Let’s face it. Parenting can be expensive and kids outgrow things so darn fast! I like to shop clearance and sales racks. But it seems like shopping at thrift stores helps me save more money and stretch my money further. Plus, I can find almost everything we need there.
There are so many benefits to thrifting! You can reduce, reuse, recycle, save money, or maybe you feel like the new styles are ugly or weird cuts, or you are looking for something unique or modest. Most thrift stores support great causes so your donations and purchases go to help important causes and needy people. Consignment shops will pay you a small amount or give you a store credit for items in good condition. I used to do this a lot at Kid to Kid. I’d use the store credit to get items my kids needed. I was really sad when my kids outgrew this store!
Some tips for getting the best bang for your buck.
- Warning: You might get dirty! Some thrift stores can be a little dirty or you might touch something dusty. Keep sanitizer nearby or wash your hands quickly afterwards.
- Remember that most items can be cleaned, sanitized, or washed.
- I recommend checking everything over thoroughly before you buy.
- Make sure to check clothing items for stains, holes, worn back pockets and hems, and dirty underarm areas. That is usually where I find the most problems.
- Check games/puzzles for all the pieces. I usually only buy puzzles that are unopened or have the pieces in a bag inside the box. I have also found many unopened, new products.
- For bigger items…look at each item for cracks or other structural damage.
- Think about how you might alter each item to make it better and looking new. I like to repaint bigger furniture, change knobs and handles, and fix up other things.
- I also like to alter clothes to fit better. I make long bulky sleeves into fitted elbow-length ones. Bell bottom pants can be made into skinny jeans. You can hem pants into shorts easily. Here is my post on that. The frayed hem is really popular right now so that is the hem I will try next time I make skinny jeans.
- Go to the thrift stores regularly. I try to plan at least 1 trip per month and alternate thrift stores to get more variety. I’ve found that some stores are better for furniture, while others have better clothes or books. As you visit stores near you, you will start to see which ones are best for quality, cleanliness, and prices.
- Take a friend with you. It is a lot more helpful to get a second opinion on things you try on and it makes it even more fun! Make sure it is someone that will be honest with you.
- Thrift shopping can be very hit and miss. You have to go frequently to find the good deals. Sometimes I find lots of items, and other trips not much. Usually in January there are more items because everyone sets goals and get rids of items to make room for new Christmas things.
- Plan extra time for shopping. You have to spend a little more time for finding the best deals. I usually spend 2-4 hours at the thrift store to really go through everything that interests me.
- Buy off-season items. I find lots of cute sweaters in the Summer and shorts in the Winter. It seems like there is more selection during off-seasons.
- Shop on sales days, or look for colored tag items that are sometimes 1/2 price. Most thrift stores have special deals for loyal customers or special sales on holidays. 50% off makes a huge difference! We always hit them on Black Friday!
- Sign up your email on each thrift store’s web page or follow them on social media to get updates for sales days.
- Some favorite stores of mine are Saver’s, Goodwill, Kid to Kid, Uptown Cheapskate, and Deseret Industries. Also, some stores will give you a discount (usually 20-30% off) if you donate items to them and you can get a tax deduction too! Bonus!
- I’ve found that smaller, less-known thrift stores are usually cheaper overall than the bigger stores. Look around for new thrift stores near you or google thrift stores near you.
- Try stuff on. I usually wear an undershirt to make changing faster and slide-on, comfortable shoes.
- Make a list of what you need. This helps you focus on that item and look specifically for it. Sometimes, it takes me 2 or 3 visits before I find what I am looking for but I almost always find it. So keep a running list of needed items ready when you go. You can add a list on your phone and add items to it when they come to mind.
- Find pictures of outfits you like and then look for something similar. This is a fun way to find cute outfits to add to your wardrobe.
- Look for stocking stuffers or birthday ideas. I have actually found lots of fun books, crafts, games, activities, and clothes either new or in very good condition that my kids have loved.
- As your kids get older, I recommend taking them with you and have them try things on. Most thrift stores only return items within a week or for in-store credit. If your child is picky, take them with you.
- If you want to update your decor, find pictures and examples and then take them to the thrift stores. I have found so many great things to hang on my wall. I’ve found that a can of spray paint will go a long way in home decor!
If you’ve never given it a try, now is the time to go to a thrift store! Find one near you. I think you’ll be surprised by what they have to offer. Make a list of what you’d like to find and try it out. I have enjoyed thrifting for years!