How to Shop at Thrift Stores for Clothes To Save Money

If you are looking for a way to save some money or if you are looking for a place to find good deals, you should check out your local thrift. Thrift stores are great places to find all sorts of things, but they are especially good places to find clothing. Some of the well known, larger thrift stores include Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Thrift Town. If you want to find great deals for clothing for you and your entire family, you should search these thrift stores and the local ones. Thrift store shopping is not like shopping at a regular store, and the following tips will help you find the best deals possible.

Make a Plan

Before you go shopping you should have a list of stores that you want to visit, and you should rank them in order of importance. Thrift shopping is tiring work, and you want to see the best stores first in case you get tired and decide to stop shopping before you visit all the stores on your list.

Make a List

You want to make a list of the clothing that you need before you go shopping. For example, you might need a few new pairs of pants and a jacket for work. You might be looking for clothing for your children, and thrift stores are always a good place to find clothes for babies and toddlers. Children grow very fast when they are young, and for this reason, this type of clothing is often only gently used.

By making a list you will be less likely to buy things impulsively just because they are a good deal. It can be easy to get overwhelmed when everything is so cheap.

Set a Budget and Take Cash.

The budget will help keep you from overspending while you shop and having cash effectively limits how much you can spend.

Take a Friend

When you take someone with you he or she can tell you when something looks good on you or when you are just excited because it costs $2.

Leave the Kids

It is best to leave your kids at home when you go thrift store shopping. It can take a while, because you often have to dig through the racks, and children can get tired and impatient, making you cut your trip short.

Be Observant

Take the time to look for name brands because these will be of higher quality, but it is always good to keep an open mind. Other less common brands can be just as good. No matter what the brand, you want to look closely at everything you pull off the rack. You should make sure to look for problems, like stains, holes, and other defects.

Know your sizes

Sizes vary. Different brands have different sizes, and sizes vary across time as well. For example, if you find vintage clothing from the seventies, the sizes may not be the same. Also, it is good to know your size because some places do not have dress rooms. It is always best to go with a slightly larger size if you are not sure because it is much easier to alter clothing that is too big rather than clothing than is too small.

Tip: Don’t be afraid to have clothing altered. It is often less expensive to buy something from a thrift store and alter it than it is to buy it in a traditional store.

Check Back Often

You might have to ask the store employees when they rotate their stock or get new items, but most thrift stores go through their stock pretty quickly. You should check back often for new deals and new clothing.

Look for Accessories

At thrift stores, you can often also find accessories like belts, hats, purses, etc, to complete your new looks.

So, do you shop at thrift stores? Why or why not? What are you tips for having a successful shopping trip?

This post was written by YFS.


How to Shop at Thrift Stores for Clothes To Save Money — 26 Comments

    • I think the tip asking you to bring a friend if you can is a good one. You never know when you are going to think something is the greatest thing you have ever found and it turns out to be apparently just amazing to you.

  1. My wife and I often shop at thrift stores. We leave the kids behind (an EXCELLENT suggestion)and we always bring cash. Without cash, we found that even though thrift stores are cheap, we can still overspend because we buy too much anyways (under the premise of, “but it’s only $3!”)

  2. I have always loved shopping at thrift stores for furniture and random housewares, but I’ve recently been poking around a bit for clothing I’ve needed in hopes of saving some $$.

    My best tip is to look into the various promotions and sales days each store has so you can piggy-back your shopping needs on the best sale days.

  3. We’ve had a ton of success with buying clothes at thrift stores – and I think it’s because my husband and I are both “uncommon” sizes. Being taller than average and shorter than average means that the clothes that fit us don’t fit most people… so we always find a good selection =)

    We try to limit ourselves to shopping there 1-2 times/year though… because we spend a few hundred dollars each time we do!

  4. Like MoneyCone, Halloween is our big thrift store time. We also find good board games there from time to time. Usually people don’t know the good board games from bad ones, so often with a little internet search you can pay $2 for a pretty good game and avoid junk.

    • Hmm.. never thought of getting board games from a thrift store. Do they usually have all the needed parts/materials? What was the last board game you purchased from the thrift store?

      • I think I bought one of those Murder Mystery party games for about .50. There are sometimes parts missing. If you go to a website called BoardGameGeek first (or reference the site and come back to buy), you can ensure most/all of the necessary stuff is still there.

        I read last week about a guy who found a discontinued game at a thrift store for $2 (I think it was the board game Dune). He sold it on eBay for $250. Sweet!

  5. My husband’s aunt got me into it. She’s a pro – knows when the new stock comes in, how to pick through things – even find stuff with tags on it. So my tip is – go with someone who has experience!

  6. I found a nice little thrift store when I started loosing weight. Nothing makes you shop for new clothes faster than needing new sizes… This store actually tracks the age of the donations by the color of the tag, so each week a new color goes on sale. I have bought almost all of my wardrobe for $1 a piece! It sometimes takes patience – but a trip every two weeks or so costs me about $8 and I have jeans, capris, skirts, dresses, t-shirts, blouses, sweaters, jackets, and exercise clothing for very little.

  7. I love the Goodwill. There’s one in the town next to mine that has a good selection of clothes. I’ve noticed that just before Christmas is not the time to go, maybe a lot of people are buying clothes for presents. I go after long skirts, tank tops, vests, and cardigans. Skirts can be multicolor, but tops, vest and cardigans, I always get in solid colors, usually black or dark blue. That way I can mix and match my wardrobe and end up with a lot more “outfits”. As for vests and cardigans, mens are the best to go with. They’re usually solid colors and generally better made than womens.
    Sometimes there’s a bit of a musty smell from the storage but it always comes out after a wash.
    I just went yesterday and lucked out. Five skirts, three tank tops, and one cardigan 🙂

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