$5/bag thrift store special
When is the best time to shop thrift stores? Anytime is a good time to drop in a thrift store. They will likely carry Christmas decorations in July, and bathing suits in December. However, if you want to maximize savings there are some timing pointers you could consider.
- Shopping for seasonal clothing at the end of a season will often provide the best selection and price. As closets are cleaned out to prepare for a new season there is a large increase in donations at the same time the store wants to make space for items for the upcoming season. When these two events collide you are likely to find the best savings.
- The same principle applies to holiday decorations.
- Find out when the store stocks it's new offerings or processes new donations. One store in my area hires several additional workers for Tuesday and Wednesday to push new stock to the floor for the weekends. I try to shop on Thursday when stock is fresh and not yet picked over.
- Shop when you have extra time to spend. Thrift stores aren't great for in-and-out shopping. It takes a little longer to find the treasures in a thrift store. However, the big box stores can suck you in for a shopping experience that takes just as long. So, don't assume there's a bigger time commitment to shopping thrift stores.
- Shop during yard sale season in your area. During these times donations increase as yard sale leftovers are boxed up, and many people choose yard sales over thrift stores leaving a lot of great deals to be found in the air-conditioned store.
- Shop any time thrift stores offer specials. One store in our area has a $5/bag sale at the end of each season. (I've posted the picture above before, but it's still a sweet reminder of what is possible.) Another store marks down items that didn't sell during the month at the beginning of the new month. I try to shop that store the first week of the month.
There is no rule that applies to all thrift store shopping, but some of these suggestions could help you maximize savings and increase the chances you'll snag the best finds.