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.
Best seasons to shop
Back-to-school sales in July, white sales in January… there is always a better season to shop deals at retail stores. But what about thrift stores? “Thrift stores seem to be overflowing with donations, especially during the spring and summer months. Not only do garage sale left overs usually get donated to Goodwill, but there is something about the warm weather that causes people to clean out their garages and declutter their homes. “During the winter months, I see less new inventory come in,” notes Beldner. And make sure you know these 40 shopping tricks that bargain shoppers swear by to save money during the holiday season!