Retro Saturday: A Guide to Thrifting

Retro Saturdays give us a chance to spend time with our families. Enjoy this blast from the Home Ec 101 past, originally published in January of 2008.

WinkIvy says:

If you’re trying to live on less money and you are not yet acquainted with the joy of thrift store shopping, let me introduce you. Reader, meet thrift store. Thrift store, meet reader. Now that y’all know each other, let me give you some good tips on thrift store shopping.

The first rule of thrift store shopping is you do not talk about thrift store shopping* don’t let that shopping end up costing you more money. It’s very easy to pile up a big bunch of bargains and realize you’ve overspent your budget. So go in with a firm budget in mind, and do not spend over that amount of money, no matter what.

Find out when the sales are at various thrift stores and hit the stores when the sales are. Additionally, find out what thrift stores are in town and go to all of them to get a “feel” for what they are and what they’re like. Some consignment stores are rather expensive, others are really well priced. Same with thrift stores. Some are beautifully organized and are easy to find your way around in, others are horrid messes.

Try any items of clothing on before you leave the store. Many thrift stores have limited return policies and besides, using gas to return that item within the time frame allowed isn’t very thrifty. 😉

Make sure any items you buy are things you will actually use or enjoy. Don’t just pick something up because it’s super cheap.

In addition to the regular thrift stores, there are outlet stores (Goodwill, for example) that sell stuff by the pound or bag. You go and look through giant bins full of stuff and sometimes you can come up with the most amazing bargains EVER.

I know our readers have other great thrifting tips, let’s hear them!

*Sorry, I watched Fight Club the other night, it’s sticking in my brain.


  1. La Rêveuse on February 7, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    If you see several of the exact same clothing item, it’s probably brand new. Some stores sell overstock (or donate it) to thrift stores rather than put it on clearance. I’ve found several brand-new items for my daughter (some still had the stickers on them) at our local Goodwill, on “Everything is 1/2 off” Day. Bonus!

  2. Diaper Cake Becca on February 7, 2009 at 10:53 am

    We got a wonderful dining room table from Goodwill, once (alas it is ours no longer). It was an old butcher block table from a restaurant. It was HEINOUS looking…but structurally shound and big (family of 7). We were able to get that thing home for $30.00. I spent a week sanding it down, staining it and sealing it. Voila…beautiful table. THAT is the thriftiest bargain I have ever found.

    The key is to know what you can and can’t do as far as overhauling a household item. The key is to know how to check upholstered items for infestations (ie: bed bugs). The key is to hold up clothing to the light to make sure you aren’t missing a stain.

    Sometimes it is fun just to go in with your pre-set budget to do a little “retail therapy” on the cheap.

  3. virginia on February 7, 2009 at 9:53 am

    If you’re looking for home decor items, remember to just look at the structure of them item- a fresh coat of paint can make a piece look entirely different & chic!

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