How to shop thriftily at secondhand stores
July 19, 2013 11:00 AM

Question: How can I save money shopping at thrift stores?

Answer: To help you save the most money and have the best thrift-store experience, here are several tips.

• Learn about sales. Many thrift stores offer 50 percent discounts each week on certain colored tags. My local Goodwill, for instance, advertises a new color each week and sometimes two colors at once. Because not all stores advertise well, ask a sales associate.

• Shop early in the week. The weekends are typically when people have time to clean out the basement/ garage or have yard sales. They haul everything to the thrift store on Saturday or Sunday, but most thrift stores don’t put it out until Monday or Tuesday.

• Shop the fitting-room rack. I always go straight to the fitting-room discard rack before I head to other clothing racks. Why? Because that is where some top-notch clothing has been tried on and was either too big or too small. Some of my best pieces have been found on this rack.

• Ask about coupons. Some thrift stores will put a coupon in the local paper. Ask before you go as it could really save you a chunk of change. I recently picked up a coat-rack bench for $41 instead of $60 because the cashier liked me enough to tell me that I should be using a 30 percent-off coupon. I didn’t have a coupon, but she discounted the item anyway. Always make an extra effort to be kind to employees, not just to get a discount on an item, but because it’s the right thing to do. You can never go wrong being kind.

• Go early and often. On big sale days, show up early or you won’t get much that’s worth getting. Have you ever had people driving by your yard sale at 5:30 a.m.? Then you know what a half-off day is like. Go early and often, and you will score some deals.

See how easy it is to shop thrift stores like a pro? Give these tips a try to get great deals and have a more pleasurable experience. Good luck and happy hunting!

For more tips on saving money, go to


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