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TWT: Not All Thrift Shops are Equal

helping each other be good stewards of all our resources: money, possessions, time, energy, and health

We used to shop at the big name thrift shops.  Because they are getting quite expensive, we usually went on half price day, but even that is now almost as expensive as a good sale at a regular store.

Every so often, though, I’d read about Tina’s amazing thrift shop finds.  “How does she do it?” I’d wonder. 

Now we, too, can do it.  As I mentioned in last week’s Tightwad Tuesday post, we bought a judo outfit for 35 cents.  I also got many other items of clothing for 35 cents each.  In fact, we got a huge bag full of clothing for $15! 

When we drove by that shop on Saturday, a sign announced that the price of such a huge bag full of clothing had dropped to $10, and suddenly I realized something:   This is a small independent thrift shop.  It can set its own prices and make its own rules.  It isn’t part of one of the big chains.  And that makes all the difference. 

From now on I’ll be looking for independent thrift shops and independent second hand book dealers.  Besides the potential savings, I’m also much happier supporting little, local enterprises instead of huge ones. 

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This post is linked to Tuesday’s Tip JarWorks for Me Wednesday, Coupon Teacher’s Thrifty Thursday, and Frugal Friday.


  1. Stacy says:

    First, please excuse any typos. I am not wearing my glasses because I’m coloring my hair this morning. Needless to say, my screen is VERY blurry!

    You are so right about the thrift stores. Our goodwill store moved to the same parking lot where Walmart is. Since our city is #3 in the nation for fastest-dying cities in America, everyone is cutting back, looking for good deals. Goodwill has RAISED their prices during all the economic slump because they know people are going to try them first, just trying to save some $. I can buy scrub tops/pants there for $4. If I go to the locally owned, upscale resale shop, I can often find scrubs for $2-$4, and they are nicer in quality too. Their standards for clothing is much higher than goodwill’s. They do charge more for things like jeans, etc, but the jeans are often nicer, brand name clothing too.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Wow! I can’t imagine a thrift store raising prices when people are in need!

      I’m glad you can find what you need at locally-owned shop. That way you’re helping the local economy too

      Annie Kate

  2. Great point and although I’ve not found many locally owned shops around here, I continue to seek them.

  3. GroovieMom says:

    In my opinion church run thrift stores like St. Vincent de Paul have much better prices than the “chain” stores. My mom cracked up when I told her I didn’t like shopping at Goodwill anymore b/c their prices were so high. I found some great deals at one of our local independent church-run shops the other day. You can read about them here if you’d like: http://grooviemom.blogspot.com/2010/08/thrift.html

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Church-run thrift stores are a great place to shop, and to donate. We also go to a thrift shop that supports kids’ athletics and another one that supports a women’s shelter.

      Annie Kate

  4. Jenn 4 Him says:

    You know, I really need to find an independent store around here. We do have several big name ones right around, so it is tempting to think that is the best I can do. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. blestmom says:

    That is true here too, I have found Goodwill’s prices to be too high. But a new thrift store has just opened up, run by a church, so I will be checking them out…I think their prices will be better.


  6. I need you to come to my town and find me a great shop! I love your tips!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      The way I find these shops is to talk to other frugal people. It also helps to drive around in different parts of your city or town. Towns have the best thrift shops, because the big thrift store businesses won’t go to low-population areas.

      Annie Kate

  7. Lori says:

    Hi Annie Kate! I had no idea about the price thing w/Goodwill; I’ve just started going to Goodwill (got a lovely skirt for $4, I was ecstatic!), but we do havfe a church-based resale shop nearby that I’ve never been to, so I’ll have to visit it.

    I’m so glad you got the transcripts done! I think we freak ourselves out over them way too much. The transcript is the easy-part, it’s the portfolio that has all the blood, sweat, and tears in it, LOL! Glad I could help, dearest!


  8. angi says:

    my mom owns a shop like this and her goal while it is still to make a bit of money is to keep her customers coming back and so she does everything she can to meet both goals

  9. jessica says:

    Our church operates a thrift store and the proceeds all go to missions. They regularly have sales too. My husband is the pastor ,so they have blessed me with a key to the store. I like to go without my girls, especially when no other shoppers are there. You may find out if local run thrift stores would allow you to donate your time in exchange for a discount/first dibs on items. Many are always looking for volunteers, well, ours is anyway!

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