Small ways to save money – 7 tips on thrift store shopping

Published on May 22, 2013 by Lauren

I love shopping at thrift stores, it is just one of my favorite small ways to save money.

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Today I went to my local thrift store to see what deals they had on children’s clothing + I was looking for a small table to put on my porch.  I didn’t find the table, but I did find some cute name brand clothing + a metal planter.  I spent just over $5.00 for all of this, and I was pleased because the clothing is all name brand  clothes from Children’s Place and Baby Gap.

Here are my top 7 tips for successful thrift store shopping to help you save money (or maybe even make some along the way):

1.) Find out their sales days and shop on these days.

My store has special days where certain colored tags are a percentage off – today was Family Day where almost all articles of clothing, shoes, and books were 50% off.

There are college days, senior citizen days, military days, etc.  Make sure you shop the days where you will get the most discounts.

2.) Know your brands and look for brand name items that will last longer.

It is good to know what brand names go with what stores.  If I asked you what store the brand Circo (Target) came from -would you know?  What are Cherokee (Walmart) or Jumping Beans (kohls)?  By knowing the names on the brands you know if you are getting a good deal or not.  If I see a Circo tank top for $3.00, that is not a good deal for me because I know that those brand new can go for as little as $5.00.  I will spend more money on a quality, name brand product like Children’s Place or Baby Gap, because those items also have a higher re-sale value.

3.) Have a ‘buy’ price before you enter the store.

Know what you are willing to pay for something ahead of time, this will make it a lot easier to sift through the aisles of clothes.  My buy price is under $1.00 per shirt, and under $1.50 per pair of pants.  Two of the shirts I purchased were only $0.49, the pants were $1.49, and the cute ballet dress was $1.50.

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4.) Dig Dig Dig.

Sometimes the best things are hidden in the back – so make sure that you get down and dirty and dig through the piles of books, toys, and collectibles. You never know what you will find.

5.) Look for items that have a high re-sale value.

There are many online stores that allow you to consign name brand designer clothes, one site that I love is You can send in gently used clothing for cash or money to spend shopping on their website.

You can also sell them on eBay for profit – check out my post about how to shop at Goodwill and Resell it.

When thrift store shopping, keep your eyes peeled for good quality designer brand items (no matter the size), and you can send them into these websites to earn money to shop for clothes that do fit!

6.) Know what you are buying when looking for antiques – and skip the hunt.

Antique dealers get a lot of items at thrift stores – it has gotten so popular that stores have now caught on and will put those rare antiques up near the cash registers with higher price tags.

I would consider skipping the hunt for antiques at thrift stores, and keep to searching at garage and estate sales.

7.) Know what you are buying when looking for name brand items like Coach purses, etc.

Sometimes you can find a hidden gem at a thrift store, but you won’t know it is a gem without knowing the details about it.  Do your research about what a genuine Coach bag looks like, many times the knock off brands will have the coach label but with different stitching inside.  You need to know these small details in order to not waste your money.


When it comes down to it – Thrift Store shopping can be a great way to save money, but you need to know what you are getting yourself into before you go spending it all.

There are also so many ways to make money at thrift stores, so check out these 11 apps for selling items to help you get on your way.

Do you have any other thrift store spending tips?