Mothering Forum banner

Thrift tips

1096 Views 23 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  Scribe
Since I'm so glad to be in a place with other thrift store afictionados, I was thinking it would be cool to have a thrift tips thread. There's a definite art and science to it, and we can probably all learn from each other. So where do you thrift? How (specific times of year/days of week/etc?)? What are your secrets to getting the good stuff for little money?
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Wait for Goodwill's 50% off day - and then get there early!
I think to really find the good stuff you gotta swing by frequently. If you know when they put new stuff out, then right after that of course! The more often I go, the better feel I get for what items they are overpricing and which they are underpricing (especially if I'm going to several), then you only buy what a store is pricing lower. I guess I feel like its more of an art than a science... to be really good at it, you got to get a thrill from the hunt itself...

mmmm... yard sale season is coming up...
See less See more
I find that looking at catologues and things like that ( i go for homeschooling things and odd games and toys and kitchen stuff) helps me spot the odd finds that people pass by because they dont know what it is. My strange frugal tip!! ( not so frugal I guess, but I end up with really cool unique stuff this way!
I love the thrift stores. I buy clothing there, cast iron pans, baby crib sheets (are a steal). I buy toys for the kids and videos. I buy rags. I can get a huge bag of mismatched towels for about 3 bucks. I get alot of books too mostly pregnancy books.

I bought my sons heavy coat there for 4 dollars. I go to savers and usually their new stuff comes in on Wednesday. They have the color tag of the day which means it's 50% off. On certain days (usually the end of the month) they have 50% off everything day.

I don't buy underware (though I will buy slips) or closed toe shoes. I did buy some dark sheets for my HB and washed them in very hot water. I buy alot of baby clothes especially dresses for my neice.

We should all list our "best finds". Mine are;
cast iron pan=8 bucks
wooden bowl set=2.99
Rose dish=30 cents
2 dresses @ 1 dollar each
leather fossil purse @ 5 bucks
Yay! I love the thrift store.

For me the biggest tip is to try a lot of stores and see which ones have what you like. There is a Goodwill near me that has great baby/kids clothing. There is a different thrift store in a neighboring town that has great craft stuff (fabric, buttons, etc), but their kid clothing selection is pathetic. So know where to go. Also, know when the regular sale days are.

Another tip would be make sure you are buying something you need or love. Otherwise, it may become clutter.
(Unless you are buying to sell on ebay or something I suppose).

My good finds:

wool sweaters (even cashmere!) - $3 (on 1/2 off day).
Baby Style polka dot crib bumper - $5.
GAP jeans - $2.50
various baby/kids clothing
puppet theater!
See less See more
Tag sales rule... but you have to hit as many as you can because some are over-priced.
I also shop the Sally and a couple of random, local thrift stores.

I keep a list of things we truly need and really want on me with all sizes and favorite colors etc listed so I know what to look for. I look for good solid brands like the children's place, osh kosh, etc. I keep an eye out for new stuff that would make good gifts like; baby clothes with the tags still on, still sealed puzzles and games etc. I always take a look at dishes of a certain color I like as I am a dropper and especially always need extra bowls. My set is charmingly mis-matched.
(I am currently down to 3 bowls and 2 mugs for 5 people, though we have plenty of plates and salad plates) Oh! That reminds me! My favorite bowl, right color quirky style, I got free at our transfer station. (dump) There is a spot where people can leave stuff in case anyone else might want it. The dump guy will just junk it at the end of the day if no one takes it, but at least there is a chance it will be recycled. I got my bowl there and I love it.

Some of my better finds:

quirky bowl-FREE (dump)
plant pot with legs and feet-FREE (dump)
gorgeous 3 piece summer outfit for me-$8 (sally)
unopened yatzee game-$2.50 (sally)
3 boxes of books-FREE (tag sale)
Kipper videos- .25 cents each (tag sale)
Small bookshelf-FREE (tag sale)
Matched night tables-$2 for both (tag sale)
See less See more
I thrift without very specific guidelines. I have an overall list of what we want/need, but I rarely thrift for a specific item. I have a circuit of two regular thrift stores (a Salvation Army and a PTO) and a reuse center (no clothing, lots of building materials) I tend to hit on Fridays or Saturdays, because SA has 50% off or 5/$1 colored tag clothing items those days.

My best recent find: Brand new patent leather Doc Marten boots for $2.
I generally don't like the chain thrifts much. Ours are overpriced for pretty mediocre stuff. I like the independents, better, and some Savers (depends on the area).

So many good deasl! Let's see, I recently got a nice condition HA playdress/daydress and leggings sets for a buck... I've gotten lots of valuable books at thrifts for a quarter...

We have one thrift store that punches your card and when we have spent a $100 you get $10 off your next purchase over $10..

another store just seems to get nice stuff and prices it according.

My last trip thrift got me a a beautiful copper and amythest bracelet for $8.
: I get complements on it.
See less See more
I made a major thrift score yesterday. A heavy cast iron dutch oven, full size, in perfect condition, for $5. SO has wanted one forever, and has even considered buying the $200+ version. He was so excited when he saw it.
What a good deal for your dutch oven.

And here I was all happy at my find months ago of a Wagner dutch oven for $20.
See less See more
I LOVE my thrift store. About 90% of what I wear comes from the thrift store. I have not bought any new clothes for my DD -- everything she wears comes from the thrift store except for things she has received as gifts. I also have found wonderful toys for her including lots of Melissa and Doug wooden toys.

