"Looking for thrift stores in my area" is something everyone should consider doing as a practical way to save money. Thrift stores often carry gently used and unique items at a lower cost that even the deepest discounts at bargain stores.
Thrift Store Shopping
Thrift stores like Goodwill are often in large cities, along with smaller stores that are locally-based and known. A thrift store offers shoppers the opportunity to:
- Purchase gently used items at a low price.
- Help the environment by reusing things that may have otherwise ended up in a landfill.
- Support local charities.
- Purchase local handmade products.
- Purchase handmade products from around the world.
Not every thrift store offers the same items, supports the same charity or has the same quality of merchandise. That is why it is important to choose the store that fits your needs best.
Choose a Thrift Store in My Area
Thrift stores are not all created equally. While each one does offer used items at a low price, some have different features and amenities compared to others in your area. Compare the various aspects of the thrift store before making the decision to shop there.
Thrift stores differ from simple second-hand or consignment stores in that they provide support towards a particular charity or cause(s). For example, Salvation Army thrift stores support veterans, low-income families and individuals, and victims of disasters, among other causes. Check with your local thrift store to find out what causes the profits to go, and how much of the profits go towards that particular charity or cause. These answers may be the response to your question, "Should I shop at thrift stores in my area?" or go elsewhere.
Of course, even if you love the charity the thrift store supports, if the merchandise you want is not in the inventory, you cannot shop there. After all, you want to practice thrifty tips to save money, not spend it on items you do not need or want.
Some thrift stores specialize in children's items or furniture, while others might offer handmade products from around the world. Visit the store or call to find out exactly what type of merchandise they carry before choosing that particular thrift store.
Prices and Return Policy
While thrift stores do have a reputation for being a great place for bargain shopping, they do not all price things at the same level. Certain stores might specialize in higher end consumer products, like designer clothing, while others might carry virtually anything of any brand. This makes prices vary greatly.Tied into the price is the return policy at the shop. Will they refund your money, or just give you store credit? How many days do you have to return an item? Knowing the return policy is important-especially if you are trying to do some frugal gift giving.
Like any good shopping experience, you want the one at the local thrift store to be a pleasurable one. Visit the thrift stores in your area to see how helpful and courteous the employees are towards you. Pay attention to whether they greet you, if they offer assistance and if they are knowledgeable about the products carried in their store. It will not take long before you figure out which store in your area has the best service.
Choose a thrift store that offers store amenities that you would find at any other store in your area. Dressing rooms and public restrooms are necessary when spending the day shopping. Notice whether products are in the correct places, whether the store is organized neatly and if the building and parking lot are well lit. These small amenities make shopping easier and safer for customers.
Whether you are trying to be a thrift shop romantic or doing thrift store decorating, ask yourself, "Are the thrift stores in my area worth the trouble?" You may have to spend a little time investigating the various aspects of the stores, but the time will be worth it when you find a thrift store that meets all your needs that is close to home or work.