If you are like me you have found some great stores (that sell used items) that you visit on a regular basis, let's say once a week to once a month. You know when to go to get the best stuff and the best deals. While it seems some of the second hand stores are now getting pricier, I believe there are still good buys to be had whether you are shopping for furniture, clothing, household items, or sports equipment.
Your experience will depend a lot on when you go to thrift shops. In my experience stores are busiest during the holidays. This can be especially true during holidays like Halloween or Carnivals, when many "non-thrift store shoppers" who rush in looking for a cheap used costumes. Times like these are great for the stores, but not so hot for everyday thrift store shoppers. Though a busy holiday season does clean out a lot of the old stock that has been sitting there for a while, which makes room for more items.
Go often! The great thing about thrift stores is that there is usually new stuff always coming in via donations.
Prices tend to go up in the winter for cold weather clothing and other related items. Sometimes used stores will stockpile winter goods during the year and put it all out in the fall or when the weather starts to get cold. You will notice that most secondhand stores and consignment shops change with the seasons having Christmas stuff in December etc.
New (used) items to thrift stores generally arrive daily and are priced throughout the day in the back room and then finally brought out into the store (where we can hopefully find something great). In my experience the bulk of the newly arrived thrift store items are put out in the morning as this is usually the slowest time for thrift stores and their employees, with the afternoons being busier for staff members (helping customers, cashiering, etc.).
Another thing to look for at thrift shops are the discount days and discount colored tags. Most thrift stores have certain days that offer some percentage off all or selected items. Most thrift stores also have senior, military, and even student discounts. Many thrift stores also have certain colored tags that are discounted daily, these discounts are usually posted outside of the store or by the cashier on signs or even announced over the PA system in the store.
Tips for advanced Thrifters
1 Go there often. The great thing about thrift stores is that there is usually new stuff always coming in via donations. Shop later in the week for the best selection, weekends are crowded and busy leaving shops depleted of stock on Mondays and Tuesdays.
2 Find out when the discount days are. Most secondhand stores have at least one day per month where everything is 50% off in the entire store, maybe even weekly.
3 Try to buy winter clothing or items in the summer or early season and vice versa. Waiting for the weather to turn cold to buy a jacket may cost you more at the end.
4 Avoid holiday times if you can, but also consider that this is the time of the year the best items come out for display. In some stores, prices can go up and so will your stress.
5 Try on or try out the item you want to buy. If it is a sweater or a CD player, make sure it fits and works before you buy. Most thrift shops have and "as is" no-return policy, which makes sense, as they cannot guarantee used products. You can save a lot, just remember the motto of "buyer beware".
6 Have fun. The best part of used and recycle store shopping is that you will never know what you will find.