This is for all of you out there who like the idea of thrifting but just aren't sure how to begin. I thought I would share with you what I have learned while thrifting. I need to warn you though, don't read this unless you want to become a thrifting addict! :)
Scout out thrift stores in your area. I have some favorites here where I live and every town and shop is different. Some, you will find, are overpriced, small or just full of junk. Others you will love because of their great inventory, prices, deals, etc. My favorites here are Goowill and the thrift shop on base at Fort Benning (all of you military wives, most bases have a thrift store...it may be hard to find but it will be there!)
Call around or visit to see if any of them run special deals. Our Goodwill here has a color of the week and if an item is tagged with the color of the week, it is half off! I have heard of other Goodwills having bargain cards and a lot of Salvation Army thrift stores have certain days when items are marked down. It is always beneficial to call and ask so that you know which days are good for visiting, depending on if they have good deals going on.
Ask the stores when they put new inventory out. If you can catch them right after they put the new stuff out, you are more likely to get the good stuff. For instance, every Sunday our Goodwill changes the color of the week. So let's say that they changed it to red. For the rest of the week they will not tag anything else red...this means that if you want to get the good stuff for half off, your best chance at doing that is on Sunday when they mark the items down because they won't be tagging any new inventory that they bring out with a red tag. Hopefully this makes sense. Another example, today I was at the thrift shop on base and they were putting out new inventory. I was able to find some like-new Dr. Seuss books for $1-2 and a Moby wrap for $5.50 (Originally $40)! All because I was there at the right time.
Yard sales and consignment sales are amazing ways to get a good deal. Do a google search for your area and also scan craigslist under "garage sales". I have found name brand, super expensive and like-new clothes for Caleb as well as toys, books and baby gear for cheap-o! Our big consignment sale here usually does a half off deal on the last day of the sale. My game plan is to scout out the sale on the first day and purchase anything that I just have to have. I also keep a mental list of the items that I would like to get but don't HAVE to get and I wait until the 50% off day to purchase those...if they are still there, great, if someone else already bought them then I'm not too disappointed since it wasn't on my "must have" list.
Take your time looking. I can't tell you how many things I have found underneath a pile of other "junk" or stuck in the wrong spot. Thrift stores and consignment sales are especially notorious for having items thrown all over the place so if you take your time and look carefully, you just might find a pleasant surprise hiding. For example, last week I found Caleb a Prince Lionheart Bebe Pod, similar to the Bumbo seats, They retail for $35-$40 and I found it, under a rack of girls clothes for $6. It is in perfect shape and looks brand new.
Tip 6: Be on the lookout for "re-do" items. This is true of furniture, housewares or even clothes if you have a little seamstress experience. An ugly piece of wood furniture can be transformed with a little sand paper and a can of spray paint. This is where you can use your creative side to think of new uses for old things and ways to spruce up perfectly good pieces that just need a little love. Ugly candle holders and picture frames are just begging for you to buy them and show them a little TLC :)
I could go on and on and on with tips but I think I have given enough to get you all started. It is so much fun, it's "green", it saves money, it's fun and did I mention it SAVES money???? I am hoping to do an entire series on this type of stuff. There is so much to learn still and I would love to hear if any of you have any thrifting tips to share with me!