7 Bargain Hunting Tips for Thrift Stores

Do you love to go bargain hunting at the thrift stores? If so, do you really get great bargains? If your answer was “no” or “sometimes,” you might need to look at how you’re shopping your local thrift stores.

Take a look at these 7 bargain hunting tips for thrift stores before your next trip. You never know, you may just find one that you’ve not been doing and it could make a huge difference!

7 Bargain Hunting Tips for Thrift Stores


Don’t have expectations – Shopping at thrift stores isn’t like shopping at your local box store. You can’t go in with a list and find everything you want. What you can do is go in with a few items in mind but know that you may not find that exact item. Be flexible on what you buy and you’ll be able to find much better deals.

Carry cash only – Because it can be so very easy to overspend in thrift stores, make sure you go in not only with a budget but that you’re also only carrying cash. Why? It is far too easy to ignore your budget when you find a deal that you think you need or want.

Find your quality stores – One thing that you will notice about thrift stores is that some are quality with great prices and items and others are not so much. It will take you some time, but you will learn which stores have the quality that you are looking for. Once you do, don’t bother going to the lower ones. You may occasionally find a deal, but you’ll waste more time and gas looking for it than it really is worth.

Check, double check and re-check – Most thrift stores strive to be honest, but some of them unfortunately go out of their way to be the exact opposite. When you’re considering buying anything that needs to be plugged in or takes batteries, make sure that you check, double check and re-check the item to be sure that it works fully. Otherwise, instead of saving money, you just wasted it. 

Buy only what you need – One big downfall to thrift stores is that you can easily buy things that you don’t need resulting in clutter at your home. To keep that from happening, have a clear goal in mind when you go on your thrifting trip. Know what you need or are looking for and try not to buy anything else. If you’re looking for things to resell, keep your budget in mind and don’t go over.

Shop the tag sales – Thrift stores usually have some kind of tag or bag sale going on and these sales can mean huge savings for you. They can sometimes offer up to 75% off of the thrift stores regular price! Most stores keep the information you’ll need to figure out which items are on sale either by the front door or by the store cash registers so be sure you check before you shop.

Be Realistic – One thing that drives me nuts is a secondhand store with prices at or just below retail. When that happens, it quickly becomes a quality vs. quantity issue. If an item you are looking at is at {or just below} the price, you may find that your best bet is to actually buy it new. You’ll get an item that you know will function as it should for a longer length of time versus paying retail pricing for an item that may only last a few more weeks.

Do you bargain hunt at thrift stores?




  1. All very true and very useful tips! Thank you! I never thought I could check all the things that have cords at the store… usually just avoid buying them.

  2. Tammi, great tips — especially “Buy only what you need.” So many thrift shoppers I know tend to go way overboard because the prices are so low (and they have a knack for finding really good stuff!).

  3. I do bargain shop at thrift stores as much as possible. I have many different ones I visit. If I’m visiting relatives that live in different cities, I even visit the stores there. It’s amazing what I can find in these stores. I love shopping them.

  4. We love shopping at thrift stores, in fact my kids Halloween costumes are all put together with clothes & accessories all from thrift. We also like to buy books, games, & toys. I am guilty of going over the budget for sure which I really need to work on!

  5. We were just at our local thrift store! Didn’t score anything today, I only buy stuff I’d actually use and nothing caught my attention. Another day…

  6. I used to do a lot more thrift shopping, but I have found the prices have been getting higher and higher – for $2 difference, I would rather buy new!

    That being said, I have found vintage pyrex at a cheaaaaap price!

  7. Good tips! Although I’m the opposite when it comes to carrying cash, if I have the cash, I will spend it! (So I never carry cash)

  8. Love your tips especially the one – Carry CASH only, for sure as this way you will only spend what you have in your wallet…good tip

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *