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Friday, February 28, 2014

10 Tips To Save Money Shopping Resale Shops

Look at what I found today at my local Home of the Sparrow resale shop! I couldn't believe my eyes when I came across these two Kitchen Aid 5 ply, copper base, stainless steel fry pans and Le Crueset enameled  cast iron pan.  And the best part, I paid $12 for ALL of them!

The two fry pans had some discoloration which quickly disappeared with a few sprays of white vinegar and a good rinse with warm water. The cast iron pan had a teeny tiny spot of light rust and was in need of a good seasoning.  I simply poured a couple of tablespoons regular olive oil into it, sprinkled in a bit of kosher salt, and scrubbed with a small brush until the rust disappeared.  It took me all of two minutes!  Then, I popped it into the oven at 450 degrees for 5 minutes. Voila! Good as new!

While I was there, I also picked up a few nice name brand pieces of clothing, some cute jewelry, and some linens to use in my craft projects.

Something most people don't know about me is 90% of my clothing and accessories come from resale shops.  I have learned how to maneuver through secondhand stores like a ninja.  I stealthily move throughout the store, scooping up bargains as I go.

I have saved a ton of money shopping at resale shops.  I've bought everything from furniture to silverware.  And, you can too.  I'm going to give you ten of my best tips for shopping resale.

1.  Some of the best times to shop resale are right before and after a change in season.  Right before a season change, most shops will have sales to get rid of merchandise.  After the season change, more new donations arrive once people purge their homes of items they no longer need or want.

2. Visit your favorite shops often.  Strike up conversations with the volunteers.  They will get to know you, your likes, and your shopping schedule.  Many times, they will put goodies aside for you, they feel you might like.  I have a couple of wonderful ladies who call me when they get items that "look like me".

3. Only buy clothing and shoes in your size.  Unless you're an avid seamstress, you're never going to have time to alter them.  And, trust me, even if they're gorgeous and cheap, you are not going to wear shoes that are the wrong size.

4.  Have a budget set before you enter. And, stick to it!  If you walk in without a budget in mind, you may get caught up in bargain fever.  Next thing you know, you're scooping up things you don't need.

5. Have a purpose for being there.  For example, today I went looking for cookware and shirts. Of course, the linens I purchased were not on my list.  But, because they were only $1 each, they fit within my budget.

6. Don't waste time in departments with items you don't need.  If you don't need furniture, for example, don't even look there.  It's better to miss out on a deal, than stare at a piece of furniture you have no time to refinish and no room for in your home.

7. Inspect every item you're interested in buying for defects. In clothing, look for holes, stains, ripped seams, and falling hems.  If a blouse has armpit stains, do not buy it.  They are impossible to remove.  And, you cannot dye over them.  In other items, look for stains, chips, obvious repairs, holes, and missing pieces.  Don't purchase anything you're not willing to live with or repair.  I knew when I purchased those pans today, I could easily fix them.

8. Buy well-known brands.  Now, sometimes, I will purchase brands I've never heard of if it's non-consequential items such as linens or jewelry.  These items are inspected to a higher degree by me.  I make sure the materials or not cheap and the construction is not shoddy.

9. Determine how much an item is worth to you.  If a shirt is priced at $8, but is 50% off!, determine if it's worth $4, to you.  This very thing happened to me today.  I saw a brand name blouse, on sale for $4.  Since it was a winter blouse, in a winter color, I determined that $4 was too much to pay for a blouse I would only get a month's worth of wear out of.  Be willing to step away from a deal if it's more than what it's worth to you.

10.  If your shop offers a frequent shopper card, get it.  And, be sure to get it stamped every time you shop.  Most shops offer these cards.  Once you get to a certain amount spent, you get rewarded with a discount. Some shops offer as much as a $10 gift certificate.  That's a pretty nice savings from a resale shop.

Hopefully, these tips help you to save some money.  As you can see, you can get some really nice goodies!

If you've never shopped resale before, give it a try.  I used to spend tons of money on clothes that were out of style by the next year.  If you're worried about germs or cooties, just be certain to wash everything you bring home before you wear or use it.  Typically, I have a rule about dry clean only items.  I don't buy them unless they are impeccable.  Then, I have them cleaned through a green cleaner. I figure in the cost of cleaning into the price I pay for the item.  That determines if the total price of the item is worth it to me.

Enjoy shopping frugally!  If you find some cool treasures, please share in comments. I love hearing about great bargains!

Goodnight and God bless.

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