How to Thrift Shop Like a Pro
Why pay full price if you don’t have to? Here are some great tips to thrift shop like a pro and dress your family well on a budget.
I am a thrift store shopper through and through. Most of our clothes come from thrift stores, while the rest come from clearance racks or stellar sales. So, how can you shop thrift shop like a pro? Let me share with you my best tips:
Have a List
Whether mental, or written down, I always have a running list of who needs what. I try to stay at least a size ahead of where the kids are at. Using a simplified capsule wardrobe for my kids helps me easily keep track of what clothes are needed in each size. When they outgrow a certain size, I make a list of how many pants and shirts I need to replace before storing clothes away for the next kid. Having lists of shoes I have in each size is helpful too!
One year when we had a new baby, the weather turned cold overnight and we spent our fall break at the thrift store stocking up on winter clothes with 5 kids in tow. Not ideal, especially because you end up paying full price (at a thrift store) and still may leave without clothes for a certain size.
Shop in Advance
I am constantly on the lookout for Christmas and birthday items for my kids to avoid the last minute scramble. While browsing the toy section, I have picked up some great finds like bikes and wagons that were in perfect condition! I also buy books to fill our growing library, and have found great games with all the pieces for a fraction of the cost you would pay if you bought it new.
I picked up these books in “like new condition” for Christmas presents for the kids.
Know the Merchandise
There are certain stores that I shop at for kids clothes, and others that I will rarely buy kids clothes from. Depending on the demographic near the store, you will get great donations of business attire, but poor quality kids clothing with stains and holes. On a recent shopping trip I found a Jos. A Banks dress shirt with the $87.00 tags STILL ON!!! I bought the shirt for $7.99. Woohoo! The place with the worst kids clothes might have the best selection of toys though, so know the merchandise.
I got these pjs 50% off the listed price and they were still perfectly fuzzy inside!
Know the Deals
Savers is usually my go-to store. They have a certain tag color of the week and everything with that color of tag is 50% off. Unless I am looking for something specific, I will look over my list and fill the holes in my kids wardrobe with 50% off clothing. This is a great way to stockpile on things like pants which seem to always be getting holes in them during the school year. The best is to know what day the tag color is changing so that you can have the first pick of the 50% off clothing.
Recently I went to Savers to stock up on pants. As part of our kid wardrobe, we pretty much only wear jeans. Jeans match with everything, and when they get holes in the knees, they are easily turned into shorts for the summer. Win, win. The 50% off tag color was blue, so I didn’t spend more than $3 per pair of pants. I alway check to make sure zippers, snaps/buttons work, and that there is minimal wear on knees and bums.
Savers also will give you a discount for any donated items. 1 bag=15% off and goes up with the more that you donate. I try to keep our home pretty clutter-free, so we always have a bag or two to donate and help reduce our cost even further. You can also see if your store has special sales for Labor Day, or Back-to-School or if they have a frequent shopper rewards program!
What other tips or tricks do you have for thrift store shopping?