Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thrifting 101, Part 5: What are the best days to thrift?

This has been a very, very bad week for my wallet. In the last four days I have come quite close to blowing through a month's clothing budget, spending nearly every cent at a thrift store. I try to be responsible. Really, I do. I tell myself that buying used clothes makes me a better person, rationalizing my addiction with thoughts that I'm contributing towards a charity and proving jobs for people who need them. Thrifting is also environmentally responsible, since thrift stores act as a filter for post-consumer waste. And hey, thrifting is also excellent for repurposing and recycling - many things can be altered to suit your needs! For example, sheets can be easily turned into curtains, and pillowcases can be modified into adorable dresses for little girls. Have I ever repurposed anything I found while thrifting? Well, But that's not the point.

Up to this point, Thrifting 101 has focused on tips for newbies and those dealing with the squick factor, advice regarding how to shop at a thrift store, thrifting for the clothing snob, recommendations for finding the best thrift and consignment stores and advice for thrifting vintage.

If you love shopping for the best deals at thrift shops, and want to stick to a budget while rationalizing your own thrifting addiction, here are a few tricks to help you save even more:

  • Shop on Half-Off Days : Some large thrift stores, such as Goodwill, have sales days when certain types of merchandise is half off the marked price. These sales dates are occasionally posted on store websites and in-store flyers. Don't be afraid to ask employees about half-off days - they're more than happy to help customers and move merchandise out of the store. Some stores use a colored tag with a certain percentage reduction on each color, say 50%. Others date each item and have an automatic mark down after two weeks, thirty days, and more. Half off days draw the largest crowds, so it helps to arrive early and come prepared. (If you're new to thrifting,you might want to study up on my previous tips regarding navigating thrift stores.)
  • Use Thrift Store Coupons: Thrift shops occasionally offer coupons for you to use on your next visit to their store. One type of coupon frequently seen is an amount off your next purchase with a donation. This coupon is often for new store openings, good only at the thrift store location listed on the coupon. Coupons can also be for a percentage off the regular price, or a buy one get the second at 50% off. My local Goodwill recently promoted a similar offer on shoes and blazers, allowing me to walk away with a fantastic pair of vintage flats I never would have been able to afford. However, don't wait too long to take advantage of these deals, as the best items go quickly.
  • Shop Senior Citizen Days: Many thrift shops have senior citizen days when shopper 55 and older (of whatever age stores determine) get a discount off their entire purchase. You can take advantage of these thrift store shopping days by taking along a friend, family member, or neighbor who fits the senior citizen requirement. They can buy the items and you can pay them back.
  • Go On Mondays: Weekends are typically the busiest days for thrift stores to receive donations. Processing time varies from store to store, but new merchandise is often restocked by Monday mornings (or Tuesdays for larger stores.) In addition, I've found thrift stores to be the least trafficked earlier in the week.
  • Befriend employees: Don't be shy - ask store employees about about their sale structure and when new merchandise is stocked. Thrift stores don't always post their sales clearly, and sometimes the sales are confusing. Find out when they have sales on the items that interest you, and shop those days and times for the best bargains.

Do you have any tips regarding saving even more money at a thrift store? What do you believe are the best days and times to shop? Leave a comment and let me know!

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