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  • Writer's pictureTabitha Shakespeare

10 Hacks For Discount Shopping

Updated: May 7, 2019

If you've followed me for any length of time you know how I feel about snagging a good deal. My momma taught me how to thrift and as I've gotten older I've honed my craft. I like to think it's my superpower.

One of my most asked questions is how I'm always able to find the gems. So I've thought about it long and hard and come up with 10 tips to score big at discount shops, whether its Marshalls or TJ Maxx, upscale or online consignment shops or straight up Goodwill!

Vintage Blazer: Goodwill, Vintage Gucci Bag, Zara Sandals, AG Jeans, & Everlane Tee : ThredUp

10 Hacks For Discount Shopping:

1. Scope Out The Good Spots

There are gems and duds in every category and there is more out there than just Goodwill. Thrift and discount stores come in all shapes and sizes and shop owners all have different taste so find one that suits you and your price point. Whenever we are traveling my favorite thing is to type "thrift shop" into Apple maps and see what pops up. Usually I get about ten hits but out of those only one or two are going to be worth my time. The cool thing about Apple Maps is that they have Yelp attached to it so I can scan through the reviews and pick out the ones that are most promising. It might take a bit of legwork in the beginning to find your favorite but it's 100% worth it in the long run!

In Denver my favorite shops are Common Threads and Second Love.

The TJ Maxx/Homegoods & Marshalls in near Southglenn are also typically good ones and don't forget about online secondhand stores like ThredUP!

2. Go Often

Once you find a shop you love it's a good idea to check in regularly. Consignment shops are constantly getting new inventory so I like to pop in about once a week to check out their new stuff. This keeps me from having to spend hours digging through all of the clothes because I've already seen most of them and it helps me catch the really great stuff because the amazing deals don't last long.

3. Go Early

I always avoid afternoons and weekends. Shops get busy and crowded and there's nothing worse than trying to search through a rack with people also searching through the same rack RIGHT next to you. Ugh. Go on a Tuesday at 10am. The store will be clean and organized, you'll be the only one in the store and you can shop to your heart's content, and the dressing rooms won't have a line so you can take your time in there! This makes it a pleasant experience rather than a stressful one. This is especially true for the discount stores. The lines can get crazy on the weekends so avoid them at all cost!

4. Scan for Brand New Items

When I walk into a resale shop the first thing I do is skim through the racks looking for items that still have the tags on them. Those are going to be your best value and sometimes you get lucky!

5. Search for Brands you Love

When I'm in discount shopping, I almost never buy items from stores like Forever 21 or Target. If I can get the item new for a few extra dollars then it's not worth my time. Look for items that are normally out of your price range. Some of my faves that I find pretty often are AG Jeans, Free People, and Madewell. Be picky! You will find something worth your while if you're patient! I also keep an eye out for Designer Items like this vintage Gucci bag I got on ThredUp for a steal!

6. Be Prepared to Leave Empty Handed

Not every trip is a success. Sometimes you leave without buying anything and that's ok (those are my husband's favorite trips). Because I stop in regularly it's going to be hit or miss and I don't ever buy something unless I absolutely love it. If it doesn't fit perfectly, I don't buy it. If it has a stain that I don't think I can get out, I don't buy it. If it's more expensive than I feel like it should be, I don't buy it. Save your money for the things that speak to you because there will always be new stuff the next time you go in.

7. Know When Not to be Thrifty

Discount Shopping is way more fun when there isn't any pressure. If I go in looking for a specific item I almost never find it. I end up going from store to store and by the end of the day I get home exhausted and not having found what I need. If I need to get a pair of nude pumps for an outfit post I'm putting together and there is a timeline then I won't go out and dig for them. I may stop by DSW or Nordstrom Rack to see if they have them but for the most part I will just try to find them at the best price I can online or hit up my ol' pal Nordstrom.

8. Avoid Duplicates

When I'm in Nordstrom Rack or Marshalls I avoid items that come in multiples. Chances are they didn't sell well in the department stores for a reason. I go for the Lone Ranger. The items that slipped through the cracks of the system. THOSE are going to be your gems.

9. Keep an Open Mind.

I like to say this about all shopping but it especially applies to stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army. There are always going to be some really cool pieces that don't seem like much at first glance. Think about adding a funky belt to that vintage dress, or wearing that XXL sweater with leggings and boots. Try things on that you normally wouldn't. Get creative!

10. Know where to shop for what.

It's important to keep in mind that different discount stores serve different purposes. It's rare that I score brand new name brand items at Goodwill (not impossible but unlikely) and if I'm looking for something dirt cheap and funky I'm probably not going to find it at an upscale consignment shop. Every store has their place.

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