Thrift store shopping is one of the great ways to decrease your spending and even save some money that can go towards your financial independence plan.
Apart from the benefits to your wallet, thrift shopping also reduces waste and is good for the planet.
Though thrifting is awesome, it is possible to end up spending more money than planned or becoming addicted to it.
With the tips shared in this post, a dedicated thrift shopper can maximize spending and save more.
By the way, thrift shopping is nothing to be ashamed of. You can find some unexpected and vintage items in a thrift store.
These days, the average shopper looking to save money and the hipster looking for special clothing and retro items now frequent the local Goodwill.
How to Save More Money When Thrift Store Shopping
6. Donate and Get a Coupon
This might seem counterproductive but if you have a bunch of items at home you no longer use or need, you might as well donate them.
All the items are doing is gathering dust and taking up valuable space in your home.
A lot of thrift stores offer you a discount coupon when you donate.
5. Keep Track of Discount Days and Regular Sales
This is a tip best utilized by the regular thrift store shopper.
Many thrift stores, including the popular national chain Goodwill, have a colored tag system on their items, or at least on the clothing.
These stores often utilize these colored tags for weekly or bi-weekly sales.
Goodwill has one color every week, which is 50% off. This changes every week, and smart shoppers can track the color rotation.
To best utilize these discounts, which may run from 10% to 50% depending on the store, shop the first day after the color has changed.
By the end of the week, all the good green or blue tagged items are likely to be gone.
Many thrift stores also offer a 25% or 50% sale one day a week or once a month.
Employees of the store should be able to keep thrift shoppers informed of these sales, whether regular or special, as long as they ask politely.
4. Buy Out of Season Items for the Best Savings
This is a concept that holds fast at all retail stores.
Holiday or seasonal items are going to be more expensive during the appropriate times and cheaper out of season.
To get the best deals on holiday decorations, sweaters, and jackets, or Halloween costumes, shop the thrift stores right after the appropriate holiday.
For cold-weather clothing, the biggest discounts are given in summer, when no one is buying the clothing.
You will also get some great selections right before it gets cold.
It’s easy to find a wider selection of holiday decorations right after a holiday.
Many people drop off the old decorations that they’ve replaced to save themselves from having to pack it all away.
Unwanted gifts, or what’s been replaced by a gift, often end up at a thrift store within days of the holiday as well.
Furniture, clothing, and small gift items are all easy to find a few days after Christmas, and well into the new year.
3. Buy Only What You Need and Will Use
The easiest to implement, this tip is a lesson many thrift store shoppers learn after too many bags of ugly sweaters or useless knick-knacks.
Although many thrift stores offer dirt low prices, $3 spent on useless items is still $3 better used for other things.
Many shoppers are tempted by clothing or other items that are strange or kitschy. These will only clutter up your house.
Make sure the item is useful and already has a specific place and purpose before bringing it home.
A low price is a bad excuse for getting an Elvis ashtray if the buyer is a non-smoker.
Some interesting clothing can be found in the thrift store racks as well. Make sure it fits and isn’t too weird to wear out in public before purchasing it.
When you buy clothing you don’t need, it just languishes in your closet for a year or two before returning to another thrift store.
Before you buy anything, think about if you already have something similar at home.
2. Making Money with Thrift Store Items
The idea of hidden treasures and priceless relics in a local thrift store is what draws many people to thrift shopping.
Sometimes, you can buy rare gems in thrift stores to resell at places like eBay. However, not everything at a thrift store is worth money.
Many first time shoppers fill up a cart with interesting and rare looking items, only to get home and realize none of them were worth more than $1.00.
The key to finding valuable items in a thrift store is to pick a few items you’re knowledgeable about and stick to those items.
If the nearest thrift store always has lots of mason jars, learn to recognize the rare and expensive ones.
Memorize a few china patterns and check the dishes for those easily recognized.
Just because you’re in a thrift store doesn’t mean everything on display is valuable and rare. Be prepared to let go of items that aren’t easily appraised.
Shoppers set on getting every valuable item in the store need to set a monetary limit for each trip.
Don’t spend more than $5 – $10 a week, and make sure the items are moving out of your home, whether they’re sold on eBay or donated back to another thrift store.
Don’t use the treasure hunt as an excuse to become a packrat.
1. Head to Thrift Store Outlets
Some thrift stores like Goodwill also have outlet stores where they maintain excess merchandise from their regular stores.
Check out one or more of these locations for incredible deals, which might be even bigger than the regular stores.
Related Content: 9 Efficient Ways to Save on Groceries Without Using Coupons
Thrift Stores Offer Bargains, But More Money Can be Saved
The thriftiest of shoppers can use the techniques in this article to maximize savings at any thrift store.
Use a spreadsheet to keep track of the weekly discounts, and ask the employees about upcoming special sales.
Shop out of season. Even though it can feel strange to pick out sweaters and jackets in the heat of summer, it saves even more money on top of the deep discount of thrift shopping.
The best technique of all is to simply not buy useless items, no matter how strange or rare they might look.
Best Thrift Store Outlets
Thinking of where to find the best thrift store outlets? There are hundreds of thrift store outlets in most cities.
Some are small and independently owned while others are part of a more popular franchise. Thrift stores could also be charitable institutions.
You can carry out thrift shopping online if you prefer and go in to just pick it up. Some of them also ship to you.
- Schoola (currently on hold due to COVID19)
- Value Village
- Salvation Army
- Patagonia Worn Wear
- Shopbop Vintage
- Asos Market Place
You can also search on Google or Yelp to find independent thrift stores local to your area.
PS. A lot of stores now have safety guidelines for shopping during the pandemic.
Follow me on Pinterest for more inspirational quotes and self-empowerment information on the road to financial independence.
This post contains affiliate links which means I will make a small commission if you purchase through those links. Your purchases help me keep Path to Financial Freedom online. Read full disclosure HERE.