5 Surprising Ways to Save Money by Thrift Store Shopping

Thrift Store shopping is a fun pastime for lots of people. I am a frequent shopper at many of my local thrift stores, so I have been really missing shopping on a weekly basis for fun knick knacks or needed furniture and clothing since the shelter-in-place. However, I am SO excited because my absolute favorite thrift store in Livermore, California is OPEN! In honor of Shepherd's Gate thrift store, I share this post. Pretty much all the photos you'll see on this post are from there.


This list is intended to be a way of learning consistent alternative shopping in order to save money, rather than thrifting “just for fun” (although the same rules are still transferrable). I might sound a little crazy in saying that I am a serious thrift store shopper, but some of the reasons why I shop at thrift stores for everything from clothes to coffee tables to smaller kitchen appliances is because:

  • Many products are often sold at at least half of their original price.

  • It’s much better for the environment because you are reusing what is already in existence rather than contributing to fast fashion.

  • You can find really high-quality stuff that is back in style! I have found everything from genuine leather handbags to school supplies to beautiful walnut furniture.



There are many other reasons I love thrifting, but without further a-do, here are some suggestions to save money thrift store shopping from a seasoned thrifter:


1. GO OFTEN TO SAVE MONEY ON NEEDED EVERYDAY ITEMS.


If you’re looking for something specific, then you need to be looking at a variety of places and often. Of course only do this if this is fun to you and if you have the time to do so, but I can guarantee you’ll save a lot of money in the long run. Even today, I stopped by a thrift store to see what they had just re-stocked. Earlier that day, I wrote "flashcards" on my list of supplies I needed to pick up at OfficeMax, but because I looked at the thrift store first, I got a whole bundle of flashcards for 19 cents. GUYS, 19 CENTS. Even just a couple bucks off makes a big difference and adds up!


NOTE: One thing that is crucial to this first point... YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOURSELF. If you have no self-control and just go on shopping sprees regardless of if you need it or not, going to thrift stores frequently may not be the thing for you in order to save money.



2. BE PATIENT UNTIL YOU FIND THE RIGHT PIECE.


You’re not going to find everything you need every time. The more you can take a long-term approach to find the perfect painting, shelving unit, or whatever else you need, the better. Sometimes I’ve waited months for the “right” thing, and when I finally found it, the search made it all the more worth it. Just because our society says we need things right now does not mean that we do. It takes re-training to get good at thinking this way, but it helps because then you'll end up spending money on the perfect things you love and searched to find, rather than the things that are mediocre and not "quite" what you wanted.



3. FIND STORES THAT GIVE ADDITIONAL DISCOUNTS.


My favorite Livermore thrift store, Shepherd's Gate (that gives their proceeds to a local women’s shelter), offers a daily discount. Every morning on facebook and in postings throughout the store, they will post what the discount of the day is. This ranges from 30 percent off of electronics and kitchenware to 60 percent off of shoes. For your local thrift stores, ask if they have a sale/clearance schedule or check if they have a clearance section that you can look through. Don’t be afraid to ask about discounts!


For baskets like these, here is a fave from amazon.


4. GET CREATIVE AND RE-PURPOSE WHAT YOU FIND.


Going to thrift stores is a great way to try out new-to-you styles of clothes or that DIY project you always wanted to do. If you want to try out what you look like in high-waisted jeans but aren’t sure what if it would look good on you, go for it! You’ll be happy you tried at a much lower cost. As for DIY, if you buy an ugly old vase with a strange design on it, think about the other ways you could improve it to become your favorite vase, like painting it a neutral, white or black.


For Moscow mule mugs similar to this, I like these!


5. DON'T BE AFRAID TO GO ALONE IN ORDER TO STAY FOCUSED.


Yep, you read that right. While oftentimes going to a thrift store is fun to do with friends, if you are looking for specific items, it might actually be best to go alone. You can focus more on what you actually need and you won’t get suckered in to buying something you don’t actually want just because your friend says “it looks good on you”. Shopping alone can even be therapeutic! Even though I’m a major extrovert, I like to go by myself as a way to just enjoy a few moments alone and find joy in the simple things.


Everyone has got to have a good globe. Here is my fave from amazon.


All in all, HAVE FUN. Find the humor in the absolutely ridiculous things you might find. Take the time to laugh, to peruse, to enjoy the process, and to use thrifting as a creative outlet for you.


Here are some home-decor thrift store finds that I get compliments on all the time and am proud to say that I didn't break the bank getting them!

For this globe decanter, I got it from amazon. However, the vintage mirror tray was thrifted. Check out these links for a similar vintage mirror tray, vintage retro radio with bluetooth speaker, wood wall decor, lavender and sage herb kitchen art prints, or decorative storage boxes.





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