Point to just about anything in my home or closet and I’ll probably tell you I got it at _____ thrift store, or on clearance, or at a garage sale.
I LOVE thrift stores and consignment shops and I REALLY LOVE garage sales and ESPECIALLY LOVE getting a great deal. I very rarely buy things at full retail price.
How do I do it? Well here are a few tips that I’ve learned over the years.
- Don’t be afraid to wait. If there is something I want but don’t need right away I wait for it to go on clearance or to find it on the thrift store shelves. My favorite example of this was my intense desire for an espresso machine but my complete disgust over the retail prices. I held out for a year before spotting a nearly new one at the Goodwill for $15!
- Be okay with not getting what you want. This is a really hard one for me-especially when it’s something in Target and it might sell out before hitting clearance, but that’s how I can afford to decorate.
- Set a budget. How much would you actually spend on that thing you want? I didn’t want to spend over $30 for a espresso machine.
- Make a list of what you want. This helps you stay focused and not buy every pretty little knick knack. I keep a running list on my phone under notes so it’s always with me.
- Keep in mind your decor. Will that knick knack actually fit in your home size and stylewise? Where EXACTLY will you put it? I can’t tell you how many times a pretty little thing has ended up in a cloest never to be displayed because I didn’t think through where it would go in my home.
- Go often. Thrift stores are getting new stuff in everyday. Don’t go in everyday (bad on the budget!). I go once a week or every other week.
- Learn your favorite store’s discount days. For instance, my Goodwill marks furniture down every Friday morning so if there’s a chair or shelf I’ve been watching I get there when the doors open.
- Learn where the clearance sections are. Most everyone knows that Target likes to put their clearance on the end caps. When I hit up my local Walmart or Hobby Lobby I usually walk by the clearance first keeping number 4 in mind so I don’y buy everything!
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a cheaper price. My mama always said it doesn’t hurt to ask nicely. If I see two similar items I want that are marked at different prices I ask to get them both at the cheaper price. Same if I just want the one at the cheaper price. Thrift stores are usually good about this. I will even ask for a cheaper price in retail stores on clearance items that have visible problems. But again, the key is to ask nicely and not be a grump if they say no.
- Don’t be afraid to suggest a price you are willing to pay. This especially works at garage sales and thrift stores but I’v been known to do it in retail stores too (on clearance items). I bought a rug from Goodwill for $6.99 because it didn’t have a tag and I went up and said I’d give them $10. The lady was super nice and gave it to me for less!
- Buy pretty pillows from the thrift store. These are always SO EXPENSIVE in retail stores. Make sure to buy ones in the thrift store that have zippers on them so that you can remove and wash the pretty case! I just throw away synthetic inserts (because i dont know where they’ve been) but you can wash feather inserts! Always buy nice feather pillow inserts at thrift stores when you find them because not only can they be washed, but they last longer and can be re-fluffed unlike the cheapy synthetic ones.
- Set boundaries/rules on collections. This goes along with number 5. For instance, I collect blue Ball mason jars but to keep from buying every single one I see I set boundaries/rules: they have to have an intact tin or glass lid and be under $3 for small one, under $10 for the large. Rare shaped and sized ones I fudge a bit on price. Another good rule for collections is to place a restrictive number on the collection, like 10 decorative plates and if you find and fall in love with number 11 you have to get rid of one at home. This helps keep things in check.