“You can spend a dollar on a jacket in a thrift store. And you can spend a thousand dollars on a jacket in a shop. And if you saw those two jackets walking down the street, you probably wouldn’t know which was which.” -Helen Mirren

From personal experience, thrifting can sometimes be overwhelming because it requires patience and a good eye when looking through racks and racks of clothing. It can be surprising to see what valuable items people end up finding and only end up paying no more than 10 dollars. As implied in the quote above, finding your items in a thrift store is nothing to be ashamed of because that jacket’s value is exactly the same as the one priced at one thousand dollars. At the end of the day, it’s a score for you and all your finds can possibly look better than those priced more expensively. There are, however, some tips that can help your trip to a local Goodwill or Savers, become more successful and make it easier for you to find what you want while still saving money.

Tip #1: Focus on your style 

When looking through the racks, there is going to be a variety of different patterned clothing and looking one by one can be a hassle. Doing this with every shirt will make the process take longer which easily causes impatience. Instead you should go through them and pick the patterns that stand out to you the most and then you pick out the piece to see how it really looks.  It is always extremely important to stick to a style that you personally like and yes, it is also nice to try new things, but don’t force yourself to like certain pieces that you see. Focusing on your style means looking for those clothes that you consider trendy and patterns can make a huge difference whether it’s stripes, certain colors or other things that make clothes stand out differently from those you are not interested in.

Tip #2: Shop off season

You can find great summer pieces during the fall and even if you aren’t going to wear it at that time, you will save a lot of money just by buying them off season. Jackets are the most valuable pieces and they tend to be more pricey during the winter which is when they are regularly used. You might find a jacket when shopping at 90 degree weather but the price difference during seasons can keep more money in your pocket. Another thing to take in consideration is that if you find something and want to “save  it for another visit”, it will be impossible to find it once again because by that time someone would have already purchased it. So don’t ever hesitate to buy coats during the summer or shorts in the winter.

Tip #3: Inspect before you buy

There are pieces that might seem like great finds but one must check the quality before actually purchasing. Many of the clothes that are for sale have been donated or at least sold to the store but are used and are rarely brand new. Some pieces of clothing can have holes or stains but you are the one that determines if it can be fixed or if it’s actually worth it. Trying on the clothes is also extremely important because they might look some sort of way but not actually fit how you would like. This can connect back to your personal interest where some people actually like shopping for worn out clothes while some just prefer the brand new look.

 A successful trip to the thrift store just depends on how well you follow these tips. The most important thing to have when thrifting is patience because when you are being rushed, you aren’t actually looking for the pieces you like.

Here are some thrift store locations around the Phoenix area:

Buffalo Exchange

3450 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85014

Plato's Closet

7530 W Bell Rd #105, Glendale, AZ 85308

Value Village

6624 W Camelback Rd, Glendale, AZ 85301


2625 W Bethany Home Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85017