Monday, October 5, 2009
Be Persistent With Thrift Stores
Saving Money Tip #194 - Be Persistent With Thrift Stores. If you are hoping to save money by buying used but have have never shopped at a thrift store, do not be discouraged if the first time you go in one, you do not see anything you like, anything worth buying, or just a bunch of overpriced, dirty junk. The truth is with thrift stores is that some are good most of the time and some are bad most of the time. Others are good sometimes, great every once in awhile, and horrible other times. The reality is you never know what you will find when you enter through those doors. So try not to form an opinion about them after just visiting them once. You will not walk in to one and find the exact same pair of jeans you were searching for, in your size, and one-quarter of the price of a retail store. You may find a pair that is a different pair in your size for half the price that will do or you may find absolutely nothing that fits you very well at all or only jeans that are close in price to retail.
The strategy with thrift stores is that you have to keep going and going if you want to find the goods. Sometimes you hit them at the right time, and sometimes you don’t. If you just go once or twice a year, chances are you won’t find any great treasures. It takes going over and over again before you start to “get lucky” with fantastic finds. My other recommendation is that you should check out various stores in your area. There are those stores that are always overpriced, and it may not pay to shop there. You may find better stores that have great prices or do sales on special days that are worth going to. In other words, do the thrift store circuit. Check out a lot of the stores several times before deciding which ones are worth repeat visits. And then go frequently to those stores to find the best deals.
Remember, there is competition in thrift store shopping. You are not the only one looking for bargains and treasures. There are other people who are searching for the great brand name jeans for their teenage children; others searching for rare pieces of pottery to sell on eBay. The more stores you go to and the more often you go, the greater number of treasures you will come home with.
In Real Life (IRL) – I was not a thrift store shopper growing up. In fact, I’d go so far to say that I was anti-thrift store shopping. It wasn’t until I married my husband that I even set foot in one, and I wasn’t impressed. Everything seemed dirty, had a smell to them, or just seemed in poor shape. I wasn’t anxious to go back. But every time we passed a new store my husband would want to check it out just to see if there was anything great inside. And every once in awhile he’d find something – a vintage Coleman lantern he could use on his camping trips, a nice name-brand shirt with the tags on it, or a video we could watch for only a couple of dollars. It wasn’t until after we visited the stores over and over again that I started to see our visits pay off. And I learned which stores we generally found better stuff in than others.
I have since become a regular thrift store shopper. I look for clothes or toys for my children, books or videos for us, and rare, unique finds to sell on eBay. Many times I walk away empty-handed, but several times I find great bargains that are worth all of the wasted trips. When my parents come to visit I will sometimes take my mother, another anti-thrift store shopper, with me. And each time, she says, “I never find anything. You always find such great things.” Well, that’s because I go over and over again. And maybe one in ten times I do find a great item. And that really is the key to finding good stuff. You have to be persistent.