5 Tips for Thrifting, Your Guide to the Cheap

By Sophia Man on March 12, 2013

Photo via Flickr user dno1967b

As a college student, saving money tends to be a priority, whether it be through couponing, finding the best deals on line with free shipping, or thrifting.

Take Macklemore’s advice, go thrift shopping. Spending some time digging through layers of clothes and aisles of merchandise, you’re bound to find something! Name brand clothes for dirt cheap, brand new china that’s never been used and leather bags for a fraction of the price; because someone’s trash is another person’s treasure, right?

Check out these five tips to speed up your way and get the best quality for your money’s worth.

5. Know your tags and holidays

Depending on the store, there will most likely be color coded tags (especially at Goodwill and Arc) that are attached to each piece of merchandise in the store. On certain days, one colored tag will be selected to be 50% off, which for any thrifty buyer is one of the best deals that exist. Not only that, but on holidays small and big, most thrift stores will offer multiple tag discounts as well as a possible 50% discount off the entire store.

4. Check your labels

Just like checking the ingredients on the sides of boxes for the healthiest ingredients, one should check the material content especially in clothing shoes and bags. If you’re looking for a winter friendly piece, you’ll want clothing items with wool in them. Also, the percentage of materials like cotton, nylon, polyester or wool determines how you should wash and take care of the article of clothing. As for bags and shoes, leather is your best friend. It’s the highest quality and will last you a long time. It’s not too hard to look inside a bag or in and underneath a shoe to see what it’s made of. Hey, anything can happen, you could find a $150 leather bag for a friendly price of $7!

3. Shoes? Yay or nay?

If you think about it, buying previously worn sweaty shoes doesn’t really sound appealing especially since you don’t know who wore them before you. But sometimes people donate quite unique shoes and rather expensive shoes that have been worn only a few times. Checking the wear and tear on the soles and inside of the shoes is a good way to check their worth. Plus, for sneakers, just replacing the insoles with a new fresh pair from Walmart or Target can decrease the contact you have with the previous person’s foot.

2. Kitchenware

I recommend not looking into buying too much kitchenware in the forms of items that come in contact with mouths like tumblers, eating utensils, and plastic cups, simply because you really don’t know where all that has been. Plastic tends to be harder to disinfect and clean because whatever was put inside of it can stain and be absorbed into the plastic. I would look into porcelain, which is easier to clean and take care of. Goodwill and Arc tend to up the price on sets of dishes or cups so if you’re not looking for anything fancy check out the singles and the stand outs that range from $0.97-2.99.

1. Check for wear and tear

In anything you buy, make sure to check for wear and tear. If you do not want to deal with small rips or cracks, double check bags, clothing and merchandise because they can and will get bigger after you buy and use them. If you don’t mind and will repair the small rips then show it to the cashier, they will be able to give you some sort of discount. And any discount big or small is definitely welcome for those short of cash.

Now, go forth, pop some tags, and save some money!

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