A Simple Guide to Shopping Online Thrift Stores

May 7th 2016

The world we live in today is not a budget-friendly one. The cost of everyday living is going up each day, and for the everyday person, buying the essentials can leave you with little money to stretch for additional items you want, such as clothing, toys and household goods. Even regular retail store sales can look pricey at times. While current costs can feel like a problem, the good news is that a solution is available -- using online thrift stores for many of your purchases. Much like the storefront thrift, online thrift stores offer a wide variety of items for a price that is much lower than those found in stores. Often, these items are gently used but of high-quality, allowing you to purchase what you need for a price that fits the bill.

What to Buy from Online Thrift Stores

While online thrift stores offer you a great alternative to paying full cost for the items you need, there are items that you should grab before the next person comes along, and others that you should avoid at all costs. Recognizing a good buy, and knowing what to avoid, will help you invest wisely.

Things to Buy

Some items make for a better buy simply because the quality of these items hardly diminishes over time, and you will get just as much use out of the items as you would when buying them at full price. Some items that are considered a top buy include: wool sweaters and other items made from wool material, coffee mugs, ceramic dishes, cookbooks, baby clothing, maternity clothing and old clothing used for activities such as off-roading. When you see these items available, don’t pass them up because they’ll be purchased by other shoppers who know the items value.

Things to Avoid

The previously mentioned items make a great buy when you're looking to save, but there are certain items that should be avoided. Items such as; baking pans, rain coats, children's books and silverware, are not made to last. When purchased from an online thrift shop, you won't get much use out of them. In additional, some metal items can pose a health risk, as they rust and break down overtime. 

How to Find the Best Bargain

Learn the schedule: Not many people realize that you can save more on great items by becoming familiar with the shops inventory schedule. The best items go first, so knowing which day the items are posted will ensure that you get first dibs on the best items. The first day items are posted on the shops website is the best time to find the best bargain. When you use the first come strategy, you won't believe some of the amazing items you can find for just a fraction of the cost.

Look for double clearance items: Although these shops already offer low-priced items, some items are offered for an even lower price when they've been in the store for a while without selling. The items can be marked down two or three times- making them available to you for less than a dollar at times. 

Read the item details thoroughly: When making a purchase, you want to choose items that are of good quality. The descriptions offer information on the item's quality, ensuring that you choose items that will last long enough for your needs. Some items you will find are like new, and you can find this information in the description, or email the seller for more details.  

How to Buy Items from an Online Thrift Shop

When you decide to buy from an online thrift shop, there are certain steps you should take to ensure the best buying experience. The first and most important step toward saving money when buying online is to set a budget. While you can save a lot of money when buying from these shops, there are so many great deals that you could end up spending more than you planned on. By setting a budget and sticking with it, you’ll save money and only purchase what you actually need. Also, you need to become familiar with the thrift shop and how their buying process works. Some shops allow you to purchase the items upfront, while others use a bidding process. When bidding, others interested in buying can offer a higher price until the final bid is chosen. It’s important that you decide on a budget for the item you’re bidding on and check back often to see where you stand. The last thing you want to check out is the shop's return policy. While most shops offer thorough descriptions on all items they sell, some will offer you with the option of returning the items, while others have a no return policy. By becoming familiar with the return policy set in place for the shop you’re using, you’ll know what options you have if you purchase an item and are not satisfied. 

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