When you’re looking to save money, thrift shops are a good place to start. At The Salvation Army thrift shops, you save money and they save lives.
You’ll find used sporting goods, pots, pans and dishes, furniture, and clothing. Many items are never-used or gently used. However, scoring great deals requires strategizing.
Here are some tips on how to be a cheap-chic pro:
Be a Frequent Visitor
Because there is so much turnover in merchandise, you need to visit your local Salvation Army thrift shop regularly, even once a week, if you’re in the market for a specific item.
Keep an Eye Out
Just like regular stores, Salvation Army thrift shops run sales. Some have weekly specials, and nearly all hold holiday sales. Find out if your local shop has 50%-off Mondays or half-off sales every third Thursday. Just call 'em up.
If you can see that something is worth grabbing (especially if it’s furniture), so can everyone else. If you see a kitchen hutch you just have to have, buy it now; it probably won’t be there tomorrow.
Know what you need. Thrift store merchandise may or may not be well organized. Figure out how your store organizes their merchandise. Find your product group of choice and then browse slowly through that group of items.
If you always wanted a seersucker jacket, shop for it in winter, when no one else is looking for one. And look for you winter coat during the dog days of summer.
Visit the Wealthy Neighbors
Do you live near an upscale neighborhood? Head to that zip code’s Salvation Army. Whose junk would you rather pick through, a rich person’s or a not-so-rich person’s?
A Few Caveats
Call before you go. Make sure your Salvation Army store is open the day you plan to shop.
The Salvation Army doesn’t deliver—you need to take your purchases with you.
All sales are final.
Don’t try to haggle.
If possible steer clear of upholstered furniture, as musty odors are nearly impossible to remove.
Always dry-clean or wash clothing before you store it in your closets or drawers.