How to Shop at Thrift Stores

You can save a lot of money by shopping at thrift stores, or you can waste a lot of money needlessly.  Here are some tips to help you optimize your thrift store experience.

Buy Only What You Need

Saving 80% on something you don’t need is still spending 20% that you don’t need to spend.  Thrift stores are a great place to buy clothes, because you often need clothes.  On the other hand, do you really need a velvet Jesus, a weight set that you aren’t likely to ever use, or a collection of Star Wars memorabilia. When possible, prepare a list of items you would like to purchase. Though it can be tough to stick to a list when thrift shopping, at least you will have a basic guideline of what to shop for.

Bring a PDA Phone

Bringing a PDA phone will let you check the prices and specifications on anything you are considering buying.  Even better, you can check the prices on eBay and possibly buy items that you can resell quickly on eBay for a good profit.

Test Everything Possible

Examine and test everything you are considering for purchase: open boxes, unfold and set up equipment, examine seams, pull levers, push buttons, turn knobs, everything that can be done to spot potential issues.

If you are buying anything that uses electricity, turn it on and let it warm up — then try to use as many functions of the device as possible. Bring some batteries to power-on portable devices.

Learn the Store’s Schedule

The turnover of merchandise in thrift stores can be quite rapid. Find out when the store receives new merchandise.  Shop just after the new merchandise arrives to find the best deals before anyone else. This way you will get first crack at the newest items to arrive in the store.

Ask Employees For Help

Let the employees know what you are interested in.  Give them your telephone number and ask them to call you if items like that come into the inventory.  A smile and a kind word can go a long way to helping you save money. Establishing a relationship with store employees and owners, they might be willing to hold items for you or notify you when items arrive from sellers. Employees and owners are willing to work with you if they know you are a reliable buyer and that you will be loyal to their shop.

Have Fun Thrift Shopping!

Though you might feel as if you are on a mission when thrift shopping, it is important to enjoy the experience. Spending time at thrift stores is a great way to make exciting discoveries and learn about the lives of others. The experience should be fun.