Besides TJ Maxx and Marshall’s, I primarily shop at thrift and second-hand stores. There’s nothing like getting a designer or name brand item for $5 or less. However, not everyone is as savings savvy as I am. I’ve gone shopping with friends who have never been to a secondhand store and they’re totally overwhelmed and clueless. So for all you clueless shoppers out there, I’ve written about some of the do’s and don’ts of thrift shopping.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Thrift Shopping
DO: Check to see if there are any specials – Goodwill in Connecticut has a special where you get half off your item if it has a tag that is the color of the week. At the Goodwill I go to in Cape Cod, they only offer half off certain colored tags on select days of the week. Many places offer student discounts as well if you show an ID. Always ask about specials when you first walk in!
DON’T: Buy something just to sell it online – I’ve seen A LOT of blog posts about what to look for at a thrift shop and sell online. I think it’s important to realize that most thrift shops and second-hand stores are charitable organizations. If you shop at Goodwill, your money is “helping people reach their full potential through education, skills training and the power of work.” The Goodwill in my town noticed people were buying stuff and reselling it online, so they raised the prices. While I don’t really agree with them doing that (no way I’m buying a used J. Crew cotton t-shirt for $9.99), I think it’s disheartening that they had to resort to a price increase. When you shop at one of these stores, think of the great deal you’re getting and the cause you’re supporting, not “how much can I get for this on eBay?”
DO: Check for stains – There have been quite a few times where I’ve bought something and then later noticed it was stained (foundation around the collar is a big one) or there’s some other sort of flaw. You (usually) can’t return things to second-hand stores, so make sure you double check your purchase.
DON’T: Try to haggle – Just pay the already low price for the item you want, don’t try to get it down even more. Once again, remember that you’re supporting a good cause.
DO: Try things on – I hate dressing rooms with a fiery passion. The terrible lighting and all the mirrors are never flattering – I never leave a dressing room feeling like “Damn, I look good” it’s more like “Dear God, Is that what I look like from behind?” That being said, I’ve grabbed things that I thought would fit really well and bought them without trying them on. As soon I get home and try it on (in the comfort of my bedroom, with one mirror and flattering lighting) it’s too small/short/tight/long etc. Don’t waste your money buying something that doesn’t fit, try it on.
What do you do when you go thrift shopping? Do you have any other tips to add? Let me know in the comments!