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How to Use Thrift Stores to Save (and How to Avoid Going Broke When Shopping Them)
Do you like shopping at thrift stores? They’re a fantastic way to save money on the things you need for your home and family, but they can also be a great way to go broke. It is easier to spend money at a thrift store than a regular store. The reason is that you see lower prices and by default, you don’t worry too much about what you’re spending. Learning how to use thrift stores to save money but how to avoid going broke when you do can take time, but it’s also a skill that will keep you saving your entire life.
Go in with a list…sort of – Thrift store inventory varies greatly which means that you can’t go in looking for a very specific item. What you can do however, is go in with an idea of what you’re wanting. If you need new items in your kitchen, you can go in and look at what they have on hand. If they have what you need, great. If not, you’re not out anything other than a bit of time.
Have a spending budget – While going thrift store shopping with a specific list can be hard, going in with a budget is not. Make sure that you have set a very specific amount that you can spend before you shop. You may also want to pull that amount out of the bank in cash so that you don’t overspend.
Inspect clothing carefully – Thrift stores are amazing for finding “new” clothing for your family, but if you’re not careful, you could end up with clothing that is ripped or stained badly. To be sure that you’re getting a high quality product, carry it over near a window. The natural light will allow to inspect it fully in good lighting versus sometimes dim and yellow store lighting.
Test electronics and appliances – Another thing you’ll want to do before you buy is be sure that you test all electronics or small appliances. Yes, some stores may test their items but why risk it? If you purchase a bad one, you’ll waste money on that item. Most thrift stores have plugs and extension cords available for you to be able to test something. If not and if they won’t accommodate you testing? Walk away from the item.
Don’t settle – When you need a specific item, it can be tempting to settle on an item that is lower quality, especially when you’re shopping thrift stores. Don’t make this mistake as it usually leads to wasted money since you’ll have to replace the lower quality item sooner rather than later.
Shop tag sales – Finally, a great way to make sure that your thrift store trip saves you as much money as possible and that you don’t waste money is by shopping the tag sales. Most thrift stores will designate a specific color tag to be discounted each day or week. These items can be as much as 75% off of their regular price. By filling your cart with only these items, you’ll get what you need for a much, much lower price.