This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and choose to make a purchase I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. See our disclaimer/disclosure policy for more information.

Inexpensive Thrift Store Finds

Inexpensive thrift store finds are plentiful.  

Don't turn your nose up at thrift stores thinking that they are only selling off grandma's old fur coats and tatty furniture.  All those fashionistas who buy things that they never wear need someplace to donate those clothes so they don't feel that guilty about buying them in the first place.  

Thrift stores run the gauntlet from being highly organized, bright, clean and cheerful to the ones that have the slightly sad feeling about them as disorganized staff wade through piles of donations.

 If you are a person that loves the hunt then thrift stores are for you. You might have to drop by half a dozen times before you find anything but then it might be on sale for 50 cents! It is not uncommon at all to find clothes on the rack with the original price tags on them. 

Clothes can be some of the best inexpensive thrift store finds. If your kids live in t-shirts check out what they have as many people have bought or been given t-shirts from vacations that they have never worn so they donate them. 

There are companies that don't want to go the time and bother of selling off merchandise to liquidators or have a warehouse sale and would rather donate it and receive a tax donation. Antique items like crystal glasses still turn up regularly.

You also might find wedding gifts still in the box that were never used, fabric that was bought but never made into anything or even unopened craft supplies at inexpensive thrift stores.

This was another place that when I was an antique dealer I would hunt for silver plate, crystal vintage clothing and so much more.

Now I often look at thrift stores for office supplies. I bought a $40 Rolodex for $2, paper storage trays for 75 cents each and a Seiko mantel clock for my studio for $5.

Inexpensive Thrift Store

Hidden Gems

You know that not everything in there is a treasure but you don't want to overlook any hidden gems either.

At inexpensive thrift stores you can become an expert thrift store shopper knowing what the best strategies are. Don't shop without a purpose. If you are just going to thrift stores to see what they have then you are probably buying things that you don't need. Wasting all that money on stuff will come back to haunt you when you find that perfect item that you have wanted for so long and no longer have the money to buy it

Do take a master list of things you know you will need to buy over the year.

This can include dressy clothes for the kids, birthday, anniversary and other presents. You need to spend some time thinking about the expensive things that you buy throughout the year and look for them in thrift stores. Make a list and keep it with you always. You are there to buy smart.

Do check, check and check again that what you are buying is in perfect condition.  And if it is not then make sure it is priced according or ask for a reduction.

Some things you might not mind repairing to make them perfect again, thrift stores are an amazing place to buy and redo furniture. But in general you should only be buying things that are in perfect condition. Mending and cleaning take time and effort and you should factor that in if you are tempted to buy something that is not quite pristine.

One thing always to be on the lookout for is odd smells. Items sitting in a musty basement or in a smoker's home can have very unpleasant odors. If it is something that you just can't pass by then know you will have to deal with it.

Do find out what their return policy is. It is great to know if there is an item you are not sure about (it looks like it's your husbands size but you're not positive) that you can return it within a reasonable amount of time. It will mean that you will have to make an extra trip back but it is great to know that you can take a chance on something without losing money.

Use inexpensive thrift stores as a way to upgrade. When you are buying to replace make sure that you are getting better quality than you had before. You want you and your home to have the best quality that you can afford and that is what is great about thrift shops. You have the chance to upgrade at very reasonable cost.

Thrift stores are a treasure trove for silver plate and other fine dining items. Check out good antique shops so you will know what to look for and recognize a gem when you find it. The same holds true for jewelry, learn gold and silver marks so when you stumble on a find you can snap it up.

Children's books are often in pristine condition and are great for giving as gifts for Easter, Christmas and birthdays. If your children are reading a series, like the Box Car Children, then keep your eye open for them. Picture books that have dirty and torn covers are often filled with sweet prints, great for framing. Art books are also filled with great prints and photography great for framing. 

There are good and bad thrift store out there. Some are run by charities and some are privately owned. The quality of stuff often matters on where they are sourcing it from you will get nicer quality items at a thrift store that is in an affluent community.

With a smart shopping strategy and an eagle eye you will be finding great bargains at thrift stores and saving money as you go.

Return to Best Inexpensive Shopping