So as you well know, as a frugal person, I absolutely adore thrifting! A-DORE IT! It saves you money and plus you can find treasures for pretty sweet prices!
However, I do have a method to my madness. 🙂 And I will be sharing with you, my readers, that! Well actually, they are a series of rules I stand by when thrifting and I hope that if you follow these rules, they will help you out scoring great dealsat your local Goodwill, or thrift store also! I usually shop Goodwill, but these rules can apply to any thrift store.
Rule #1: Always come into a thrift store with an item in mind or with an open mind!
I always frequent my local Goodwill with an item in mind at first because if you don’t, thrifting can get spendy if you let it. I always like to go to thrift stores to find items that you need for a lot less than retail. For example, I needed a stapler and at Goodwill, I found a Made in USA stapler that worked beautifully when I loaded it up with staples at home! Or I found some paper trays I needed for holding some of my paper stuff for under two bucks and they were just as adequate as new ones, though a little banged up. But the point is they don’t have to be perfect if they work for me in the long run! If you don’t mind gently used items to make your home more homey, or if you get lucky, gently used items that are still in their package and got tags on them, thrift store items are for you!
Or you can always come into a thrift store with an open mind! We thrifters call this “hunting for treasure”. 😉 We like to call our hauls, or items, we find at the thrift store “treasure”. Because it basically is! We hunt for things that we might love in a thrift store and when we find it, we have OFFICIALLY found treasure! Fun times all around!
Rule #2: Go on your smartphone and check the internet to see if you are getting a good deal on an item
Now, this is the reason why thrift stores like Goodwill mark stuff up. It’s because of those resellers/pickers that put their cheap finds on the internet for a decent used price to profit off of it. Now, I do not mind people doing this depending on where you got your item from a specific thrift store. Like, for example, if I listed an item I purchased for almost nothing from a local animal charity on the internet for more than what they were asking for, I would feel a little guilty about that. It just depends on the thrift store you purchase your item from. But if you got the item from some corporate thrift store like Goodwill and re-listed it for higher online, then go for it! No guilt there because they make a bunch of money anyway. 😉 However, I do not resell items I find at thrift stores for cheap because I leave that to the actual resellers/pickers. They can have all the fun, haha. 😉
But another reason as to why you check for prices on your smart phone at the thrift store is that the thrift store might be charging for it too much or charging the item for a retail price. This is what we treasure hunters want to avoid when shopping at our local thrift stores: retail priced items. It’s no fun shopping for items that are already marked up as “regular price” because it takes the fun out of our treasure hunting. And who wants that? That’s why if you are not sure about an item that’s marked kind of high, go on Amazon or Ebay on your smartphone and price check that item! Thrift stores hate it, but you gotta’ know if something is a good deal when you may happen to see it!
And for the extra feeling of feeling as high as a kite after thrift store shopping, after bringing your treasure into your home, look up your treasure online to see how much everything is new. I guarantee you’ll feel REALLY good after you find out all of the good deals you’ve gotten at the thrift store then! 🙂
Rule #3: When buying clothes, always inspect them for rips and stains! And wash them as soon as you get home!
Thrift stores offer cheap bargains, but they also have these cheap bargains in clothing as well! Why pay retail when you may find a t-shirt at a thrift store for cheap with maybe with the tag still on it? 😉 Oh man, is the tag-still-on-it feeling the best feeling ever! The smaller thrift stores may not have a lot to offer clothing size wise, but popular thrift stores like Goodwill will have a lot of clothing to choose from! At my local Goodwill, clothing is sorted by size and by color. It makes for easy shopping and finding your correct size of clothing.
Regarding Goodwill, before the clothes make it to the floor, they are inspected for rips and stains. Goodwill is very good about this and makes sure most of the stuff that is put out to sell is nice looking and not dowdy. Well, there are some ugly clothes in there, but it will usually look impeccable, haha. 😉 But sometimes some clothes with stains or rips slip through the cracks, so that is why you have to be extra careful when buying clothes at thrift stores like Goodwill. ALWAYS inspect the clothes for stains or rips before purchasing because once these clothes are purchased, there are usually no refunds on them like regular department stores. All you can do is donate them back if you do not like them, so be sure the clothing is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT fit wise or stain/rip free wise before buying it. I know the clothing is cheap, but also don’t go buying a shirt that is too small just because you think it’s cute because then you wouldn’t be being frugal then. 😉 No one wants to be a spendypants! 😛
And after you get home with your new clothes, WASH THEM! You never know where these clothes have been or who wore them last, so be sure to clean them thoroughly. Follow the washing instructions on the clothes always if you want your newish clothing to last forever and you should be good to go!
Rule #4: Speaking of inspecting stuff, inspect physical items for damage as well
And let’s not forget about inspecting physical items before buying them. ALWAYS inspect physical items to see if they are broken! Goodwill is famous for having broken items on their store shelves because so many people handle them when they are out on the sales floor. I will use Otter Box cases as an example. I usually run into used Otter Box cases at Goodwill and they are always broken. I mean, the case is intact, but do you know what is always missing or broken on them? The plastic screen! All new Otter Box cases come with a plastic screen attached to the screen part of the case and if it is ever broken off or damaged, that is when you know not to buy it. So it always helps as well to know what an item looks like new before purchasing something at a thrift store.
