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Save Money and Make Money Shopping at Thrift Stores

Updated on July 21, 2017
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She happily lives in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.

The Thrill of Thrift Store Shopping

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Perhaps the reason my mom is so thrifty is that she was brought up in New England and was always proud to be a "frugal Yankee." I am so thankful she was, though, because she taught me so much about saving money. She clipped coupons, sent for refunds, shopped sales, visited yard sales and thrift stores and watched her pennies in every area. And I was her star pupil!

I became so good at saving money that I taught classes to the community on how to save money with coupons. When my children were little, I shopped at yard sales every Saturday, and when I ran a home daycare, I bought tons of equipment at yard sales and thrift stores for great prices.

And when Goodwill came to town I was a regular shopper there. Two years ago I moved to Georgia and discovered the amazing thrift stores here in the South and am even more hooked for life. Not only does shopping at thrift stores save money, but it can bring a lot of enjoyment as well save money. And I have turned my passion for shopping at thrift stores into a business by selling my treasures on eBay.

I will share many of the items I have found in thrift stores not only for my home but personal items such as clothing, shoes, and accessories I have found. Aside from saving money, part of the attraction for shopping in thrift stores is the thrill of the hunt and then finding a treasure that you never thought you would find in a thrift store.

The first and largest two groups of items I will share with you is clothing for women and men because I do best in those areas for myself and to sell on eBay. The prices I can purchase the items for are amazing and I think you will agree once you see what I have found over the past few years.

Here are a few of the women's items I have purchased at thrift stores and Goodwill in Georgia:

Clothing Treasures for Her

Jones of New York women's purple rain coat. This was at Goodwill, new with original tags still on it, the original price was $179.95. Price at Goodwill was $13.96 and on a discount day I paid $10.48!
Jones of New York women's purple rain coat. This was at Goodwill, new with original tags still on it, the original price was $179.95. Price at Goodwill was $13.96 and on a discount day I paid $10.48! | Source

Irish Cape Made in Ireland

Branigan Weavers Cape, Made in Ireland. Goodwill price was $13.96 and bought on a discount day for $10.48. This cape would run anywhere from $160 to $300 if purchased in Ireland.
Branigan Weavers Cape, Made in Ireland. Goodwill price was $13.96 and bought on a discount day for $10.48. This cape would run anywhere from $160 to $300 if purchased in Ireland. | Source

Pendelton Plaid Skirt

Pendleton pleated wool skirt purchased at a local thrift store for $2.00.
Pendleton pleated wool skirt purchased at a local thrift store for $2.00. | Source

From sweaters to dresses to jeans and jackets, there are plenty of wonderful items for sale at reasonable prices in the area of women's clothing. I was never one to purchase brand name clothing before shopping at thrift stores. I thought it was a waste of money to pay exorbitant prices for clothing just because it had a certain label. But now that I have gotten the knack of it, I have found a lot of beautiful brand name clothing at just a fraction of the price I would have had to pay had I purchased it brand new. Even my husband has commented on what nice clothes I am bringing home from the thrift stores now. Below are some more examples of items I have found both for myself and to sell on eBay.

LL Bean Sweater

LL Bean sweater purchased at Goodwill for $5.96 and with the discount it was 4.47.
LL Bean sweater purchased at Goodwill for $5.96 and with the discount it was 4.47. | Source

CAbi Sweater

CAbi sweater bought at a local thrift store for $2.00.
CAbi sweater bought at a local thrift store for $2.00. | Source

Orvis Linen Dress

Orvis linen dress bought at a local thrift store for $4.00.
Orvis linen dress bought at a local thrift store for $4.00. | Source

Vigo Barefoot Shoes

Vigo Barefoot brand new shoes with tags. At Goodwill for $5.96 but with a discount I bought these for $4.24.
Vigo Barefoot brand new shoes with tags. At Goodwill for $5.96 but with a discount I bought these for $4.24. | Source

Clothing Treasures for Him

Men's Ralph Lauren shirt bought for $1.75 at a local thrift store.
Men's Ralph Lauren shirt bought for $1.75 at a local thrift store. | Source

My husband is not the type to wear clothing from thrift stores, but my grown son is fine with it, especially if I can find him some Carhartt shirts which is one of his favorite brands. I sell most of the men's clothing, shoes, belts, and ties that I find. Below are a few examples of those.

Eddie Bauer Shirt

Eddie Bauer shirt brand new with tags ( $55.00 original price) and I paid $5.49 at Goodwill.
Eddie Bauer shirt brand new with tags ( $55.00 original price) and I paid $5.49 at Goodwill. | Source

LL Bean Jacket

LL Bean fleece jacket was $2.00 at a local thrift store.
LL Bean fleece jacket was $2.00 at a local thrift store. | Source

Allen Edmonds Shoes

Allen Edmonds men's shoes  at Goodwill for $5.96 but with the day's discount I got them for $4.24.
Allen Edmonds men's shoes at Goodwill for $5.96 but with the day's discount I got them for $4.24. | Source

Stetson Hat

Stetson cowboy hat bought at a local thrift store for 25 cents!
Stetson cowboy hat bought at a local thrift store for 25 cents! | Source

Clothing for Kids

My children are grown, and I don't have any grandchildren yet, but I do know a few young women with children and will often pick up items for their kids if the price is right. Here are some examples of what I have found.

