Families are always looking for ways to save money and not sacrifice on quality. A trend that has experienced a recent resurgence is shopping at consignment and thrift stores. Consignment and thrift stores can sometimes be an overlooked but great resource for unique and hard-to-find items.
These stores carry heavily discounted clothing that allow consumers to save money on everyday merchandise, including brand name clothing as well as videos, CDs, DVDs, books, furniture and appliances. It is not unusual to find out-of-print and vintage pieces of major designers like Vera Wang, Gucci, and Chanel at very affordable prices. Thrift stores sell new or gently used merchandise that are donated to the store. Consignment stores sell similar items on behalf of the owner for a modest fee.
Consignment and thrift stores sell such a large variety of items that shopping can quickly turn into a treasure hunt for designer labels and trendy attire. The store management team carefully regulates the inventory to ensure that any merchandise, whether donated or sold, be in working condition, clean and stain-free. It is not uncommon to find new clothing, with price tags still attached, that have been donated because their previous owner no longer likes the color, does not fit into the garment or received it as an unwelcome Christmas or birthday present.
When looking for unique items or brand name attire, the following tips are helpful:
- Review the racks carefully. Touch and feel fabrics because between cotton blends and polyester are brand name clothing made of silk and cashmere.
- Look throughout the store. Items, even those that are more costly, can be found with non-descriptive terms. If you are searching for a particular item, inspect it carefully since it can be labeled plainly but actually be a quality find.
- Check the clearance rack. The clearance racks can hold a treasure of unique and designer labels. A thrift or consignment shopper might not check the clearance rack as often as they might in a regular department store because the entire store is already heavily discounted.
- Prices can sometimes be negotiated. Though prices are already discounted, the price listed might not be the final sale price. If an item has a slight defect or flaw or the store is looking to get rid of it, you can ask if they are willing to take a cheaper price to get it out of the store.
Another benefit to families, besides the savings, is the fact that shopping or donating items to certain thrift and consignment stores is tax deductible. Many stores are owned or operated by charitable organizations and offer a receipt or statement to claim towards a deductible charitable donation on annual income taxes. Proceeds gained from charitably run consignment and thrift stores are often used for local pregnancy centers, homeless shelters, animal shelters, assistance for low income families, medical facilities, and other community based groups.
Local consignment and thrift stores are easy to find. Check in your local publications, such as your town newspapers in the classified section or posted as an advertisement. Religious organizations often have their own thrift or consignment stores printed in their weekly bulletin.