Thrifty Thursdays 01: Tips & Tricks

Hey all! Welcome to our new series, Thrifty Thursdays! This series will showcase thrifting tips, hauls, and various items that I've picked up while thrifting with friends.

Used does not always mean dirty, gross, or destined for the dumpster. In fact, about 90% of our furniture is something I've picked up at garage sales, Salvation Armies & Goodwills, or even the side of the road (no shame in the free furniture game). Even a good portion of our decor is from thrift stores.

Today we're just going to go over a few simple tips if you're just now starting to get into thrifting. These will help make sure that you get the best bang for your buck.

  1. Go often. Stock changes daily, so go at least once a week if you're looking for something specific. Typically I go at the beginning of the week, when donations are high after the weekend. Special bonus if it was a holiday weekend- everyone ditches a lot of cool stuff when they have extra days to clear out the house!
  2. Look past the dirt. You can almost always clean it. Cooked on grease? Brillo pads. Stained clothes/upholstery? Carbona stain remover. Just remember that even if it's ugly now, it might look great after a little cleaning.

  3. Don't settle. This goes back to #1- stock changes daily! So if that piece that you're iffy about doesn't quite fit the bill, don't feel obligated to buy it because it's cheap and it'll "work for now." Just be patient and the right piece will come. Often times, as soon as I start thinking about wanting something, it starts showing up everywhere, in several different styles, prices, and stores. There will be times when it seems hopeless, but stay diligent!
  4. Bring cash & don't be afraid to negotiate. I know, everyone hates being that guy in the checkout, but it really helps with budgeting for your trip. Plus, it gives you more buying power than a card; more people are willing to lower their price if they walk away with cash in hand. Just make sure that you have plenty of small bills so that you don't have to worry about them not being able to make change.

    This is especially important at thrift markets, fairs, and garage sales. If a price is unmarked, and you ask the seller what they're asking, chances are they'll ask you to make an offer.

    This is also very important if you're late to the game at a thrift market, fair or garage sale. These people want two things: to get rid of their stuff & to make money on it.
    This is where you tell them something along the lines of, "Well I've got XXX in cash right now. What kind of deal can we work out so you don't have to lug all this back inside?" They will usually jump at the chance to get rid of a good amount of stuff for cheap, especially if that means that they won't have to drag it to the donation center or trash.

    And the XXX amount always changes based on what you see & what value you put on it. Don't feel the need to tell them exactly how much cash you have; instead tell them how much you're willing to spend at their sale.
    A lot of times, $20 can go a lot farther than you think. If you don't feel they have anything worth over a certain amount, don't tell them you're willing to spend more than that amount. This is often how I leave sales with boxes of neat items; it's a great opportunity to stock up on gifts for people close to you while not breaking the bank.
  5. Dress plainly. I get it; we all want to look cutesy and put-together most times. But don't overdo it. You lose a lot of negotiating power if you're carrying an expensive purse & wearing designer clothes. If you go down to the basics (tee shirt, jeans, sneakers & maybe a baseball cap), you're more likely to strike a deal.

    I typically wear super basic pieces anyways, but I've noticed that certain pieces get me more success than others. Strangely enough, sling bags are a big help; they show that you want full use of your hands & arms for carrying goods, but that you're not looking to spend a ton (because c'mon, your sling bag was probably free from some event you went to).
  6. Make sure you have room in the car (and the house). This one is my worst enemy. I never remember what all I have shoved in the back of my trunk, and I definitely don't carry a handy sheet of paper around that has all of our measurements for the house. There's no sense in spending the money if you can't get it in the car, or get it in the house.
  7. If you love it, buy it. Sure you might not have a use for it right this second, but if you know that the same time next week, you'll be thinking about that item & there's a chance it'll be gone (in thrifting there's always a chance it'll be gone), just do it. Sometimes an item you don't pick up right away is gone before you even leave the store, all because you left it on the shelf for another 2 minutes. I've even had one person take something out of my cart when I was turned the other direction- with my hand still ON THE CART. People can get nasty (I still miss you, milk glass elephant. Forever sad)!

Basically, work smart, not hard; know what you're looking for; dress for the occasion. If you do these things, your trips are sure to be a success!

Have any of your own thrifting tips, tricks, or hauls you'd like to share? Head on over to our page, and send them on over! Chances are, you'll be featured here on the blog with your fantastically cheap finds :) 

See you soon!


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