Have an idea of what you're looking for
Is it clothes? Tchotchkes? Furniture? Kitchen goods? I try to narrow down my categories. This helps when I'm greeted with rows and rows of stuff.
Go on the day that new inventory is put out
Most stores have a set day. It's oftentimes a Tuesday, after they've scoured their resources for goods. Go on that day!
If you're in the market for clothes, come dressed for the part
Most thrift stores don't have dressing rooms, so this means leggings and a fitted T-shirt are your best bet for slipping clothes over your head and getting an honest fit.
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Examine goods before you buy them
My mother does this even with new things she buys, and it's a really good idea. Look for discoloration, chips, nicks, and brand markings.
Related: The Dollar Store: The Cheapest Way To Hurt Your Health
Some stores do not allow this. Ask! Simply say, "Are these prices negotiable?" If they are, then I usually open with, "Would you take (insert price here) for this?" I try to say it in as decisive and confident a manner as possible. And I don't say it with a smile. I mean business!
Pay attention to the season
For instance, in Palm Springs, where I do most of my thrifting, the best discounts are during summertime because that's when the most tourists come. I save my dollars and spend the most in the summer because of the amazing discounts I'm able to score.
The article How to Thrift Like a Pro originally appeared on Rodale Wellness.