Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thrift Gift Tips

I am so excited that I am already done with ALL my Christmas shopping...go me! I'm even more excited by the fact that I didn't put us into debt doing it. Money is super tight for us right now, I'm sure a lot of people are in the same boat, and if it wasn't for thrift stores I don't think anyone would be getting much from us this year and that would break my heart because I love giving gifts. I know a lot of people are put off by thrift stores, I was at first, but after finding some amazing products for almost nothing at all I was hooked. I am now a huge thrift store shopper, my nick name has become The Queen Of Second Hand Shopping, and I hardly ever shop anywhere else (besides the grocery store of course.) Over time I have learned some tips and tricks to finding the best products for the best price and since Christmas is right around the corner I thought maybe I could help by sharing what I have learned.

15 Thrift Store Shopping Tips

1. Goodwill is my all time favorite thrift store but there are a lot more out there like Arc, The Salvation Army, Buffalo Exchange, Plato's Closet and Once Upon A Child. There are also tuns of personally owned thrift stores, just Google Thrift Stores in your town to find them.

2. Goodwill has a Facebook page and if you LIKE their page you will get updates on sales and coupons. Just make sure to LIKE the Goodwill page that is in your area. 

3. All my local Goodwill stores have a 50% off sale every other Saturday and this is the best deal ever. Everything in the store is 50% off besides blue and orange tags. (I went to their last 50% off sale and found almost everything on my list, I spent $30 and bought multiple gifts for 6 people.) The only problem is Goodwill does not have this sale in every state, this sale does not exist at the Goodwill stores in my home town, so go to put in your zip code and under each store address that comes up there will be a link to your local Goodwill store's website. You can search that site for their sales or you could call a store near you to see what sales they offer.

4. Goodwill also has a coupon called Make My Monday where you get 25% off everything you buy on select Monday's throughout the year. If you LIKE their Facebook page you will see an update on their page Monday morning about the coupon, you just click on the coupon link print it out and go shopping. My friend and I print out multiple coupons and hit multiple stores and get 25% off everything we buy at each store.

5. A lot of the thrift stores I have shopped at offer a military and a senior citizen discount, my local Goodwill stores offer 15% off every day for both military and senior citizens and every Wednesday senior citizens get 50% off at my favorite personally owned thrift store, so call your local thrift stores and find out if they have a discount and what day they offer it if they do.

6. One of the first things you should do after walking into a thrift store is look for signs telling you if a specific color is discounted that day. For example right now everything at my local Goodwill stores that is price marked with a pink tag is 50% off and at my favorite personally owned thrift store products marked with a green tag are 75% off, yellow tags are 50% off and white tags are 25% off. Getting any discount off already low prices is awesome.

7.  I am not sure if this goes for all the Goodwill stores in every state but my local Goodwill stores now have a Club Blue Rewards Card which gives me 20% off every time I spend over $25 which is pretty easy to do. That is another thing to check up on before you go shopping at your local Goodwill stores.

8. I have noticed that personally owned thrift stores do charge more for their products because they are trying to make a profit but they do have more name brand items then the thrift stores like Goodwill.

9. Before you go shopping know your brand names because if you find a Simply Vera Vera Wang shirt for $10 that is a steal but if you find a Faded Glory shirt for $10 that is a rip off.

10. If you find a product with a price tag still on it from the original store then this product has most likely never been used...duh. The Goodwill stores in my area get brand new products straight from Target so I can buy brand new clothes, bags and toys for more then half the price they sell it for at Target (these products are priced with a blue Goodwill price tag.)

11. I always take two trips around the store because they are constantly bringing new items onto the sales floor from their back room. If you see a rolling clothes hanger at the end of an isle the items on it are new items that are going to be put onto the clothes racks so these have not been picked through yet.

12. Dig! I have found some of the best products I have purchased under a heap of other items.

13. Inspect everything. I have not done this a few times and have been disappointed when I get home and find a large rip in a sweater or a pen mark on a jacket that I just bought.

14. Check the glass lock case first because this is where most of the expensive items are kept and if it is a 50% off sale day or something in this case is marked with that days 50% off color you can buy some extremely expensive things for almost nothing (for Father's Day I bought my dad a gold Citizen watch for $5.)

15. The very first thing you should do after walking into a thrift store is ask about their return policy because you don't want to spend money on something that doesn't work when you get it home and you are un able to return it, that would be frustrating! A lot of the personally owned thrift stores do not have a return policy so I am very weary to buy anything that plugs in or needs batteries. Goodwill however does have a return policy: items must be returned in 7 days of purchase, you must have the original receipt and the price tag must still be attached to the purchased item, you have to return the purchased item to the original store you purchased it at. Most stores do have open plugs where you can plug in items to see if they do work before you buy them but this is still pretty iffy.

Here are just some of exciting things I have made out with after thrift store shopping:
Jessica Simpson glasses in store $50+ bought for $2.00, POC glasses in store $250+ bought for $5.00, Smith glasses in store $100+ bought for $2.00

Kids Polo Shoes in store $50+ bought for $5.00

Coach shoes in store $90+ bought for $25.00

Red Aldo purse in store $40+ bought for $6.00, Balenciaga knock off real $1,545+ bought for $3.00, Green Sophia Caperelli purse in store $40+ bought for $6.00, black Simply Vera Vera Wang purse in store $100+ bought for $10.00
Simply Vera Vera Wang tank in store $40+ bought for $9.00

Thrift stores definitely have something for everyone: books, toys, clothes, shoes, tools, electronics, jewelry, purses, sports equipment, cooking wear, home decor.....the list goes on and on. And I have to admit that its a pretty great feeling walking out of the store with bags upon bags of fabulous items that hardly put a dent in my wallet. Thrift store shopping is pretty guilt free and pretty addictive, its amazing walking through a department store and seeing the same sweater you just bought for $2.00 on sale for $20.00 (it makes me go ha ha.) I think the best advice I have for you is don't knock it till you try it.

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