Second Hand Shopping Guide with Thrifty Tips!

Consignment copyWhile couponing and timing sales can be a good money saving strategy when it comes to bargain shopping, don’t forget about the opportunities at resale stores, where you can also shop for brand names. Sometimes it can take a while to be effective at shopping thrift, but you’re bound to found something beautiful and functional for your home or wardrobe. Another benefit of shopping charity thrift stores is that you’re also supporting worthy organizations that help your less fortunate neighbors.

To develop a good second-hand store strategy, you should have a good understanding of the differences between the various types of stores that sell second-hand goods. For example, you may not find many higher end brands at standard thrift stores, but consignment stores often sell designer clothes in good condition.

Here’s a brief overview of the types of Second Hand Stores:

Consignment Shops – Consignment stores operate very differently than a regular thrift store. They act as a “middleman” between the owner of an item and a buyer. People bring in items to the store and if the item sells, the consignment store splits the pre-determined proceeds with its owner.

Antique Shops - These businesses generally deal in older housewares and decor, and some sell retro clothing. Some antique or vintage shops specialize in items from a particular time period, while others offer a more general selection of older items.

Pawn Shops – Pawn Shops often sell higher-end items, such as fine jewelry, electronics, and musical instruments, though some sell all types of goods. Don’t expect to find huge discounts at pawn shops, but you can get some good deals on music and electronics gear.

Resale Shops - Similar to nonprofit thrift stores (Goodwill Stores for example), resale shops typically operate under the umbrella of a charitable organization. Resale shops are smaller than their thrift store counterparts, and tend to have a better quality of items for sale than what you can find at a thrift store. Resale shops can be a bit more selective than thrift shops when it comes to donations.

Thrift Shops – Thrift Shops can sometimes be operated by charities and for-profit businesses, selling donated or used goods for a fraction of their original price. Some of these stores specialize in one type of item such as books or records, while others may sell everything from bookcases to shoes to kitchenware. The quality of items sold at these stores varies, but you can find like-new and brand new items on their shelves and racks after a diligent search.

 Now, some tips for Thrift Shopping:

Choosing a Store - Second hand stores often specialize and you may find that the quality and style of the goods match the community where the store is located. When shopping for designer clothing, target a consignment store or a for-profit second-hand store in an affluent community.

Bring a Friend – It’s always more fun to shop with a friend and knowing what your friend is looking for can be a fun teamwork shopping strategy.

Store Policies - Many second hand stores have policies about returns or exchanges. Expect all sales to be final; most second-hand stores simply won’t consider a return or an exchange, even if an item is defective.

Sales - Second hand stores can have sales, just like traditional retailers. Sign up for stores’ email newsletter to find out when these sales happen or visit their website to be updated on upcoming savings opportunities.

Inspect Items - You typically can’t return or exchange items at most thrift stores, even if defective or broken. Prepare to test items in the store, especially when you plan to buy electronics.

Compare prices – When trying to determine the best value of an item, visit online sites that hold auctions or list virtual yard sales websites to compare prices before making a final purchase.

Consider Alterations – Be sure to inspect items for small tears or alternations that may be needed. Being able to determine if you can repair a small tear or alter the size of the clothing before purchasing will save you time and money.

A healthy approach to shopping is to foster a thrifty attitude towards spending by considering what you need in resale shops before shopping for your next purchase. You can save big when shopping second hand stores!

What are your best second hand finds? Share them by commenting below!