I discovered consignment and thrift shops in college when my husband and I were newlyweds. Now that we have two little boys, saving money has been equally as important as it was then. It took me a little while to get the most out of my shopping trips, but I finally have it down! Here are a few tips and tricks I follow as I shop:
Make a list. When trying to save money, there’s nothing worse than spending extra money on things you don’t need. Make a list of the items you are in need of and colors to keep an eye out for (especially for home decor). You will often find deals you have a hard time passing up, so remember your initial goal – to save money!
Visit often. The selection changes on a daily basis at most secondhand stores. And if you plan to go back for an item, don’t hold your breath because someone else may have picked it up already.
Keep an eye out for sales. Some of my local thrift stores have “color of the week” sales where the tags that match the color advertised are 50% off. Another has a $0.69 sale on Saturdays, along with other unadvertised sales. You can look up your stores’ phone numbers online or in a phone book and call ahead of time to find out what the sale is today. Many stores often have a Facebook page or other social media they post their deals to…and even some of their favorite new items!
Price check. I have occasionally found items priced at or higher than new retail price. If you have a smart phone, you can Google the item to determine whether that seems to be a reasonable price or not. Consignment stores also run higher prices than thrift stores so make sure you only pay the amount you are comfortable with.
Check the items! Always check for stains, holes, missing pieces or other damage. Sometimes employees miss something that could be detrimental to the product.
Stay open minded. If you can make simple changes to an item of clothing that doesn’t fit absolutely perfect, don’t toss it aside. There are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest for upcycling, mending, or modifying clothing, furniture, or other odds and ins. There are some amazing ideas out there!
Have patience! The selection depends on the donations or consignors. Maybe you didn’t find what you wanted today, but keep trying! The organization of many secondhand stores is also difficult to get used to as a new shopper, as each item is different and you will have to thumb through clothing and take some time to look through.
See more ideas on how to budget at Military Travel Mom. Thrifting is just the beginning!