8 Ways to Find Great Thrift Store Deals

Do you love a deal? Use these 8 tips from Domestic CEO to find what you are looking for - and score some killer steal - at second hand stores.

Amanda Thomas
6-minute read
Episode #149

Window Shop Frequently

The key to finding steals at second hand and thrift stores is to visit them frequently. Most of the inventory in thrift stores turns over quickly, so you may only have a window of a few days to find your dream items.

By popping in on a regular basis - say, a couple times a month - you are greatly increasing your chances of finding one of the items on your list. Remember that great items will get swooped up quickly, so timing is everything in finding deals.

Be Ready to Commit

Because great deals get swooped up fast, if you walk in and spot just the item you’re looking for, buy it immediately. If you don’t have the right car to transport an item to your home, most thrift stores will hold items for 24-48 hours, so you can make arrangements (or convince a friend to help you haul.)

So if you are keeping your list updated and spot one of your "must-have" items in the store, be ready to put your money down and secure a great find for your own.

Divide and Conquer

You can’t possibly make it to all the thrift stores in your area, but if you have friends who also frequent stores on their side of town, you can benefit from their shopping trips.

Recently, one of my friends told me she was looking for 2 more wooden dining chairs for her kitchen table. She’d already found and repainted a couple, but needed another 2 to complete her set. She gave me a general idea of what she was looking for, and about a week later, I found these 2 adorable chairs on my side of town. I sent her a picture via text, told her the price of $6 per chair, and within minutes, I had a text saying, “BUY THEM!!!”

Share your list of desired items among your thrift store shopping friends, and you’ll increase the odds of everyone getting things crossed off their lists.

Go Before Sale Days, Not After

Most thrift stores have sale days, when they try to clear out their inventory to be able to move new items into the store. Goodwill offers 50% off every other Saturday, which is a great way to find even better deals. But what I like to do is visit the stores the Thursday or Friday before the sale days, and take pictures or notes of the items I see that match my list.

Then, I get to the store first thing on Saturday morning and purchase any that are still there. If you follow this advice, remember that you are taking a chance that someone else will purchase the items before you get back to the store - so evaluate if saving a few bucks is more important than securing the purchase. If having the item is more important to you, buck up the extra bucks and take it home the day you see it.