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6 Ways to Shop Smart at Thrift Stores

6 Ways to Shop Smart at Thrift Stores

Clothing for a family can quickly become an expensive line item in any budget. With four kids, I have to be a savvy shopper to keep our wardrobes stocked. I love picking up essentials from thrift stores, but even this can add up. Use these cost-saving tips to lower your bill significantly.

6 Ways to Shop Smart at Thrift Stores

thrift shopping

Shop Discount Days

Get informed about discount days or flash sales by signing up for emails from thrift stores.

Value Village has a 50% off day (usually a Monday), every few months. If you are part of their Super Savers Club you can get the same deal the day before (usually a Sunday).
super savers
Senior Discount Days:
10% off every day at Talize
10% off every day at Salvation Army Thrift Stores.
10% off every Tuesday at Value Village
20% off every Monday at Goodwill
Student Discount Days:
10% off every day at Talize
talize student

Get Coupons Off Your Purchases

We would be remiss at MapleMoney to not mention that you can receive coupons from thrift stores. Stretch your thrifty dollars even further by scooping up coupons from any of these stores.

Salvation Army emails coupons for $10 off a $25 purchase and gives them when you make a donation. Also, check this website for extra coupons such as “Buy 5 Items for Children and Get 50% Off.”

Value Village has a Smart Saver program where you collect stamps and receive an increasing percentage off, depending on how many stamps you have.

Talize also offers $5 coupons for any donation – their website does not specify a minimum purchase required.

Make a List

Create an inventory before entering the thrift store. List items that you know you will need for the next season:

For example, I need to buy the following items on my next run to the thrift store:
3 pairs of pants size 4-5
1 sweatshirt size 5
2 dress shirts size 10-12
It may take a few trips to find great quality items in these sizes, but it helps keep my shopping trip focused.

Know Good Value

Knowing your products will help you spot good value. Items like t-shirts are often overpriced at second hand stores and can be found cheaper brand new. Other items like dress shirts and jeans can be a great deal. Also search for favourite brands to ensure items will wash and wear well. Shopping by brand helps Even style-conscious teenagers can get hooked on thrift shopping when they learn to spot name brand items for cheap.

Stray from Your List

There may also be times when it is worth it to pick up items that are not on the list. This would include items that are in amazing condition, at the right price that you will use in the fairly near future.

I have a storage system in my basement with Rubbermaid containers labelled by size. I wash my thrift shop finds and tuck them into the bin for a bit further down the road.

Shop Off-Season

Don’t be caught paying full-price for in-season items so be sure you are shopping 4-6 months ahead. For example, you will get great deals on bathing suits in the winter time – just buy up a few sizes. (for the kids, of course!) Consignment stores are especially known for clearing out off-season items to make room for new ones. This can be the best way to get 99 cent items for good quality items.

Buying items at thrift stores can tremendously reduce your clothing budget. And turning around and donating them (or selling them) to others is a budget-friendly way to live.

What are your favourite tips for shopping at thrift stores?