9 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

9 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping

The country is buzzing about thrift store shopping. Did you miss the message? Where else can you get your grandma’s jumpsuit for $7? And if you really have not seen this video, make sure to watch it below.

While the song and video are fun, they touch on something that may be a bit taboo in the money world, as it makes some people feel low-class and cheap, thrift stores can actually be awesome for some needs.

When to Go Thrift Store Shopping

I go on a weekly bike ride during the summer called the Denver Cruiser Ride. Each week, the leaders pick a new theme and we go costume shopping. Where do we go costume shopping? Goodwill!

I have found great items that let me go to an 80s Roller Derby party, the Disco Ride, and dress for the Winter Olympics. I have found costumes for myself and my friends and did it on a budget. I have never spent more than $20 on a costume, which is pretty sweet if you think about what a new costume would cost to put together. As the song says:

I’m gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I – I – I’m hunting, looking for a come-up
This is fucking awesome

9 Tips – How to Thrift Store Shop

  • There are often lots of hidden gems in the thrift store. While I avoid some sections completely, you can find more than your Grandpa’s style.
  • When you head to the store, set a budget so you don’t spend too much.
  • Bring a friend along to tell you whether you are buying something stupid.
  • Plan for time to pick through lots of racks and aisles, and make sure to visit multiple stores so you don’t miss the good stuff.
  • Avoid any kitchenware, footwear, socks, underwear, hats, helmets, bicycles, or anything that may give you diseases or cause a safety issue.
  • Make sure you find clean items. Examine everything carefully before you buy it. Look for stains, tears, and wear.
  • Brand names are often made to last, and may be higher quality than off brand items for the same price on the same shelf.
  • If you find something that you know is valuable, buy it to re-sell on eBay or Craigslist.
  • Buy that awesome jump suit. You never know.

Your Stories

What did you find in the goldmine of the thrift store. Did you find a sweet chinchilla coat? A sweet fanny pack that you use daily? Something useful? Valuable? Please share in the comments.

Image by Editor B / flickr

12 thoughts on “9 Tips for Thrift Store Shopping”

  1. I prefer consignment shops over thrift stores because you tend to find higher quality items you can re-wear.

    People who have clothes that they know are worth re-selling, don’t donate them to those stores, unless it’s in a fit of rage or sadness. Or they’re just lazy.

    Generally, they find a consignment shop and dump the whole lot of really nice clothes and have them pick through what they want, then give the rest back to donate to a thrift shop.

    Win-win on both ends.

    It’s also because I’m lazy. I really don’t want to spend a whole day going through EACH RACK to find something nice, I can’t even stand to walk into Winners.

  2. jeff @ sustainable life blog

    I’ve found some pretty solid stuff at thrift shops. My favorite is to go shopping there for nicer suits and shirts and then having them tailored – it’s still cheaper than buying new!

    1. If you can find a quality suit and get it altered to fit you, that can save a lot of money. Just make sure you are getting something nice and not junk.

  3. Jamie Dickinson

    My wife loves thrift stores. In the UK we have charity shops, vintage shops and second hand shops. All basically the same and some great places to get some unique items. A lot of the ones near us have started to increase their prices due to the increase in popularity. When my wife stayed with my sister in San Francisco they had a great time going to all the thrift stores there.

    1. My last trip to the UK was just over a year ago, and I made it down to a big street fair on the East End. All of the vintage shops were awesome! (Not to mention the amazing Indian, Chinese, and Thai food)

  4. These are great tips. I have been to the Goodwill to buy my “inbetween” clothes while losing a significant amount of weight. It’s not worth spending tons of money on clothes that won’t fit in a few months.

  5. I actually bought an outfit (costume?)for a “1970’s” party at a thrift shop a few years back. The entire, gaudy, purple outfit – blazer included was $2. Would never wear it anywhere else! But, for $2 it more than served its purpose, and was actually a great quality outfit.

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