Location, location, location
Which neighborhoods have the best thrift and consignment store finds? According to Bethany Beldner, a thrift store shopper, whose Instagram account is followed by more than 36,000 people, wealthy neighborhoods near her definitely have a lot to offer, but prices are higher. “Depending on which thrift store you go to though, the store may increase the prices of nice items. Some thrift store employees are very knowledge when it comes to brands,” says Beldner. Nikki Mateo of Los Angeles California, has a different thrifting experience in her area. “I’ve had better luck finding pieces in shoddy parts of a big city than in affluent suburbs. Probably because the former is more diverse, so you’ll get a lot of eclectic designer and costume pieces and unique furniture and decor over second-hand t-shirts from the Gap,” says Mateo. (Here’s how to master the art of frugality using these 56 effortless tips to save money!)
Many thrift and consignment stores, including Goodwill and Salvation Army, are well-established non-profit stores, that are known for supporting local shelters, food banks, job training, and ease of donating items and, in addition, donations are tax-deductible. All these factors contribute to a large inventory that’s constantly changing but there are certain items donation centers don’t want. For-profit thrift stores usually have stricter guidelines for the merchandise they accept and the price tag is generally higher because the store and consignor need to be paid. “In my experience, privately-owned thrift stores tend to be smaller and don’t offer as great of a selection because they’re not getting as constant of donations,” says Beldner. Fabulous finds can still be had, especially on higher-end clothes, handbags, and accessories.