The Joy of Thrift Store Shopping

Yesterday I cleaned out our spare bedroom. I had been storing things that needed to be donated in there, and it was time to get rid of everything. I had a ton of toys and clothes that needed to go.

Since I had toys, I couldn’t drop everything off at the Goodwill, where I normally donate things. They stopped taking toys when the whole made in China lead scare happened. I decided to drive down the Old Highway, in search of a thrift store that would take toys. I knew the Salvation Army a couple of towns south of us would accept toys, but I was hoping not to drive that far.

A couple of miles out of town, I came across the St. Vincent De Paul thrift store. I had shopped there a couple of years ago, but since I’d last been there, they had built a whole new store…and it was HUGE!

They happily took my donation, toys and all. I had a few extra minutes, so I decided to go in and browse. I have to tell you, I have found my new thrift store utopia!

They had everything! Kids clothes, women’s clothes, men’s clothes, shoes, furniture, glassware, cooking utensils, books, small kitchen appliances, fabrics, craft supplies, artwork. You name it, they had it, and compared to other thrift stores in the area, the prices were very reasonable!

I ended up buying practically new denim capris for $3, a Gap blouse for $2, and a sleeveless blouse for my daughter for $2. Considering Goodwill would have asked $4-$7 for each piece, I got a great deal!

I could have spent all day at this thrift store, but I was limited by both time and money. I will definitely be back, though. Our house needs some furniture yet, and we could use some artwork for the walls, too. And now I know where I’ll buy it!

If you’ve ever turned up your nose at thrift store shopping (I know I used to), give it a try. Yes, there is a lot of junk. But think of it as a treasure hunt. You never know when you’re going to find your diamond amongst the coal.

Do you shop at thrift stores? Why or why not?



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By , on Jun 1, 2009
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.

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{27 Comments}

  1. I have no problems shopping at thift stores, Just don’t have much of a selection where I live.

    But I do love yard sales.

  2. Jessa:

    I honestly don’t like thrift stores. Its not my style, plus Im a teenage girl. But I do support the fact that regular stores get expensive and thrift stores can come in handy. To be honest, I’ve only been to a thrift store once, and it smelled like cheese. But, if thryfty shopping is your thing, i say go for it!!!

  3. Larissa:

    I love thrift stores! It’s fun to go “treasure hunting”, and when you find something really nice for dirt cheap, you feel like you’ve made a real discovery! Granted, you can’t go to thrift stores for everything. In cases like that, I like Target and JCPenney.

  4. Thift store shopper:

    I cannot begin to tell about the finds I’ve found at our thrift store,
    from household furnishings (recliner $40) to dress clothing at a fractiion of what I’d pay if I bought it new. It’s a win-win all the way around.

  5. javaking:

    I would say that all my wardrobe and almost all of my homegoods except the matresses are from thrift shops. I have furnished a 2 room studio this way for less than $500.00 and am always being told how nice my apartment is. My best finds are a leather recliner for $50.00 and a drop leaf dinnette table for only $20.00. I bought all 3 chairs at Goodwill for $2.99 each and repainted them with mismixed paint from the local Ace hardware for $3.00 . My Hobart stand mixer was only $30.00 and I have seen the same mixer at restaurant supply stores for $350.00. LOVE THOSE BARGAINS!!!!!

  6. Lori:

    My china pattern was discontinued 5 years ago and buying replacement pieces is incredibly expensive. I walked into Goodwill the other day and bought 80 pieces of my pattern for $75 bucks – less than the cost of 5 pieces of replacement stemware. Can you say happy dance?

  7. Annie:

    I love my finds! I am buying much less, as I have purchased much better clothing for myself at the thrift stores than I could buy on pension at a retail store. Not only that the one we go to nearest us uses it’s profits to fund the local food bank. As times have gotten tougher and more local residents have had hours cut or lost jobs in the forestry it seems to me there are more good deals to be found in the thrift stores and also more ( many, many more locals shopping there). I talk to people in the thrift store too, and we have so much to share, I have had people tell me where to shop in a city 50 miles away, and the best thrift stores there, when the best times to shop there are. We live near the Canadain/American boarder, and our closest large town?city is in the States. Many of the people I talk to are from there and they are so friendly. we now visit 3 thriftshops in that town ( that I wouldn’t even known were there!) because of talking to ladies who were also shopping in the Thrift stores. It mean not only do we have a day trip, we shop and feel like we are world travelers! We have lunch out, shop, and come home. If I paid retail for everything, I wouldn’t have a day out, the resturant, would make 1 less sale that day, the thrift stores would have one less shopper, there would be a little less money donated to peple less fortunate, and my frind and I would have 1 less day of fun!

  8. Amanda:

    I love thrift store shopping! My favorite thing about them (besides the price) is having zero packaging, bags, etc to dispose of when I get home.

  9. Love the treasure-hunt aspect of thrift stores! So much fun.

  10. bob:

    I haven’t bought brand-new clothes in years. Pretty much all of my clothes comes from thrift stores. My Wife’s mother works at a thrift store too so I usually get 2 bags of free clothes a year from her.

    Honestly, most of the furniture, appliances, and lamps in our house ( we rent) came from the street, thus it was free. But our bicycles, lawn mower, and a few other items all also came from thrift stores. We live in a fairly wealthy area and people donate super-nice things. The only problem with that is that the prices at the thrift stores here ( bay area California) are a lot higher than back home in the South. I feel like thrift stores get more heavily used here and you can tell because stuff moves quick versus back home where the attitude seemed to be going to Wal-Mart and buying cheap Chinese garbage and later selling it at flea markets and yard sales.

