Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thrift Store Shopping Tips

 Thrift Store
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Thrift Store shopping is a way of life for me and my family. I still will go to full price discount stores as well, but I make it a habit to include thrift stores in my weekly routine. Near my work there are several thrift stores. There is the Goodwill which changes or adds to its daily inventory on a regular basis. This time of year is a great time to increase your visits to the Goodwill or Salvation Army because they will be working in the tax write off donations from the end of the year.

Also, there is an independent Thrift store that I visit regularly. At this store, the owner will take items on consignment and work the items into the store. Now… I use consignment loosely. If you choose to use her store, you sign a contract that basically stipulates that she will decide if the items you submit are of value and if so she will tag the item with your assigned number and place it into the rest of her items. When the item sells, she will credit your account accordingly.

 She of course will get a commission on the items as well. If she decides that the item submitted is not something she can sell, she will donate it to a local shelter. This also is the case when the items have been in her store for an extended amount of time. Basically, when you sign up with her, you really do not plan on getting anything back. I turn in things to her about once a year. Around Christmas, I will go and collect my profits which usually add up to about 70.00 dollars on the average.

There is also a nonprofit thrift store for a local charity not too far away as well. I have limited success here, but I still visit at least once a week.

1. Visit Local Thrift Stores on a Regular Basis

Visit At least once a week if not more. Get a feel for the items they carry, and get to know the individuals that work there. If you have a good relationship with them, you can on occasion ask if they will give you a better price for an item that you are wanting to purchase. Or, you can ask them to keep an eye out for an item that you are looking for.

2. Carry Cash.

The bigger thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army will accept debit, but for the most part, dealing with cash purchases is the best way to go. The smaller stores or “mom and pop” stores appreciate cash AND by using cash you will be better able to budget your money. Debit cards seem to provide a reason to spend more…. A freedom that will definitely get you into money trouble. Cash is the way to go!

3. Leave Kids (or husband) at Home.

If you are serious about watching where your money is going, definitely shop alone. Kids will definitely increase your impulse buying and husbands will most likely do the same. I know I have a hard enough time controlling my personal impulse binges,(carrying cash does help) and having to always say no to your kids and or your husband can get old really quick. If you do have to, or you want to bring your kids or husband, give them the amount of cash that you are willing to let them spend. Once they have gone through the money then they are done. This tactic is easier to enforce with your kids than with your husband. J

4. Be Familiar with Brand Names.

Being familiar with brand names can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run. Buying an item that is a “really great deal” but an unfamiliar manufacture can cause your pocketbook pain later on. If your kids like Gap, Levi, etc., that is what you need to be on the lookout for. If you bring home an item that is a Levi wanna be, your kids (this may apply to teens and pre teens) may refuse to wear it. Money is lost. The same goes for you. Buy items of quality. Don’t buy it because it’s a good deal. A $1.99 spent on a shirt that you may wear is a $1.99 wasted. Only buy what you or your family will definitely wear or use.

5. Gift Shopping.

You can successfully shop for Christmas and or Birthday gifts at the Thrift Store.
Case in point, I found a set of 20 “Coca-Cola” Stoneware plates for 15.00 dollars. The plates were in almost perfect shape, with several looking like they had never been used at all. I personally do not get a big thrill out of Coca-Cola Collectibles but my daughter’s in-laws are HUGE collectors of anything Coca-Cola!

 I called my daughter to see if she would be interested in the plates for her father in law. I also sent her a picture of them on my phone and she was so excited as her father in law did not yet have anything like these plates in his collection. I purchased the plates for 15.00 dollars and my daughter paid me for them later on that week. She had a great present that her father in law was thrilled to receive. In fact, he served Christmas dinner on them.

This is just one example of “gift shopping” at a Thrift store. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!!

What other tips do you have to share?

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