After reading several other blogs, I decided to write several tips I didn’t really see out there and review a few of my favorite tips.
1) Coupons – In my area, The Salvation Army publishes coupons in various places; back of receipts at the local supermarket, weekly junk mail circular, pennysaver. I use these in conjunction with their “family day” half-off day.
My last shopping trip, I spend $22, but I saved $35. All the items were half off plus additional amount off for the coupon. Sometimes I break up my transaction to use multiple coupons, but be courteous of everyone else in line (I’ll talk more about this in bit).
The Rescue Mission in my area honors the Salvation Army coupons. The Goodwill in my area does not. So check with your local thrift shop and see if they honor their competitors coupons.
2) Scour the racks – Maybe this come from “crate digging” ( looking for vinyl records) for so many years and seeking out that hidden gem. Go through every piece on the rack. Leave no hanger unturned. Stores are constantly adding pieces and customers are constantly moving items around. This holds true for most thrift stores in urban areas, due to the large amount of foot traffic.
People hide items all of the time at thrift stores. Sometimes they don’t have the money but more likely, they are waiting for the item to go on sale. They hide items and come back when they are.
The employees at bigger chain thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation Army, Rescue Mission) constantly mix-up the gender of clothing and tag them incorrectly. Which is understandable, They are sorting and tagging hundreds of items of clothing every week.
The most popular mix-up is jeans. When I go to any thrift store in my area, there are rarely any mens jeans. I started double checking the womens jeans section and there are tons of mens jeans mixed in, incorrectly tagged.
Another popular error I’ve been finding, is smaller womens t-shirts (like youth mediums and youth larges) mixed in with the childrens clothing. Which works out great, cause they charge less for childrens tops.
Example: At my local Salvation Army, which I frequent regularly, I was skimming the racks, because I was there the day before. I hadn’t expected too much to change. Something in the back of my mind told me to dig. Glad I did, found 20+ killer vintage men pieces that someone had apparently just donated. I went back everyday for week and they kept bringing more out from the same collection. Had I continued skimming, I probably would have missed that stuff and all the items I got over the next few days.
You never know what you are going to find in the wrong section. So dig deep! It will pay off.
3) Don’t just search for sale colors – Most of my best finds were items that were not the sale color of the day. You will pass up too many great items if you approach it that way. I know some people want to run through as many thrift stores as possible in a day. Sometimes that extra time spent will pay off.
Example: I was out-of-town at a Goodwill and had only a little while to look. At first, I started scanning for just the 1/2 color to speed things up. But I didn’t want to miss anything so I quickly went back and went through the racks with a fine tooth comb. I scored a vintage pair of Wrangler jeans for $6 that I later flipped for over $100.
4) Experts – Just like on “American Pickers” and “Pawn Stars,” have an expert on speed dial. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve called a buddy or have had them call me. Sometimes trying to dig for information online over your phone can be way to time consuming.
5) Inspecting your purchases – people in other blogs have mentioned inspecting your items before purchasing. One thing I wanted to add, is that fluorescent lighting plays tricks on your eyes. I take my purchases to the front of the store and go right up to a window. I inspect all pieces in the sunlight. Makes a big difference at least for me.
6) Be courteous – I thought this would be obvious but apparently it’s not.
a) At yard sales / garage sales – don’t drive on to people’s lawns or their neighbors lawns. I understand sometimes it’s a narrow street and you don’t want to block traffic or have someone accidentally hit your car. But it’s simply not your house, so treat it with respect. I see people do this all of the time. Blows my mind.
b) Thrift store hangers – If you knock something off a hanger, please put it back on. If the staff doesn’t have to clean up after you, they will have more time to price items that are sitting in the back, keep the place clean, etc.
c) Cashing out – While you are waiting in line, take all you items off the hangers. It helps speed up your check out and the cashiers will really appreciate it. Get your tender and coupons ready to pay. If you are in line for 5 mins you have plenty time to do all of those things. Like in any other situation, get off your cell phone while you are cashing out.
If you are going to use multiple coupons, if there is a line, get back in line after you finish your first transaction. They usually have a sign stating this.
Just like in the supermarket, if you have a heaping mountain of stuff and the person behind you has two items, let them go in front of you. Good karma comes around.
Just be courteous.
Well, thanks for reading. Looking forward to hearing any of your tips and comments.