  11. Marci:

    We have 3 thrift stores in our little bitty town, pop. 4000. None are “big names”. One is TARC, one Women’s Crisis Center, and the 3rd a local students’ organization, which tends to be the most expensive. I shop regularly – about once a month – at each one. Always have and probably always will :) Why? My money goes a lot further there – just like garage sales.

  12. I completely agree! I am a major thrift store shopper. This past weekend I went thrift store shopping and scored some awesome deals. i needed to get our Little princess a summer wardrobe and that is what I did. I will link up my post as soon as I finish it!

  13. Michelle H.:

    Love them!

  14. I love Thrift stores.

  15. I used to shop at them – and used clothing stores – all the time. Haven’t done much shopping since we decided to drastically downsize from our home to living in our RV (all 340 sq ft of it). But really – they are great, especially if you have a hankering for designer shoes like I did. Trying to figure out now what to do with all of them when we move to living in our bus. The book clubs I call in to all want to know – so I may do some kind of contest on my website. Stay tuned if you’re a size 8!

  16. Jessica:

    I’ll admit, I haven’t been to a thrift store in ages. My mom used to drag us there all the time and most of our clothes came from thrift stores when I was a kid, so I kind of still have a bad taste in my mouth from all of it. My mom still loves thrift stores and tells everyone who comes into the house what she got where and how much she paid of it. I always found it a little embarassing.

    Recently I’ve been thinking of going to the local thrift store because after all, money is tight these days and who doesn’t love a good deal? My biggest problem is that I usually only go shopping when I need something specific, and I usually don’t have a whole lot of time, so I automatically go somewhere when I know I’ll find what I’m looking for.

  17. Angelsong:

    Thrift stores ROCK. I once broke my crockpot, and found one in a thrift store for $5. It did not have a cover, but I had the cover from my broken one, and it worked great. I still have it, in fact, and it’s still fine, after YEARS of use. You never know what wonderful treasures there will be, and looking for them is such fun!

  18. I love thrift store shopping, especially during the colder months when there aren’t any garage sales in our area.

    My parents were big on thrift stores, too. To this day, I honestly can’t say whether they shopped them for economic reasons or just for the fun of hunting for bargains.

  19. Dawn:

    I love thrift stores and I love taking items and fixing them up and making them work for me. I have also found some nice deals on clothing lately at a few of my favorite thrifts. St. Vincent is my favorite thrift to donate to. In my town it is the one thrift that really concentrates on helping the poor – they have locations in tough neighborhoods and keep their prices really low. Though I like shopping at Goodwill, I think their prices are high and many times their stores are in higher end areas. I guess it comes down to the fact that I feel like our local St. Vincent’s *needs* my donations more.

  20. Angie:

    Ok, I admit it. I love thrift stores when I can find a really good one. It’s a good way to purge and a good way to shop!

  21. Nice post! It is amazing what you can find in those places. I like tag sales as well. Finally, I enjoy my twice monthly dump runs.

    What I usually look for and have found include:

    Chicken wire for the garden
    Stakes for tomatoes
    Plant containers
    Other gardening stuff

    I have also taken pallets from people for firewood elevation and I once was with my wife when we found a cast iron chiminia ($5 worth of black grill spray paint worked magic).

    Not everything needs to come from top dollar retailers . . .

  22. Rae:

    I’m at thrift stores all the time. I love them. I do it because I think getting all-new all the time is wasteful. Because I love the hunt. Because I don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Because I can’t justify the prices of somethings new while we are working on buying a home and paying down debt. Because I was raised doing it. Because I love finding the same items at a shop like anthropologie for a fraction of the price. Because I love the look of shock on people’s faces when I brag about how little I paid for it.

  23. Meg:

    I have nothing against thrift store shopping (or buying second hand stuff in general), but I really don’t make it a habit, either. I probably would, though, if our local stores had better selection and/or if I wasn’t such a picky shopper. I have a hard time finding stuff that:

    1. is my style (not trendy, but definitely picky)
    2. fits (I’m tall & curvy and like stuff that is fairly fitted)
    3. is in good condition (not faded, scuffed, etc.)

    I have found some nicer things when thrift store shopping with my sister in Asheville. It’s a larger city and especially has a larger population of people with money to spend on a wear-one-season wardrobe. The thrift and consignment stores there seemed to be full of items that looked new and were definitely higher quality than what I see here.

  24. I’m a thrift store junkie. I know what you mean about Goodwill; yesterday I went there to look for a desk and found one for $137. Yes, $137. I think that is absurd! I don’t know if it’s my Goodwill or what, but it just seems so overpriced sometimes :(

    • PJMcFlur:

      Do a bit of research on Goodwill. From what I have gathered it is a shady company.. and from my experiences, it is an absolute for profit company that licenses its name to keep the gravy train flowing.

      You will find great deals at a Goodwill, but understand its corporate structure has licensed it to do what it wishes. No accountability. Period.

  25. Peggy:

    I love thrift stores! Why pay overpriced costs for something you can find for cheaper? Why spend $20 on a pair of jeans for my son when he’ll outgrow them in six months anyway (he’s 4.5) and I can get some for $4 or $5 at a second-hand store? Value Village is my go-to store. :)

  26. Corinne:

    Katie:

    Think I may be a little bit like you. I was raised in a middle class family. We never shopped at thrift stores that I can remember. Life has gotten progressively more expensive. When I was out of work after my first child years ago, I started looking in thrift stores. It takes a while to figure out what each store has that might work for you. No one needs to know where you bought your clothes. E-mail if you’d like more support. God bless!

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