Monday, April 16, 2012

How To Find Good Stuff At Thrift Stores

I've come to terms with the fact that I'm addicted to thrifting. I figure it's cheap, it's not unhealthy, and it's one hell of a high, what more could I ask for? Plus saving $1500 dollars in February is pretty good perk too.

So I decided to take this addiction of mine, pretend it's a virtue, and share some tips with all of you. Here goes:

1. Go to stores you like. Shopping's only fun if you're at a store you like regardless if it's a thrift store or not.  I prefer to go to stores that are well organized and have sales every week (explained below.) Yeah, it's going to take a while to figure out which stores are the good ones but I wouldn't rule a store out without checking it out 3 times. If you haven't found a single thing after 3 trips, quit going. It's not worth your time. But if every time you hit it up you find something (even if it's one measly little thing) keep going. Which brings me to my next tip.

My favorite H&M dress from Savers, $4.

2. Go often. My favorite store is just down the road from my house so I stop at it often, at least twice a week. My other favorites are about 25 minutes away so I don't make it there as often, maybe twice a month. The point is to be able to see a vast majority of their stuff. The more of it you see the more likely you'll be able to find something splendid. Thrift stores have way faster influx of stuff than normal stores so it's beneficial to go frequently. In fact (promise not to judge me too much) when I drive to the ones 25 minutes away I go to one of them twice. I hit it up on the way there and then on the way home. 9/10 I find something on the second trip too.

My favorite Cardigan was a 75% off find at $2.

3. Know their sales. I used to think that thrift stores wouldn't have sales because, ya know they're thrift stores. Well they do. The one near my house has sales every week. (They mark certain colors 50% and others 75% off. Plus every Sunday everything is 20% off.)  Don't be above only buying stuff on Sundays or only the color that's on sale. I held off on buying my Coach purse for weeks until it was 50% off on President's Day. Most stores offer similar discounts, Senior Days, Quarter Sales, Student Discounts. Don't be afraid to ask about it (and if you are check to see if they have a website that includes that information.)

4. Look through everything. This doesn't mean find scuddy places that require you to dig through an unorganized mess. This does mean to take a lap through each aisle. If you have the time, literally move every hanger, if you don't or you're only looking for, let's say, jeans then move every hanger on the jeans aisle. That may sound like it would take forever but it really doesn't if you only look in your size and you just skim it.

My Thrifty Easter Dress, cost $2.50.
5. Know good brands. And also the not so good brands too. This will make the skimming easier. If you know good brands you can basically just skim tags and when you find a good tag then look at the article of clothing. Here's the caveat: just because it's a good brand does not mean it's a good buy. Don't buy it if you don't like it or wouldn't wear it. Also if it looks worn or out of date, who cares if it's an Oscar De La Renta dress. Same goes for fit. If you have a smart phone, checking the brands you don't know will help tremendously. Another tidbit, just because it's a Wal-Mart brand doesn't make it a bad buy either. My Easter dress I found at a Thrift Store was a Wal-Mart brand but it was super cheap and I loved it.

Well there you have it, my top five tips for thrifting and what helped me save over $1500 on thrifty stuff last month. Also if you're ever in my stomping ground let me know and I'll gladly take you with me. Let me know if you have any questions or need me to clarify anything.

Next in the series will be: What to look for in a thrift store!


  1. Oh my gosh Katie, I just looked at your link to all the stuff you bought. That is seriously some impressive shopping. You have inspired me to check out some thrift stores!

  2. Are there certain chain thrift stores you like? I need to see if we have Savers around here. We had them in Colorado and I used to go with my mom a lot in my early teens. The Goodwills around here don't sort very well - no they don't even have a maternity section! They were so much nicer back in IN!

  3. I'm telling you: I should send you like $50 via Paypal and have you buy me anything you find that is Ann Taylor or LOFT 00P and have you ship it to me! I really should check out the thrift stores around here again. Our Savers closed (Mandi, it's gone, Hobby Lobby expanded into its space) and we only have an ARC and a Goodwill.
    I also learned that our Goodwills here get the shoes from Target that go out of season and don't sell. New! Target shoes!

  4. Ahhhhh thrifting!!!! Love it!!! I'm going Friday - it's an early day off work for me :)

  5. P.S. Your cardigan is super cute! :) I love cute cardigans. It's a work staple!


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