How to Save Money » Frugal Living

Saving money at thrift stores: 5 ways to keep more cash in your pocket

Last week I wrote about how to shop at thrift stores and it seemed like many of you enjoyed that post, so I thought a follow-up article about saving money at thrift stores would be a good idea.

Don’t get me wrong, thrift stores are already inexpensive. Even if you don’t do any of the things listed below, you will likely still be able to score an amazing deal at a thrift store.

However, if you do want to start saving money at thrift stores, read on…

Shop on sale days

Many thrift stores have regular sales days. Since so many new things are donated each day, the store has to have a way to sell merchandise quickly. Combined with their already low prices, adding additional discounts will move items much faster than just sticking something on a shelf (or hanger) and waiting for it to sell.

Look for special tag days (where certain colored tags are on sale) and especially watch out for that fantastic 50 % off sale days that most thrift stores have every few months or so.

Use store coupons

There are some thrift stores (Salvation Army is one of them) that offer discounts through coupons. You can either print them from the store’s website or you can sign up to their online mailing list and coupons will be emailed to you.

Other times you will find coupons in the mail, and even in-store occasionally (sometimes when you buy something, you are awarded coupons for your next purchase).

Ask for a discount

That’s right, just come out and ask for it. If you want to purchase a dining room set that is selling for $150, offer $100 and see what happens. If you want to purchase 10 t-shirts that are $2 each, ask if you can have them all for $15.

Thrift store managers are used to hagglers and usually have a standard discount of 10% that they will offer when a customer asks for a better deal. Each manager is different, though, so always ask. The worst they can say is no, right?

Sign up for loyalty programs

Whether it’s a mailing list online, or an actual membership card that you carry around in your wallet, sign up to loyalty programs at your local thrift stores.

Not only will you [usually] be rewarded with great discounts (and free stuff), but you will likely be the first to know about special upcoming promotions that can have you saving money all the time.

Donate some stuff

Did you know that some thrift stores will actually give you a discount off of your purchase if you donate something to their store?

Ask your local store if this is something that they offer to their customers. Talize is one thrift store that does this, and their discount coupon is for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more (which cannot be combined with any other discount).

Save big by shopping at thrift stores. Save even bigger when you combine thrift store shopping with these tips outlined in this article. And who doesn’t want to save bigger than big?

Remember that you won’t always have success with all (or any, for that matter) of these tips. Some thrift stores simply don’t offer loyalty programs, coupons, or things of that nature. Shop there anyway.

There is always a gem hiding in a thrift store – you just have to find it. And chances are, it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg.

Do you have any tips for saving money at thrift stores?


  1. Virginia

    Ikea is obviously not a thrift store but you can haggle in the “As Is” section. My husband and I found a door we wanted and the “As Is” price was $100, not much less then the origional price. I thought this was way too much so I asked the guy who worked there if he could mark it down a bit, hoping for maybe $25 off. My husband said dont bother and said I was cheap. The guy said the door should never have been priced so high and marked it down to $10!! I like being cheap 🙂

    • Cassie Howard

      That is good to know! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  2. Melissa

    I shop on 50% off days and buy all the wool clothing I can. I use it to make hooked wool rugs. Great way to recycle and make something beautiful.

    • Cassie Howard

      Fabulous idea!

  3. Eve

    For seniors we can purchased all goods for 30% off every Tues. That is when I purchase my goods.
    We recently have a brand new larger store which is great!VV has come a long way since first opening in our city. The new store had greeters the first days of opening and everything is so clean, pressed. The entrance to change rooms is better organized.Right now I am sitting in a gorgeous whiteVanity Fair dressing gown, so cozy and I paid $7 for it.

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