(Picture taken by the multi-talented Merl (jewelry, photos, websites... what can't you do?)).
You know how to get yourself a long-sleeved, silk blend dress for free? Go thrift shopping with a friend, tell her that this dress will look so good on her and convince her to buy it. Wait a year for said dress to show up in a box of swap clothing circulating around the friends, take the dress and laugh wickedly. I did put a little effort in because all the hems had come undone and I moved the closures for a better fit but besides that effort, I essentially scammed a dress out of a friend. Go me!
If you are unwilling to build your closet on the backs of friends there are ways to get clothing in cost efficient manner. Some say cost efficient, some say cheap.
The word cheap is a funny thing. I grew up in a Dutch Canadian community and I think in many ways 'cheap' was used as an insult. Many of our parents or grandparents immigrated to Canada and had very little, so being very careful with money was survival tactic. It became one of the character traits associated with being a Dutch immigrant but now I feel like we are working very hard to avoid the labelling given to our forefathers. In my opinion, if you pay your portion of a joint dinner bill but don't factor in the tip or the taxes, you are a jerk (seriously, if you do this we can't be friends, sorry) but if you clip coupons for those diapers and go to garage sales to decorate your house, you are a smarty.
In and of itself, thrifting is a money conscious activity. Yet your bill can accumulate quickly... maybe Kyla can find things at her local Goodwill for $0.30 but most places run considerably higher than that. And it's not a secret that thrift prices are creeping up.... grrrrrr. Hence, it is important to take advantage of every deal that may come your way as you shop your feelings in the thrift store.
1. Brave the crowds at the 50% off days. Almost every thrift shop has 50% off days (or even better, in Texas we found one that had March as their 50% month. I need a green card.) and while the craziness of the day may turn you away, it's worth putting up with the hassle. It's 50% off everything!!!! Wear comfy, easily layered clothing (so you can try stuff on in front of any available mirror space and not wait in line for the change room) and if at all possible, arrive at opening time. If you are a conservative thrift shopper, now is the time to take some chances and try some new styles. I admit, every time I have woken up early to be at the thrift store for its 50% off day, I have never had the epic success I have had other days. However... two of my favourite dresses have come from these sales...
2. Take advantage of any promotions offered by your favourite thrift stores. Every thrift store has their own set of promotions. Some stores sell coupon calendars, others offer student and senior discounts (one for me and one for Matt), and some will give you 20% off your next purchase if you drop off your grandmother's heirlooms. OK, don't do that. Or do that and message me promptly afterwards so I can buy them.
I shop at Talize a lot and I always donate a bag of clothing every time I go (yes, in a fit of organization, I made several good sized donation bags and left them in the front closet), so I always get a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase. I am also enrolled in night school so I flash my student discount card at every opportunity. Unless, there is a 50% sale, my student card gets me 10% off everything and it can be used with other promotions.
You need to check out any discounts offered at your favourite thrift stores and take advantage of them!
3. Just ask for it! I have no idea who opened my eyes to the concept that it is OK to ask for a discount at the thrift store. I may have to credit Matt because what thrifting is to me, is what bargaining is to him. It is important check over any of your picks for stains, holes or missing buttons. If the issue can be fixed (without much effort... be realistic about this or you end up with a closet full of stuff to fix like...ahem... me) then most stores will offer a percantage off the price. But most importantly, ask for a discount on the bigger ticket items. Sometimes, I will find something that has been priced high for good reason but I still feel uncomfortable paying that much at a thrift store. In that case, I will politely ask if there is any budging on the price. I don't haggle or hassle, I just say that I really like the item but I am not ready to pay that much. And that's just the truth.
I found this Roots purse in the Talize showcase for $35. For a vintage, leather Roots purse, it is not an unfair price but it's hard to pay that much at Talize. I worked at Roots when I was in University and I love that it is a Canadian brand so I knew that purse wanted to come home with me. I just asked the lady if there was anything she could do about the price. The purse had just been put on the floor but she ended up giving it to me for $30 plus my usual discounts (coupons and student discount). Was it still more expensive than I usually pay? Yes, but I don't usually find vintage Roots at the thrift store. You might not get any discount but it is always worth asking.
(And I apologize that I have been on Thrift Thursday hiatus. When it gets busy, they are the first posts to go because they take up a lot of brain power (it's the serious talk that makes it take a lot of time). I was all set to go for this week when we got socked with a major snow storm that took my sleep and your Thrift Thursday. But I am back in the game... I just need to find a way to claim my thrifting when I do my taxes. It's all research baby!)