Also, if you plan on purchasing an electronic device, ask one of the thrift store’s employees if you can test it out first before purchasing it. You don’t want to shell out 20 bucks for an item that is broken as soon as you try it out at home, so never be afraid to ask about these kinds of items! 🙂
And as for hats, bed sheets, and blankets go, I have read in the past that some people acquire bed bugs or lice from them! :C However it is rare, but it happens to some people and that rare occurence could happen to you if you are not careful. : ( So if you are interested in buying one of these items or two, REALLY inspect them for that kind of stuff. Even ask the store about their policy and rules about these things to see if they truly inspect these items well or not before hitting the sales floor. Nobody wants a lice or bed bug infestation in their house or in their hair! : (
Rule #5: Don’t buy that expensive bag in the case. It could be a fake!
Now, I know us ladies love having expensive hand bags. Well, at least, I like the ones under 100 bucks, haha. 😉 But instead of buying new, a great way to get a wonderful designer bag is through a thrift store! But BUYER BEWARE. Some of those pricier bags behind the counters of thrift stores and Goodwills could be masking as clever fakes the staff at thrift stores can’t seem to pick out from the real designer bags. Unknowingly because of this, they will mark up the fakes anyway to a re-sellable used price (Ebay style pricing, ahhhh! O _O;;; ) and sell them to the unknowing public.
So when eying a spendypants bag behind a counter of a thrift store, go to your smartphone and look up in a search engine to see if the brand of bag that you are wanting has many fakes in circulation. I think fake bags are always tacky to wear, but if you do not mind the bag possibly being a fake, then go for it. But I always prefer spending money on a REAL used handbag instead of a fake because I find it just makes one feel better about the purchase. But since the bag is at a thrift store anyway, it wouldn’t matter in the long run if it was real or fake because the profit from it would benefit the thrift store. But if you don’t like bags falling apart on you, buy the real deal! Real bags tend to be built to last than their fake counterparts. Plus you can say you own a real ‘X bag’ here and make all of your friends jealous because of the great deal you got on it at the thrift store! 😉
This rule also includes other designer items as well like sunglasses, wallets, shoes, and whatever other designer things famous designer brands design. Better safe than sorry! 🙂
Rule #6: Don’t buy board games for retail price! Go to the thrift store for them instead!
At my local Goodwill, they have mainstream board games coming out the nose! Why pay retail for these games (up to like, 10-20 bucks a pop retail price), when you can get them from a thrift store for under 5 bucks? Or at least, that is what I find they are charging for these board games at my local Goodwill. 🙂 People are always getting rid of board games, so it’s never a bad deal to find them used at thrift store for next to nothing!
But before buying used board games, ALWAYS inspect them to see if all of the pieces are there! Consult the internet for how many items or pieces are needed to play a particular board game so you will know what to look for in the game box before buying it. You will thank yourself later!
And when you get home, you will be as high as a kite when you realized you got a newish board game for next to nothing and it is STILL just as fun to play used as it is brand new! Money saved! 🙂
Rule #7: The addiction is real!
And once you get hooked on thrift stores, or a thrift store you really like, you tend to get addicted to it! Thrifting can be a great way to save money on gently used stuff and it also can be a curse on your wallet! If you go too many times a month because you are bored or just want something to do without having a specific item to buy in mind, you may have the chance to overspend in a thrift store… O _O Trust me, it has happened to me plenty of times. Still happens, haha. I can be such a spendypants at thrift stores particularly at my local Goodwill.
So whenever this happens, be mindful about what you buy. Only buy an item if you are going to use it! Or in a minimalist fashion, when you buy a new item, follow the “one in, one out” rule. For example, today I went to Goodwill and bought some pretty blue glass cups. I plan on using these cups to replace my other thrifted cups that have slight damage to them on some of the glasses. That is an example of the “one in, one out” rule. 🙂 Works every time! 🙂
So all in all, be mindful! Always use what you buy and never hoard anything just because it is “pretty” or “cool looking”. Treasure that you find at thrift stores should always be considered treasure and lovingly used in the long run. It should never be hoarded away in a box in your home somewhere never seeing the light of day, in my personal opinion. Unless you happen to pack it away in storage for a holiday or special occasion and it is lovingly used each year, then in this instance, this does not count. 😉
And… I do believe that is all I can think of for the rules I go by when thrifting!
Abide by these rules and you too shall reap the benefits of buying gently used things for almost nothing and always loving what you buy at thrift stores because it is all treasure after all! It is also a great way to save money and never have to pay full price for ANYTHING! That’s right, ANYTHING! Well, maybe not anything, but you get what I mean. 🙂
What are the rules you shop by when thrifting?