What to Look for When Shopping at Thrift Stores

What to Look for When Shopping at Thrift Stores

Posted on Apr 23 2024 Posted in  Fashion, Home Improvement, Money-Saving Tips
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Three women at a thrift store, one examining a denim dress

In light of climate change and worldwide inflation, thrift stores have become a haven for people looking to cut back on costs—and their carbon footprint.

Whether you’re a thrifting “veteran” or new to the hunt, TopCashback’s consumer expert Samantha Landau offers her advice on how to successfully second-hand shop:


Keep an open mind. If you go into a thrift store looking for something specific, you are limiting yourself from finding another piece that could really catch your eye. Only go in with a budget and an idea of what you need. Stay open-minded and be patient when thrifting.

Try on clothes if possible. Many thrift stores do not have a return policy and offer no refunds or exchanges.

To ensure your purchase doesn’t end up back in the donation pile, try on items before checking out, if possible, to confirm sizing and envision how you'll wear the clothing. This also gives you extra time to examine the quality of the items and make sure there aren’t any noticeable tears or stains.

Pro-tip #1: When examining clothing items, make sure to look at the tags and fine print. Look for durable materials, like cotton or wool, as they will provide the most value if you’re looking for long-lasting fashion at a significant discount.

Look for additional savings. Many thrift stores have rewards programs to help you gain additional savings on your purchases. Also, some thrift stores have daily sales depending on the color of the item’s tag, guaranteeing even more savings on those items.

Only go in with a budget and an idea of what you need.

Thrift and sell online. Online thrift stores, such as eBay, Poshmark and Depop, are great options to find what you’re looking for from home. And if you need some extra cash, you can use these tools to get rid of extra items lying around in your home.  

Pro-tip #2: If you see something that looks valuable at a thrift store, research the item on a resale platform before purchasing. If the item is selling for more than the thrift store’s price tag, you can potentially try to “flip” the item by selling it for more money online to make a profit.

Try local thrifting. Many local thrift stores run by churches or charities are often overlooked. However, there are many hidden gems to be found at these stores, from clothing to furniture, for a heavy discount. Plus, the money you spend will be given back to your local community, depending on the program.

What do you look forward to the most when it comes to thrift shopping? Tell us in the comments below.

Related Posts: A 3-Step Guide to Saving Money on Clothes

Photograph of the blog author, Diana Baratta.

by Diana Baratta

Diana Baratta is the senior copywriter at TopCashback.com. After beginning her copywriting career at a paper company, where she harnessed her creative chops writing about…paper, this self-described “bargain shopper” has felt at home talking about our many stores, deals and money-saving tips the last few years.

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