The Thrifters Guide to Finding Great Deals

So, you want to hit the second-hand stores for designer duds and other cool finds that are more than worth your pennies? Well, we have you covered with a mix of tips, tricks, and hacks.

If you’re serious about your frugality and cutting down on expenses, you may want to be let in on some secrets that you probably weren’t privy to before when it comes to thrift shopping. instead of department store shopping for the brands you love, start scouring the thrifty set-ups that we love. We’re talking Goodwill and other local spots that keep stock in everything your neighbor decided to be rid of.

Why Thrift?

Before we dive into the secrets to thrifting successfully, let’s run through why we even thrift in the first place! Besides being a fun experience for you and friends alike, there are some important reasons that should be mentioned.

It’s Budget-Friendly

The most obvious reason is up first. Thrifting is a budget-friendly way to find the styles you want to fill in your wardrobe with and find items for a fraction of the cost. It stretches your dollar in ways that regular stores can’t and won’t do. With the right eye, you can find something brand new or nearly-new items for as low as 99 cents and save hundreds in the process.

It’s Charitable

A lot of thrift or second-hand stores support causes close to our hearts. Donations help others or give those with disabilities opportunities for chances to work or train for jobs, earn money, and find a place of belonging. Furthermore, it’s eco-friendly! The more you thrift, the less is thrown away into landfills.

Earn Cash Back

Not only can you shop for your wants on a dime, but you can invest mere dollars in items other people might want and earn the money back. Let’s say you find a designer piece in the store but unfortunately, it will in no way ever fit you the way it needs to. Well, buy it anyway! Turn around and sell it online for double the price (or more).

Stretch Your Creativity

What’s one of the most fun elements of thrifting is the ways in which your imagination gets used. Some of your finds will need a little tuck or twist to make them usable. Or, maybe you’re able to completely stretch your creativity to make something brand new out of something that’s already been gently used.

There’s really a beauty in the innovation that thrifting can spark and it can open your eyes to unique products you never would have thought to consider before.

The Secrets To Good Finds

The Secrets To Good Finds When Thrift Shopping

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Well-Established Stores

We’re all about some Mom and Pop shopping, but when it comes to thrifting, the bigger the store – the better. Places like Goodwill and the Salvation Army are already really well-established, their messages are clear and they’re trusted. What does this mean? 

Well, this means that more people will be donating to the cause. And with more donations, comes more opportunities to find brand name clothing and accessories, as well as other pieces of treasure such as furniture and electronics.

Be in the Know: Apps, Newsletters, Reward Programs

Don’t be shy about asking what kinds of discounts the thrift stores you frequent offer up – if any. You’d be surprised at what you could be missing out on. It could be a downloadable app, a newsletter sent directly to your e-mail that features coupons every once in a while, or even a rewards program if you sign up.

Even Goodwill has a rewards program for frequent shoppers. For example, you earn 1 point for almost every $1 purchased and when you accumulate 100 points you’ll receive $5 off your next purchase.

It’s All in the Location

This may seem obvious, but larger cities are going to have better inventory. Your local Goodwill may have a few items that catch your fancy from time to time, but that spot won’t have as many donations as the metropolis areas will be getting – on a daily basis no less!

Travel a bit further to find a bigger variety of treasures to sift through. But be aware, the wealthier the neighborhood you’re in – the higher the prices for those hand-me-down items will be. So, although you may find more designer labels, you may not be getting the very best deal for that particular article.

Instead, venture out into some of the more urban areas and begin the hunt – you never know what you’ll find and for less than a fraction of the original cost!

Stop By in the Spring

We all know when the major sales come rolling in at our favorite stores. There’s back-to-school shopping, there’s tax-free weekends, there’s Christmas clearance, and there’s even end-of-season coupons that we all like to dig into. But, what about thrift shops? 

Ask yourself, when do you clean out your closet? If you’re one of the few who does this every 3-6 months, we’re not talking to you. You’re on your A-game and although that’s what we should all be doing, the vast majority of us do this once and that’s in the spring.

All of that “spring cleaning” ends up in a lot of donations to the local thrift shops making thrifting even more fun, exhilarating, and fruitful during the March through August months.

Antique Stores Work Too

Don’t look over the antique stores in your area. These places don’t only house older knick-knacks of a time gone by or pieces that have gone entirely out of style and/or don’t work anymore. In fact, some antique stores will have you adventuring through mounds of fantastic, vintage gear.

Winter coats, suits, evening gowns, gloves, and more. You may even be lucky enough to not only find trendy, vintage clothing but designer labels from decades ago as well. Think Chanel and Dior.

Look in All The Nooks

What we mean by “all the nooks” is to venture out into different areas of the store to uncover the “crannies”. Don’t be afraid to shop in the men’s section or even the tween area. You’d be surprised what kind of golden items you could find. Know you’re fit and know the trends, and don’t be scared to see what could be lying on the racks waiting for you with an incredible price tag.

And even if it’s not for you – you could always find something that is worth the purchase and resell online. So many people are looking for find great condition, true vintage pieces right now so take advantage of your thrifting skills! If it doesn’t necessarily work for you – it could work for someone else!

College Gear

Speaking of looking in all the nooks, this is a great way to stock up on your favorite college or pro-team gear. From oversized hoodies to workout tees, shop along the lines and find some of the best athletic items or fan apparel without shelling out enough to buy season tickets.

Also, if you look at thrift shops near campuses, you may even find household items that have been barely used because students didn’t find it important enough to lug back on the journey home once the school year ended.