The Art of Thrift


One hobby that I have enjoyed over the past few years is thrift shopping. It combines the thrill of a hunt with the satisfaction of frugality. I’ve found all sorts of fantastic deals over the years such as an Italian designer sports coat, Callaway driver and Osprey hiking backpack for less than it costs for a burrito bowl. Thrifting has also come in handy for everyday items for the family like books, picture frames, coffee mugs and Pyrex containers.

Thrifting can be fun and helpful, but not every purchase ends up working out. Most mistakes are easy to swallow, since the investment is so heavily discounted, but by following the tips listed below you can easily avoid common pitfalls.

  1. Be Patient – Not every trip will be fruitful. Often you will feel like you wasted your time but enjoy the process and learn how quickly inventory turns over at your local thrift store. That will give your next trip the best chance of being productive.
  2. Be Consistent – It takes time to find where to go and when to go. Once you have found your key spot to thrift, find a way to schedule trips regularly that make sense with your schedule. Best case scenario, you can fit it into your existing schedule rather than making a dedicated trip.
  3. Be Picky – I’m much more selective now compared to when I first started thrifting. Targeting brands that you know and trust will end up improving the chances of items working out for the long run.
  4. Be (somewhat) Open Minded – It is rare that you will find exactly what you’re looking for. Most often you will find something completely unexpected. If you will need it in the future, considering buying it before it is needed. If it is a great item that you don’t need at a value that you can’t pass up, buy it anyway and think of someone that you can give it to.
  5. Be Smart – Any hobby can be taken to an unhealthy level. No deal is good enough to sacrifice blowing up your monthly budget.

To be honest, I never thought I would be interested in thrifting. It certainly isn’t for everyone and sometimes I simply do not have the time. However, being thrifty can be a beneficial trait. Follow a few of the suggestions above and best of luck uncovering a gem.

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