7 Ways to Save at Thrift Stores

by Kathryn Jones

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It used to be that you wouldn't be caught dead inside a thrift store without an invisibility cloak. Today, there is no shielding of the eyes or ducking of the head. Teenagers grace the halls in punk hairdos and heavy chains. Mothers cart young children on hips and stroll them around racks of clothing to choose someone else's cast-offs.

The other day my husband and I entered a local thrift store. He was looking for white shirts, a tie or two, and a sports jacket for his new sales job. The problem? Even shopping thrift, we had limited money, a mere $35.

Unfortunately, two years had passed without having a decent paying job in the Jones' household, and money was tight. Fortunately, we knew how to shop thrift. It was with this fortunate attitude that we began.

We didn't find everything at the first store of course. Shopping thrift rarely affords the shopper the satisfaction of going home with everything on the list in one trip. But it does satisfy your desire to save big time.

At the second store, we found two white shirts. They were nice and practically new. We even wondered if the previous store had donated them. The shirts were purchased for an amazing $6 each. We also looked over the ties. Most of them were terrible, hardly worth the trouble and embarrassment of wearing, but there were two ties that caught my eye. I showed them to my husband. We purchased these as well. One was $1; the other was a dollar more than the first.

At the third store, we found the sports jacket. The whopping price? An amazing $15.99. The jacket fit my husband perfectly. The sleeves were long enough, and the jacket fit nicely on his shoulders and around his middle. There were no tears in the lining, and nothing was stained or worn. We left our shopping trip with money to spare.

Seven Thrifty Tips for Your Next Trip:

  1. Plan on half a day or more if you are looking to buy specific items for your wardrobe.
  2. Stick to a budget. Before you travel, decide on an amount you can afford to spend.
  3. Look for new items. Often these new items will still have the original store tag on them.
  4. Never buy anything you would only wear on Halloween. It will simply hang in your closet. Even a good price doesn't necessitate buying something you don't love.
  5. Make sure the item is in good shape with no stains, tears or wearing. You want to look like a million even though you have only spent a buck.
  6. The item needs to fit. Try it on if you aren't sure it will. I always try on everything I'm thinking of buying.
  7. Have fun, and don't get discouraged if you don't find what you are looking for. I am still shopping for the perfect men's Navy jacket with the gold stripes on the sleeves and all. (Yes, the jacket's for me.) Perhaps, this week?

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