7 Ways to Save Big on National Thrift Shop Day

Mark it on your calendars — August 17 is National Thrift Shop Day and stores across the nation will be celebrating by offering special discounts to customers. If you're an avid thrift shopper like me, this is nothing short of a high holiday. And if you've never wandered into a second-hand store before, now's the time to see what all the fuss is about (trust me, you'll never look at retail prices the same way again).

Make the most of this banner day with a few helpful strategies.

1. Embrace the Chaos

Though there are many different types of thrift stores, it's safe to say they're all more chaotic than your local Target. Inventory is constantly churning, aisles can be cramped and disorganized, diehard thrifters can be competitive, and browsing often feels like a contact sport. Caffeinate and embrace the chaos. Think of thrift-shopping as less of a task and more of an entertaining adventure.

2. Avoid Getting Junk Drunk

If you love retro items, DIY projects, or antiques, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of delights a well-stocked thrift store offers. Keep your head and avoid getting "junk drunk." Focus on what you need, look for the best thrift store deals, and don't let low prices cloud your judgment. Your basement, attic, and garage will thank you.

3. Anticipate Your Needs

Thrift stores have an eclectic assortment of inventory that changes almost daily. And while the randomness can be refreshing, it makes finding a specific item you need right away nearly impossible. The key to success is anticipating what you'll need six months or a year down the road and buying it when you find it. (See also: 6 Back-to-School Items You Should Always Shop for at the Thrift Store)

4. Size it Up

Need curtains for the guest room? New jeans for your grand-daughter? A vintage frame for a craft project? You'll probably find it all at some point while you're thrift-shopping — but only if you're prepared with the right sizes and dimensions. Store important measurements on your smartphone and avoid the guessing gamble.

5. Button, Snap, and Zip

New clothes are alarmingly expensive. That's why it's so tempting to overlook the flaws of a great second-hand bargain. But be diligent. If you're not handy with a needle and thread, make sure every button is still attached, every snap still snaps, and every zipper still zips.

6. Shop With Friends

Thrifting is a livelier sort of shopping. You'll come across items that remind you of your childhood, crazy kitsch, wondrous what's-its, hidden gems, and amazing bargains that you simply can't grab fast enough. Make the whole experience interactive by bringing along a friend or two and sharing in the fun. Heck, make a day of it; hit all the shops in your area and then relax over dinner together.

7. Donate!

What could be more efficient than shopping for what you need while donating what you don't? Keep your local thrift shop thriving, support a worthy cause, and get a tax deduction at the same time. In my book, that's called a win-win-win.

If you're like me, you don't need more reasons to love thrift shopping. Still, National Thrift Shop Day is a perfect opportunity to woo your friends away from retail and revive your inner treasure hunter. Build the buzz by posting your thrift shopping stories or best finds via social media using #NationalThriftShopDay. Happy hunting!

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