When to thrift

By Guest Blogger Sally McGraw
Wait. Isn’t ANYTIME a good time to go thrift-shopping? Well, yes, especially in this world of fast-fashion and consumer waste. Thrifting will always be a better choice – both for the earth and for your pocketbook – than buying something new. But there are also plenty of timing-related factors to consider if you want to get the best of the pre-loved goodies at the best possible prices.

Toward the beginning of the season

Even if you’re a bargain-hunter extraordinaire who waits until garments have been marked down at least three times before pouncing, consider thrifting at the beginning of the season instead of the end. Thrift store items are so much cheaper than retail, even at “full price,” and if you thrift when the season is just beginning you’ll get first pick of new offerings. Waiting for markdowns will mean better bargains, but as the season begins to peter out, so do the seasonally appropriate offerings. Get shopping while the getting’s good.

On the day the floor gets restocked

Of course, thrift stores are generally in a constant state of receiving, processing, marking, and selling donated goods. So do seasonal shifts really matter? Well, yes, because donations generally follow seasonal shifts and if you want to thrift a winter coat right now you might be out of luck. But if you’re just looking for good stuff and seasonality isn’t top priority, shop on restock day. The most recent batch of donations will hit the sales floor, and you can cherry-pick to your heart’s content.

On holidays and sale days

In the Twin Cities, virtually all federal and national holidays mean 50% off at the major thrift stores. In addition, most stores will do 50% off a certain color price tag once per week. When you’re headed to Goodwill, keep their sale days in mind: On Wednesdays, seniors over the age of 55 can get 25% off with ID. On Thursdays, you can get 50% on children’s clothing and toys marked with Blue, Green and Yellow Tags. And on Tuesdays, the Color Tag of the Week items are $1.99 all day long. And be sure to check the Goodwill calendar for additional promos. Thrifting will always save you money, but for the most bargainous of bargains, shop on holidays or sale days.

Still not sure which bargains you can get or when would be the best time to hit the racks? By all means, ask your friendly thrift store employees! They want you to shop with them, so they’ll be more than happy to share seasonal, stock, and sale-related dates.

When is YOUR favorite time to thrift?