even more money if you are aware of these tips and you also want to make sure you are buying safe items as well.

How to Shop at Thrift Stores: The Do’s & Don’ts

Do bring cash. Not all thrift stores accept credit cards, debit card and some may not accept checks. Staying within your budget is easier when you bring cash as well. The amount you bring with you is the amount you can spend.

Do ask about mark down deals.  Many shops have special sales days. Some days of the week are a certain colored tag, or senior discount day.  There may even be a mom’s day. Check with your local stores to see what they offer. Most of the time the “Special Tag” is noted on a sign when you enter. If you don’t spotted it right away, don’t be afraid to ask.

Try to visit your favorite thrift shop regularly. You will get an idea of what items are coming in new and also if an item has been sitting around for a while. Larger items, such as furniture, take up a lot of space and the managers will usually mark them down to move the pieces out (even 50% off sometimes.)

Make sure to ask if there is a mailing (or email) list available. If the store offers this, then you can find out about special events or sales ahead of time. Get to know the clerks in the store and always ask if there is a better day to come back and buy certain items. My favorite thrift store offers a 50% off family day on Wednesday. One this day, every clothing item is marked down 50%.

Don’t limit yourself to thrift stores in your own neighborhood. Venture out to nearby neighborhoods and towns, especially those areas where thrift store shopping isn’t a cool trend. When my family and I go on vacation I always stop in and visit their thrift store you just never know what you may find.

Don’t assume you can return an item that doesn’t fit your body or your home. Many thrift stores have a “no returns or exchanges” policy. In Fact many are all sales are final.

Don’t be ashamed to try on clothing. You would never buy new clothes without trying them on. The same rule applies when buying used clothes. Especially since most thrift stores have a no returns or exchanges policy.

Don’t purchase an item you can not clean. This goes without having to explain. If you can’t clean it thoroughly at home their is no point in buying it. I want to make sure everything I purchase has been completely disinfected.

Best Items to Purchase

Clothing, Clothing Clothing. Sweaters out of season are a great deal, especially wool or even cashmere. You will pay a fraction of a retail price. Look for name brands and classic styles that will last. Any baby clothing is usually a great buy because babies outgrow clothes so fast. Save new purchases for special occasions and use the thrift store for everyday clothes.

Coffee mugs are inexpensive in secondhand shops and the low price gives you a chance to mix and match styles. You can sometimes also find great glasses and dishes, too.

A favorite item to buy at the thrift store is a book! From fiction, history, self-help or even specialty cookbooks, you can almost always find a great deal. Buying a book is a nice little treat for yourself. The only warning would be some children’s books that have pop out pieces or cheap bindings that could fall apart easily.

Some things not to buy are baking pans (if they have any rust on them stay away!). Don’t buy any waterproof or protective gear. Things like rain boots or coats will lose their protective ability over time so you really want to buy new in this category.

Buying toys can be hit or miss. Avoid battery-operated or noisy toys. Simple toys that are clean and in good condition are fine. Also make sure that toys are age-appropriate and not too old, for safety reasons.

Be aware of this information and enjoy your thrift store shopping excursions even more! Most importantly have fun shopping. You never know what cheap treasures you may find.

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