My big finds recently: Tin jack-in-the-box for $1.80.
Board Books for 60 cents
A wooden toddler swing with safety bar for $6.00
A pair of toddler sandals for $2.60
I go to the thrift store once a week and when they have their 50% off sale and on 99 cent Mondays. Okay, so I go more than 1X a week

I find so many useful homeschool items. Science projects by national geographic that haven't been opened for 1.99. Melissa and doug toys for $2. Books (.69 each) buy 3 get 1 free. Ravensburger puzzles for .69. These people have no clue what a gold mine they have...for me at least!!

My best find was a vintage retired Playmobil set that I got for $3. I sold it on Ebay for $100.
See less See more
ok, today I found..

6 pairs of slacks that fit great (Nordstrom, Gap, etc) for $5 each and then 50%...

a brand new silk button down blouse for $6 (NWT- originally $45)

a large baggie of play fruit $4

plastic milk crate $1 (I donate these to my school- we use them in the book room to keep the titles together).

Not my best day, but not bad either!

Tips: look for items for OTHER people.. remember that is your purpose for being there.. that way if you strike out, you don't feel bad, and if you find something you need, then that is just a bonus!

Keep track of the best places to find a CERTAIN type of item. Value Village is hands down the cheapest for board games.. but for other stuff? no way. SPCA often has new unopened cat food for $3 *large bag* and a church thrift shop actually washes and irons all clothing.
See less See more
I love the Goodwil in our area because Target donates stuff to them that might be scratched missing a small piece etc.....

anyways i got piece for our bathroom that was going for 60.00 brand new in their store but i got it for 5 because it was missing 2 screws!

I check the clothing carefully now for moth eggs just to be safe. I come straight home and wash items but a couple of years ago somehow an egg or something must of come off on the way to the washing machine and we had a horrible moth infestation .....
Maybe this is dorky... but I go with what I need in mind. Like yesterday for example... my one pair of jeans ripped and I found a designer pair in just my size( which is hard to find!) for a dollar. My hubby has been getting soaked on his way to work on the bike. I found a brand new in the package with all of the hardware fender for both front and back! We are trading a couple of expensive baby items for an excaliber dehydrator and wanted one of those apple peeler/corer/ slicer dealies. They are almost 50 $new and I found one for 2$. As well as a yogourt maker. We are trying out the SCD diet for healing the gut and need to make the 24 hour yogourt so it is perfect.
This happens ALL of the time. If we need somthing I usually find exactly what I need. And for a low income family this is just so indescribably awesome!
My thrift store tip is to go to the ones in ritzy neighborhoods. (Though I love going to ANY thrift store)

The chain ones have the same prices on clothes no matter where they are located but the selection tends to be better if you go to the rich part of town. The "botique" section will usually be much bigger, but I don't usually buy or even look there. The regular section will have more higher end clothes that are generally in better condition than you might find at a thrift store in a poorer part of town. Same thing with toys and books.
I did my best thrifting every, possibly, today. I have to share it. Do you all have Goodwill "bins" in your cities? It's the Goodwill bargain store, where things aren't sorted and they are all out in big tables on bins? Here it is called Blue Hanger. Anyway, I went to the one here for the first time today. This picture is of my haul:

Here's what you are seeing:
A brand new cat scratching post, $3
A beautiful wicker sewing basket, $2
A stuffed snake (my dogs LOVE them), $1
Two wide mouth mason jars (I use them to hold bath salts, scrub, etc.), $.25 each
A burlap, plastic-lined reusable grocery bag with an organic coffee logo, $2
2 pairs of Banana Republic slacks for Mark, both in good shape, $1.25 each
A cool old-fashioned style bandana, $.25
A velvet bolero jacket/shrug/fancy cover up thing from Lane Bryant, $1.25
A red flowered Gap cami with built in bra, $1.25
A gorgeous black embroidered blouse from Lane Bryant, $1.25
Two pairs of capris for me, one Tommy Hilfiger, one Gap, $1.25 each
A fully lined black suit skirt for me, $1.25
TOTAL: $18.75 plus tax

Less than the scratching post alone would be retail. I am psyched.

ETA: And this place so made me wish I had kids! Tons of kids stuff (bouncy chairs, slings, you name it) and endless kids' clothes, for $1 each or less. Definitely check it out if you have something similar locally.
See less See more
My best thrift tip is not to come to Asheville to thrift
. We've always lived in towns or small cities. My real best tip, if you're in my situation is to go to thrift stores whenever you go to bigger cities! The more disposable income in the city, the better (Naples, FL and Boulder, CO come to mind as CHOICE thrifting towns). I prefer for-profit thrifts (as opposed to charities), mostly because they have bigger stores, better selection and better prices. I've only been to one of those Goodwill Outlet stores, in Charlotte, NC, and it was so dirty, I felt like I was getting head lice just walking it the door
I think I bought 1 dress and a book.

I've had so many ridiculously good thrift store finds, too many to list:
Wool diaper covers - 25 cents each
Hanna and Lands End cotton tights - 25 cents each
NIB Stockmar Modeling Beeswax - $1
NWT Carhartt overalls - $8
Loads of high-end childrens & adult clothes (Hanna Andersson, Zoodles, Chicken Noodle, Oilily, Cakewalk, Zutano, etc.)
Oh, my most recent lovely find (non-clothing) was a red wood 6-foot long, 1-1/2 foot tall, 1 foot deep shelf for my kids' room for $5.

I actually started Ebaying just because I was finding so many good things and couldn't pass them up!

But even more importantly, thrifts only come in 3rd place of great bargains. First is yard sales BY FAR!! Next is consignment sales (not stores), then comes thrifts
See less See more
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.