Thrift and consignment stores as well as yard sales offer buyers a great opportunity to get amazing deals. Whether you are trying to reduce your spending budget or looking for things to resale, here is your chance to find fantastic items without watching your wallet cry in agony.
Have a goal. It's perfectly okay to make a spontaneous purchase every now and again. That's how I ended up with a brand new ellipitical machine and a great art print for my reading corner. I certainly would have missed those opportunities. However, let that be your exception, not the norm. Random and spontaneous shopping can lead to a houseful of junk you're never going to use. Always have an idea in mind. A dear friend always shops for furniture with great bones and lots of potential that she can upcycle and sell for a profit. Her shopping list is specific which helps her reach her shopping goals quicker.
Know your product. You don't have to be an expert but you definitely have to possess a fair working knowledge of what you're wanting to buy. That piece of mercury glass probably isn't the rare one you want if it says 'Made in Wherever" on the bottom with smudged ink. A little working knowledge will save you money in the long run.
Carefully inspect the item. You should not assume that everything you see is showroom quality. Bear in mind you are shopping at a second hand establishment and you're going to have to scrutinize everything. Look for stains, uneven seams, faux leather and damage that cannot be repaired. I promise you the little horse logo isn't supposed to have three ears. Make sure electronics work or the expense of repair still makes the item worth buying. Before purchasing my ellipitical machine, hubby and I scrutinized every nook and cranny. The missing manual wasn't an issue because we can just Google that information and the only repairs needed were the tightening of all the screws. Nobody wanted to be bothered with it so we purchased it for pennies on the dollar.
Watch your budget. Just because it's a great price doesn't mean you need to buy it. Never, ever forget that. Buying a $250 print for $10 isn't a great deal if you don't have the wall space for it. You could have used that money for something else of even better value. Don't buy for the sake of buying.
Make sure you know where you're going to put this stuff. Alrighty then, you've bought the best gun cabinet ever. You've carted it home only to discover this behemoth fits nowhere in your house. Okay well maybe it fits in the baby's room but that is both dangerous and weird. Now what do you do? Resell it for a loss? Give it away for an even bigger loss? Leave it outside in the rain? Keep some basic measurements with you when you're shopping. I currently need a new (or new to me) entertainment stand and I'm armed with the dimensions I need to get the best item possible.
Understand the pricing and merchandising schedules. Most second hand stores and consignment venues put out more merchandise on specific days. Price reductions work in the same manner. Get to know some employees and you may be able to reduce the impact on your budget. For yard sales the rule of thumb is simple: the earlier you go, the better the selection. The later you go, the better your chances of haggling the price.
Today's economic climate means more people are both buying and selling second hand. Arm yourself with some knowledge and you will find success at every turn!