Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Thrift Store Shopping Tips

Ready for 5 more tips, fellow thrift store shoppers? OK--here they are!

1. Take a set amount of cash with you to spend. Practically speaking, some stores just don't take credit or debit cards. But the most important reason for taking cash is that you are not tempted to overspend! You will be amazed how quickly items begin to stack up in your cart, especially if you don't have a predetermined limit for spending in mind.

2.  Wear clothes that are conducive to trying on other clothes. In the summertime, I wear a slim-fitting t-shirt or tank top, and in the winter I wear a tank top with a cardigan over it. Sometimes the dressing rooms (if you are at a store that even has them) are crowded, and sometimes you just feel freaked out by the flimsy curtain "protecting" you while creepy people with wandering eyes pass by right outside. It's often easier to find a mirror in the furniture area and try on over your existing outfit. Also, wearing flip flops or ballet flats makes it easier to try on shoes.

3. If you are bringing your kids, give them a task. I love going to the thrift store when my husband is home to watch the kids, but if you remember reading my previous list of tips, the best day to go is on Thursday. And my husband is not around on random Thursday mornings or afternoons to watch the kids, so I often have them in tow. To occupy them, I give them specific tasks-- they are assigned with duties like looking through the tags in whatever section we are in to find the sale color. I also tell them what I am looking for so they can help me find it. And we ALWAYS save the toy and book aisles for last so that I can bribe good behavior out of them. :)

4. Ask for additional discounts on damaged items. Sometimes I see an amazing piece of clothing that is missing a button or has a little tear. Or I see a kid's clothing item with a smudge on it. Not that hard to fix those things, but I'm often able to get an extra dollar or two off if I nicely point out the defect at the register. One time I didn't notice a defect and the cashier did, and she offered up the discount without my asking!

5. Check out the sections that are off-season. When it is 30 degrees and threatening to snow outside, always visit the tank tops/shorts/swimsuit sections. When it's a sweltering 90 degrees outside, venture to the sweater and coat department. It never fails-- you will always find the best selection in the section of clothing that is out-of-season.

Hope these are helpful! Get ready for some specifics... I'm planning a series where I highlight a different section of the thrift store in each post. But first, I think a little in-person research is in order, don't you? After all, tomorrow IS Thursday-- the prime thrift store shopping day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Thrifting--A few basic tips

My shopping preferences have gotten to the point where I despise the mall and most retail stores. I don't even buy much-- as far as clothing goes-- at discount stores, because I know that I can pay the same price for a designer item in great condition at the thrift store. People ask me all the time for tips-- I have quite a few, so I decided to do a few blog posts on this topic. Here is part one!

1. Visit the thrift store on Thursdays. Most stores put out new merchandise mid-week, so if you go on a Thursday, the good stuff hasn't been picked over time and time again. Also, you avoid the horrible weekend crowds, but you get great deals--most stores begin their sales on Thursday and run them through the weekend.

2. Scout out sale items upon arrival. Most sales are obvious--for example, my favorite store posts signs stating which color tag is half-price that day. But what many people don't know is that stores frequently run "manager's specials" for frequent shoppers. Some stores also have a frequent shopper card that you can sign up for online, and then you will be notified via email about upcoming sales.

3. Research before you go. Take a peek at online websites that sell designer clothes. You will get a feel for which brands are popular and what price they currently sell for. Why would you want to pay $5 for pair of generic-brand jeans when you could pay $5 for a pair of jeans that retails for $200.00? Also, you can discover new and upcoming brands of clothing that some spoiled rich kid got from mommy and donated later the same day.

4. Don't be afraid to whip out your smart phone in the middle of the aisle. If I see a pair of shoes that look especially well-made, or see a dress with a label that looks expensive, I look them up on my phone if I don't recognize the brand. I once found a pair of shoes for $4.99 that I instantly discovered were up to $102.00 on ebay.

5. Don't pass up great items just because they aren't your style. The majority of my thrifting provides clothes for myself and my family, but every once in a while, I will find a great deal on an item that isn't my style. That item will promptly be purchased by me and put up for auction on e-bay or posted on Craig's List, and my shopping trip will be paid for by the profit I made on that one item.

Hopefully these tips will get you started on your thrift store adventures... I'll be back soon to share more!

The Thrill of Thrifting

Ah, the thrill of thrifting....

Walking into a store full of undiscovered treasures, shoppers focused on their treasure hunt.

Planning the attack of the day-- what department to pounce upon first? What bins to dive into, what racks to flip through, what furniture to peruse?

Loading up my cart with my finds, knowing that they will be snatched up by another shopper if I don't claim them-- I can always find a corner somewhere to sort and discard after the search is through...

Can you tell I'm a bit obsessed with thrift store shopping? It has taken on a life of it's own, which is why I've decided to designate a blog to the art of thrifting. I can't wait to share tips, my treasures, my stories-- and I can't wait to hear of my fellow thrifters' adventures as well. Join me on the journey!