There is another money saving shopping opportunity that has been growing in popularity. Second hand stores and resale shops, now more commonly called thrift stores, have been around for a long time. There was a time when they were not attractive to most shoppers. They carried a stigma that you must be "low class", poor or homeless to shop there. But over the years, while estate sales, garage sales and flea markets have been the staple of the bargain hunter, thrift stores have enjoyed a rise in popularity. I think the increasing popularity is due to a change in the perception of thrift stores along with the trend towards recycling, re-purposing, being "green" and of course strategies for coping with a challenging economy and rising costs for everything! One person's trash can become another person's treasure. Just because you are finished with something does not mean it is not useful to someone else, or doesn't have significant usable life left to it. Thrift stores keep many things from ending up in a landfill when the items gain new life in a another household. Many items at the thrift stores are barely used, some are even new, with tags still on them. There are name brand and designer items available along with vintage and collectable items. Whether you are shopping for smalls or even larger items, there is plenty to choose from in different departments of the store (childrens, men's, womens, housewares, furniture, appliances, jewelry, books, electronics). You never know when you will find just what you were looking for. You will save money and if the thrift is connected to a charitable organization, you'll be helping needy people in the community by funding the group's services and outreach through thrift store profits.
I've always enjoyed estate sale and garage sale shopping and I've visited a few flea markets. Sometimes I find a treasure and sometimes I don't. As more thrift stores open up in the area, I've stopped by at those too! They are no longer the dingy, dirty, messy environments they once were. Good quality thrifts are clean and bright. They have a great variety of merchandise and they employ retail marketing strategies in how they set up their stores and display things. It's a pleasant place to bargain hunt. Thrifts in my area run great daily specials along with senior and student discounts, color tag discount of the week and the uber bargain: 5 for $5.00 clothing specials. It's even become an acceptable practice to not only shop a thrift, but to be able to talk to others about your adventures and the bargains you found! If you don't want to be recognized while shopping at a thrift, you better wear a disguise, because chances are your friends, neighbors, coworkers and other family members are shopping there too!! (Yep, I've run into all them at the thrift!)
Here's some examples of my bargain treasure finds:
2.00 Like new scarves that retail for 15-20 dollars.
9.50 Like new Hamilton Beach single serve coffee maker that retails for 50.00
5.00 Like new Toastmaster Bread Machine that retails for 45.00
25.00 Partial set of dishes in very good condition that matched my dishes. The pattern no longer in production, so it was
great buy and I was able to expand my set. Same dishes sold on replacement websites would cost over 100.00
6.00 Set of 12 like new red wine glasses. Same glasses retail for 30.00
Here are some great links to articles with interesting information and shopping tips for seasoned as well as newbie thrift shoppers. What are you waiting for? Make your list and get going! Good Hunting!