Getting Thrifty with Shopping

Thrift Store Shopping Tips
Visit the thrift store for furniture…and clothes!

Thrift store shopping can be an adventure, a thrifty adventure of savings and endless sifting through the racks until you find that vintage gem.

It’s certainly an exciting way to shop for clothes that are new to you.

More people are turning to thrift stores as a regular place to shop for clothes.

Editor’s note: I know Mrs. PT just scored some nice Express jeans for just $15 at a thrift store. Another person’s trash are her everyday jeans. She’s not alone:

“Thrift stores now attract 22 percent of consumers, up from 14 percent before the stock-market crash in 2008, according to retail polling firm America’s Research Group.” – Orlando Sentinel

Below are some of the best tips to get you in the right mindset for your thrifty adventure.

Start with a Plan: Before you venture out on your trek for all things inexpensive and “new,” make sure you have your thrift store route plan of attack. The more stores you add to your to-do list, the more you will find.

Keep in mind that you may not always find the purchase of your dreams at each and every store. Look online to find stores close to you. I prefer to use Yelp as a source, as it includes information from other thrifty shoppers.

Cash Out: Most thrift stores do not accept credit cards. Make sure that your wallet has enough green for those “I can’t believe I just found this” purchases.

Holy Brands: Keep an eye out for any brand names on the rack. Brand names tend to be higher quality and you know they will last. I almost hit the ceiling when I found:

  • a Diane Von Furstenberg blouse for $3,
  • a North Face fleece for $5,
  • and a J. Crew button-up for $5.

Check It Out: Be realistic and know that thrift store items have typically been used before. Closely examine each garment or find for any stains, holes, missing buttons and any other problem areas.

Get Creative: Remember everything can look different outside the racks upon racks of used clothes and more. Picture your dream outfit outside the confines of the thrift store walls.

Think of what pieces you already have and how that piece will complement other items already in your closet. Everything can be changed, whether it’s layering or altering in some way.

Thrifty Go-Tos: You can never go wrong with accessories at a thrift store. You’ll find belts, scarves, purses, jewelry, and hats galore.

Thrifty No-Nos: Stay away from socks or underwear (that should be a given). Same usually goes for shoes and boots that have been worn.

Friendly Finds: Bring your favorite shopping friend along, this way you’ll get honest advice on that piece you think you must have.

Be on Thrift Time: Don’t expect to go in finding everything of your dreams. You must be willing to look through a lot of stuff and know that you will go through really bad stuff before you hit the good stuff.

If It Fits: Make sure to try on the items you find. Also, take note that some thrift stores do not have fitting rooms, so dress appropriately. For example, wear leggings that you can easily slide a skirt over to test size.

Make Sure You’ll Use It: Keep in mind that just because something is marked way down, it doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. If you buy it and it sits in the back of your closet, it’s a waste of money. It’s only a deal if you’re actually going to wear it.

Hunt away!

Editor’s Note: I couldn’t resist, I had to put the Thrift Shop video (clean version) here. Enjoy!

Have a thrift store shopping tip? Tell us in the comments below.

Samantha Bryant is a Denver public relations consultant and helps her husband with

Image by pixeljones

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  1. Where do you think I get all those fly sports coats and pearl snap shirts?!

  2. It’s a great place to go costume shopping too!

    1.  @Adaptu This is so true. I found a couple of great Hawaiian shirts that were perfect for my Magnum PI costume! 

    2. Avatar OneSmartDollar says:

       @Adaptu I agree.  You can really put together some great halloween costumes from cheap things you find.

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