Christmas sweater was $2.92 at Goodwill.
Christmas sweater was $2.92 at Goodwill. | Source
Girls tap shoes bought at a local thrift store for $1.50.
Girls tap shoes bought at a local thrift store for $1.50. | Source
Little girl's black velvet & taffeta dress was $2.92 at Goodwill.
Little girl's black velvet & taffeta dress was $2.92 at Goodwill. | Source

Arts and Crafts Supplies

If you enjoy crafting, you will want to watch for craft supplies at thrift stores. You will have to do some searching because many of these items are small and are hidden under piles of other items but it's worth the time to go through them to find items that would cost much more in thrift stores. I don't purchase craft supplies for children because as I said, I don't have any children, but I often find kids crafting kids.

I am a scrap book enthusiast, and I am always amazed at the items I find for scrap booking. I also find stamps for people who make cards, and I sell those on eBay. Below are a few of these crafting items that I have found in my searches.

Debbie Hron Scrapbook

New scrapbook with plastic still on it was $2.92 and with the 25% discount I paid $2.17.
New scrapbook with plastic still on it was $2.92 and with the 25% discount I paid $2.17. | Source

Stampin' Up

Brand new Stampin' Up set of stamps for card making and scrap books was $3.96 at Goodwill.
Brand new Stampin' Up set of stamps for card making and scrap books was $3.96 at Goodwill. | Source

Items for the Home

From furniture to bedding to dishes and holiday decorations, items for the home are probably the best buys at thrift stores. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of furniture from thrift stores because I haven't needed any, but I am sharing items below that I have bought for my home and to sell on eBay. If you have bought any furniture at thrift stores, please feel free to leave your deals on furniture in the comments below.

Wallpaper border for 25 cents per roll in a local thrift store.
Wallpaper border for 25 cents per roll in a local thrift store. | Source

Dept. 56 Church

Dept. 56 Christmas church bought for 50 cents at a local thrift store.
Dept. 56 Christmas church bought for 50 cents at a local thrift store. | Source

Books

If you are a book lover, you owe it to yourself and your pocketbook to check out thrift stores for good prices on books. One of the stores I go to sells all children's books and adult paperback books for 25 cents each and 50 cents each for adult hardcover books. At all of the Goodwill stores in my area, books run from 77 cents to $1.77 regular price, and if you happen to go to the thrift store in a senior day, student discount day or service person's discount can reduce the regular price by 25%.

American Girl Books

These American Girl books sold for 25 cents each at a local thrift store.
These American Girl books sold for 25 cents each at a local thrift store. | Source

Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks

These Gooseberry Patch Christmas books sold for $1.77 each but with a discount it became $1.43,
These Gooseberry Patch Christmas books sold for $1.77 each but with a discount it became $1.43, | Source

Elf on the Shelf Books

The Elf on the Shelf hardcover book ($1.77) and the paperback workbook (77 cents) but 25% discount.
The Elf on the Shelf hardcover book ($1.77) and the paperback workbook (77 cents) but 25% discount. | Source

One of my favorite activities to do in life is to shop in thrift stores. It's so much fun, and when I am all done and get my treasures home, I always look forward to the next trip. If you have found some treasures at thrift stores, please leave a comment below. I love to hear about other people's deals as well.

Whether you shop at thrift stores to save money on items for your family, or to resell on eBay, there are plenty of treasures to be had. I have even started a blog about how I find items at thrift stores and resell them on eBay because I am so excited about the many beautiful items I have found and resold. If I see something by Pendleton, Orvis, Woolrich, and a few other high-end companies, I just can't leave it behind. And my customers always seem happy with what they buy from me on eBay. I am not allowed to add links to this article, but to check out my blog, you can find it on blogger under the title of Thrift Shopping for eBay.

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    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 months ago from Oakley, CA

      Normally, I don't shop at thrift stores. Our budget is SO tight, that we really can't afford any extra shopping at all. That said, there were two times when I bought something from a thrift shop.

      The first time, my husband had had a surgery and could not raise his arms overhead, so he needed some button-front shirts. He hates those--is a t-shirt guy, so I wasn't going to go to a regular clothing store and spend big bucks for something he'd only get use from for a couple of months.

      The second time, we'd been invited to an "ugly Christmas sweater" party, and we had no such garments. I found a sweater for myself, but not for my husband. However, I did find a plain knit long-sleeved thermal shirt, onto which I was able to sew a number of oddball holiday-themed items, turning into an 'ugly sweater' of sorts. ;-)

      As for buying and re-selling on ebay, I can't even unload the things around the house I need to clear out (so I don't need to be out acquiring more!). I have had 3 sales of small items in the last 3 months...all my other listings went unsold, and again unsold after relisting. It's very frustrating for me.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 7 months ago from England

      I love shopping, specially the charity shops. In fact I did a great deal two days ago! I bought a lovely blue check coat with hood for 3 pounds! approx. 4 dollars!so yes its so lovely to be able to get good stuff only cheap!

    • Karen Hellier profile image
      Author

      Karen Hellier 9 months ago from Georgia

      Thanks teaches12345 ...and the deals keep coming. And of course I am hooked! I will be adding some more deals to this article over the coming months. Thanks for the comment.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 9 months ago

      I do love shopping at thrift stores. I have found some wonderful items over the years worth much more than the price paid. You found some really good deals.