Thrift stores can be a frugalite’s greatest source for upgrading wardrobes, finding that perfect fit coffee table, or picking up a great read. Not only can inexpensive, top quality items be found gracing their isles, but it’s quite fun shopping around not knowing what might be found — a feeling some describe as being similar to discovering gold. Below are some tips that will assist in getting the most out of a thrift store visit.
Perhaps the most useful tactic in maximizing a visit to the thrift store find is timing. Thrift stores usually have specific times of the day and week when they will put their new items on display. Ask an employee when these times are and make sure to visit soon after to find the newest items before they have time to attract attention from others. Some have said that it’s best to visit Goodwill on Sunday morning. Generally, the earlier the visit, the better quality items likely to be found.
Carry a smart phone and, assuming you have internet access, research items to see if they are worth the price. Doing a quick eBay search for completed auctions usually yields the best results. If nothing turns up on eBay, try a simple Google search for the item in question.
A nifty method for bringing in some extra money on the side is to go thrift store shopping with the intent of stocking a personal eBay store or for reselling on Craigslist. With a smart phone in hand, it’s quite easy to identify which items can be resold with a decent profit. One can often find high quality silverware, glassware and china at a huge discount. These items are usually in high demand and it shouldn’t be hard to resell them online.
If the perfect item is discovered but is found to be defective in some way — a small hole, stain or rip for example — don’t hesitate to ask for a discount. There have been many times where a small but largely unnoticeable hole or stain was found in a piece of clothing and a discount was issued by simply asking an employee. If one never asks, the answer will always be no.
Most know which part of town is considered to be the “rich side.” Visiting thrift stores in the nicest parts of town usually increases the chance of finding designer items, furniture made of real wood, and quality electronics. A comprehensive list of thrift stores in the Raleigh area can be found here.
And finally, if at all possible, test out any electronics at the store before buying. Most thrift stores have a strict no return policy. Find an outlet nearby and give the stereo a quick test run.