Thrift Store Shopping Secrets

I am an accountant.  I was unemployed in 2010 for a period of time.   I found a temporary accounting position, but it was half of what I normally earn.  I’ve always prided myself on finding the best deals on clothing, cosmetics, travel, etc.

I have never had a problem finding a good accounting position. In March of 2010, I lost my job as Chief Accountant at a local university. For the first month or so I wasn’t worried. I got a decent severance package, and knew something else would come along. It didn’t for another 12 months.

I’ve never shopped at Goodwill before.  Now I really don’t shop anywhere else. I’ve always considered myself a savvy shopper.  But now I have the nicest clothes amongst most of my friends.

Here are some tips for successful shopping at a thrift store:

  • 1. Give yourself plenty of time to shop.  I’ve found men’s clothing mixed in with the women’s. Also you need to look in a size up or down from what you normally wear.  It’s common to find other sizes mixed in with yours.
  • 2. Look at labels first.  I could never afford to wear designer clothes before, now I can. I also find deals on items from our local department stores, as well as nationwide stores such as Kohl’s.
  • 3. Sign up for store rewards cards. I get advance notices of sales and coupons as well.  Also if I spend over $20, I get an automatic discount of 5% on my purchase.
  • 4. Shopping on half price tag day. Usually on Sunday and Monday a particular color of price tag will be 50% off, add your rewards card discount, and you save a bundle.  Sunday is probably the best time to shop because most people donate on Saturday.
  • 5. If you have lost weight or are losing weight, it’s the best place to go to reward yourself.  When you have lost some weight and your old clothes are getting too baggy, shop Goodwill.  Who wants to spend a lot of money on clothes, only to have them not fit in a month or so.
  • 6. Go outside your comfort zone.  Before I discovered Goodwill, the colors of my wardrobe were indicative of my exciting occupation.  I didn’t own anything pink, purple or coral.  Now I have all the colors of the rainbow in my closet.
  • 7. Go often.  I’ve been going every two weeks.  I take a quick survey of my closet and shop accordingly. You will be amazed at the amount of brand new with the tag items you will find.
  • 8. Last but not least.  Find out when your local department store is having a Goodwill sale. When you donate items to the store they will give you a coupon good for that store.  A week after the sale is over, go to your local Goodwill.  You will be amazed at the selection.  January 1st is great also; as many people (including myself) wait until the last minute to donate for the previous year.
  • 9. And the most important thing, donate regularly to your local thrift store.  They help many people in the community, and it’s a great tax write off.
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