I love a good thrift store! During times when my budget didn’t require frugal living, I still made regular shopping trips to local thrift stores. Now, when my budget is so tight it squeaks, thrift store shopping is a must. Here are a few of my favorite tips for getting the most out of your thrift store shopping trips.
Make a List
I have found that it helps to make a master list of household items I need and things family and friends are looking for. Keeping the list on hand when shopping at thrift stores can help you remember items that you need. I have a tendency to forget such things unless I have just been thinking about it, so a list is very helpful. Reviewing it before I browse can help me keep my eyes open for certain items.
Set a Spending Limit
When I shop at a thrift store, it is really easy to just pick things up because they’re cheap. I try to set a limit on myself before I go inside. Generally, I think longer about any item that is priced over three dollars. I usually set a limit of not spending more than $10 on a visit to the thrift store. If I find things I want to buy and the total cost will be more than my set limit, I take the time to think about how I will use each item and whether I really need it or if I’m just planning to buy it because it’s cheap.
Make Sure It Works
If possible, carry batteries with you to test out items that require them. There’s nothing more aggravating than buying something at a thrift store then getting home and discovering it doesn’t work. If it has an electrical plug, ask to plug it in and try it out. It’s worth your time to check it over.
Is it Usable?
In the same way, check every item over well to make sure it is in usable condition. Open up board games to see if all pieces are there, check clothing for buttons, working zippers, rips and tears. If it’s a piece of furniture, remove the cushions to check the condition of the item.
Can You Fix It?
If you find that an item is damaged, stop and ask yourself if you can repair it yourself. Can you sew buttons, mend tears, fix minor issues? Ask the store if they will reduce the price on any damaged items. If so, you might find yourself a great bargain if you can fix it yourself. I generally pass up any damaged electrical or battery-operated item, no matter how great the bargain price–but that’s just me. If you’re handy with fixing such things, then go for it! Remember that you might be able to combine two damaged items to create one good, working item.
Use these tips and find yourself some great bargains while saving your pennies!