I love to save money by shopping at the thrift store. We have some amazing thrift stores in the Birmingham area and I usually make out like a bandit. On one trip, I got clothes from the Gap, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, Limited Too, Lane Bryant, Land’s End, Children’s Place, St. John’s Bay and more and I didn’t pay over $4 for a single article of clothing. My most expensive deal of the day was $7 for the complete set of Pottery Barn blocks. They retail for $49! Try to guess how much I spent on everything pictured above…. (I tell you at the bottom of this post).
80% of my children’s wardrobe comes from the local thrift stores. I love the price and I love the thrill of the hunt. We are very blessed to have really nice, large thrift stores. The clothes are all hung on hangers and 90% of the time they are stain and tear free.
Here are my best tips for shopping at the thrift store:
- Go early! You don’t want to be digging for a bargain when it is crowded. Plus it won’t be so picked over.
- Find out what days your store puts items on the floor. Most of our stores put items out 6 days a week (they are closed on Sunday).
- Find out if your store will sell you an item if it doesn’t have a price tag. Most of my stores do not. So the first thing I do is make sure it has a price tag, if it doesn’t I put it back before I get attached.
- Make sure you look at the item from all sides. You never know where a crack or a stain might be hiding.
- Shop ahead of time and make frequent trips. You aren’t going to find everything you need in one trip.
- Find out if they mark down certain colored tags each week. Our stores all have big signs hanging from the sky with 3 colors displayed. One is 30%, one is 50% and one is 70% off!
- Find out if your store offers a discount for Senior citizens.
- Keep your eyes peeled for Disney items! I found 2 tops from Disney ($1.48 and 99c) and a Minnie and Mickey doll (39c each) on the above trip.
My tips for buying clothing:
- First look at the price tag. If it is over $3, I usually skip it (unless it is a 2 piece outfit, etc).
- Then look at the label. If it is Walmart, Target, or Kmart brands and it is priced over $1, I skip it.
- Check the front, back and sides for stains. Lift up the sleeves and look on the underside. I once paid $6 for a warm up suit from Old Navy for Emily only to find paint stains on the underside of each arm. Talk about frustrating.
- Check all the seams to make sure they are still in tact.
- Check all the buttons to make sure they are still there.
- Check to make sure the zipper zips (and that it’s still there!).
- Check to make sure the snaps snap shut.
- Smell them to make sure they don’t smell funky. I always wash mine twice with extra fabic softener before we wear them.
Also don’t forget that that thrift store is a GREAT place to get books, especially early readers. I have only purchased my kids 4 books at shelf price over the past 6 years. Every other book has come from the thrift store.
Now for my grand total from the above trip….. $148. And I got myself an entire spring wardrobe!
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