I have recently come to the conclusion that some Thrift Store chains are suffering from identity crisis. I have watched prices climb until the words thrift store are more of an oxymoron than reality. In order to keep up with the changing times, shoppers have to shop smarter......even in thrift stores.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge them the opportunity to make as much money as they can, most thrift stores support charities. But, I do miss the old days when you could sashay in and strut out with a $20 French Provincial dresser…..sigh. But, alas…those days are gone and you don’t even have time for a moment of silence if you want the good stuff. One of the first things I noticed during the BIG CHANGE was in one of my favorite Sally Army (Salvation Army) Thrift Stores. A big sign appeared telling shoppers that a new Antique & Collectibles section was being added. Oh, the wait……my friends and I talked about it for weeks! The Grand Opening finally came, and I about hyperventilated right there in the center aisle. The prices….JEEZ! And Holy Cow, they marked the furniture way up too. I felt like I was inappropriately dressed, instead of shorts and flip flops, I should have been wearing a big black floppy hat and carrying flowers with a Remembrance banner tied to it. And this dreaded mark up disease spread to other thrift stores in my area. But, I’ve got your back and will share some tips to help you keep your wits about you!
Do Your Research
If you are looking for something, thrift stores are still one of my “go to’s”, but I will spend some time looking at Craigslist, and Facebook Buy/Sell pages to get a good idea of what it’s currently selling for online. If you know what you’d have to spend at other “resell” venues, then you know whether the thrift store price is still a good deal.
Make New Friends
I’m not suggesting that you stalk the store…..or its staff, but it doesn’t hurt to form a relationship. If you know when the store has it’s half off days, store wide sales or just section sales, you’re golden! Most stores will tell you that they restock everyday, and I imagine that’s true, but one of my favorite stores practically restocks the entire store on the First Monday of the month. They get rid of everything that didn’t sell the previous month and send it to another location. Some stores will mark items down for you if you point out that it is marked higher than it was when new (such as books) or if it has been on the floor for a while, especially if they recognize a familiar face.
Take Your Patience With You
Remember, at most thrift stores ALL SALES ARE FINAL! You can’t take it back, so examine it closely, plug it in, try it on for size, take a running start and flop on it, kick the tires…..whatever. Take the time to thoroughly check out your item. If it’s not perfect for your needs, can you change it? Don’t overestimate your skills, time or motivation to update it, if you can’t……don’t buy it, something else will come along. Just because you’re at a thrift store doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wait for and expect quality! Spend your money on something that will last for decades instead of a year or two. Wait for it!
Put On Your Walking Shoes
You aren’t helping your budget at all if you buy something on a thrifting high. And just because that uber cool whatchamacallitdoodad has been marked down to a $1 doesn’t mean that you have to take it home. Keep your eye on the main prize…..getting what you want while spending the least amount of money. If you are on a budget, spending money on stuff just because it’s on sale is a waste of money! If you add up all the uber cool whatchamacallitdoodads that you bought in a single year, you might have been able to buy that vintage Art Deco buffet. And seriously, how many of those things do you really need to dust in one lifetime???
Your Last Resort
Finally, if you find yourself staring at it, walking around and coming back to it because you can’t make up your mind…..leave it. I usually go with my heart & gut’s first impression, if it doesn’t make me want to send a text to my BFF complete with attached pictures, I’m just not as into to it as I think I am. As a fool proof backup plan……call your husband, chances are you will be so focused on explaining again why you need it that you’ll be halfway home before you realize it.
I’m going to leave you with one of the Coolest tools in your arsenal! Check out this Thrift Store Directory at Thrift Shoppe just type in your Zip Code and it does all the work of finding local thrift stores you may not have even known existed! Visit as many as you can and get started being a wiser Thrifting Diva! Do you have a tip that should be added to this list? Drop me a comment and tell me all about it!