Do you look at things and see not what they are but what they can become? Do you get a thrill out of digging through a box of junk to find that one treasure? Or, do you just love that little thrill that comes from saving tons of money? I love all of these things and I am always ready and willing to go through each and every aisle, box, and bin. But what if you don’t enjoy that? Do you just lose out on all of the amazing savings? Absolutely not! There are alternative options to consider outside of the “traditional thrift store” that will allow you to peruse neatly shelved items that are easy to find for thrifting gifts.Stretch your holiday budget by thrifting your gifts (it's not just dusty old stores, anymore). Click To Tweet
Why You Should Thrift Your Holiday
If you are on the fence about shopping at thrift stores to obtain your holiday gifts let me tell you some reasons why you should consider thrifting. First and foremost, it saves you money and a lot of it. You can save over 90% off of the retail price of items and you never know what you might find. Just because it is at a thrift store doesn’t mean it isn’t a newer product.
Helping Those in Need
Another reason to thrift your holiday gifts is because when you buy from places like Goodwill and the Habitat for Humanity Restore, you are helping those in need. Thrifting is a great way to be charitable when you don’t have the money to donate cash. You can also teach your kids the importance of giving back simply by sharing your reason for thrifting with them. Teach them that you can be charitable even when it doesn’t seem like you have much to spare.
Bonus: Take it one step further and have everyone in your home fill a box with unwanted or unused items and done those before you shop. This not only helps the foundation but also helps you clear some clutter out before the holidays.
Good for the Earth
Thrifting also means you are producing less waste. Instead of going out and buying new items you are giving a home to items that are no longer of use to someone else. This saves extra packaging from landing in your trash and subsequently, a landfill. With all of these awesome benefits, why wouldn’t you want to thrift?
I speak from personal experience when I say make sure it is a thrift shop you are walking into. My mom and I once stopped by this awesome little thrift shop we had found the previous year while shopping in the surrounding area. As we are walking around looking at items (and searching for prices) a man comes up and asks us if we need any help. We tell him we are just looking but were wondering where the prices were. As it turns out, the building was no longer a thrift store! It had become the private property of an online auction house and we were just walking around picking up their items like, no big deal. Thankfully, the man was very nice (as he discreetly ushered us towards the door) but we were of course mortified. Moral of the story is that these things can totally happen and if you’re not sure, don’t assume anything.
Where to Thrift
When deciding where to thrift, don’t limit yourself to traditional stores. There are also used stores that offer quality items at fantastic prices. Two of my (nationwide) favorites are Half Price Books and GameStop.
- Half Price Books – In addition to amazing deals on books, they also carry stationary, gift sets, video games, vinyl albums… the list goes on and on. This is a great place to check out to know a lot of gifts off you list in one stop.
- GameStop – These stores also sell video games and consoles, however, they sell other items too. You can find collector items, storage solutions, and sometimes even tablets. My favorite thing is that they offer a warranty on their refurbished items which is a huge plus anytime you are buying something previously owned.
Another great perk for both of these chains is that they also sell products online. If you are a shop-from-your-couch-in-pajamas kind of person, you can still score amazing deals buying pre-owned.
If you would like a list of nation-wide thrift/used stores, subscribe to our 31 Days of Saving on Holiday Gifts newsletter. You will receive a free printable download. Each major gift category (games, jewelry, sporting goods, etcetera) is proceeded by a list of stores that are best-suited for the item you are looking for, all in an easy-to-read table format. You also receive access to all of the other exclusive printables and tutorials free to subscribers!**Update** All freebies from this 31 Days List have been moved to the VIP Library for subscribers. Sign up for free here!
Another option when thrifting is to look at Craigslist and Facebook buy/sell groups. While not technically thrifting, I suppose, you can still find great deals on the items you’re looking for. When choosing these avenues, keep the following tips in mind:
- You can use the term “ISO” (In Search Of) in your posts to let people know specific items you are looking for.
- Always be safe when meeting up with people you don’t know. Choose a public place during the day and try to bring a friend or family member along with you.
- Never pay for an item before you have seen it in person. Also, use cash to protect your banking information. Anytime you hand over a personal check to anyone, it is important to remember that you are essentially handing them all of the information needed for some to make purchases from your account in this digital age. Don’t give a personal check to anyone you wouldn’t want to give your home address, bank routing number, and account number to under normal circumstances.
Tips and Tricks
- With clothing and décor especially, try to see the potential in the item. Is there a way that some paint or sewing might make the item shine? Thrifting items to refurbish or make them over is a great semi-handmade DIY to create unique gifts for your friends and family.
- When buying open board games, check to be sure all of the pieces and the instructions are included.
- Also check the discs inside of movie and music cases to ensure they match what is listed on the cover.
- If you are purchasing any small electronic, like a DVD player or game console, check that all of the cords you need are included. If not, do some research to see if you can find inexpensive replacements for them before you buy.
- Never trust the store labels for sizes on apparel. There is often so much stock that mistakes are bound to happen. Get in the habit of always checking the actual shoe and clothing labels to verify the size.
As you can see, thrifting is a fantastic option is you need to buy most of your holiday gifts but you are on a tight budget. In addition to all of the national thrift stores, also look for stores specific to your areas. And don’t forget that many times when thrifting you can find brand new items still in their packaging. Now that you know these ideas and tips, start thinking about what thrift gifts you want to find this season
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