A lady I follow recently had a post about how second-hand stores seemed to be going up on their prices and did her readers see similar trends?
I find that it depends entirely on what store and location you shop at as well as how frequently you are willing or able to go.
I try to stay away from the for-profit second-hand stores entirely. Yes, they have things for sale at prices lower than new that still have a bit of life left in them but they’re not really in my budget range. My budget requires a significant discount from what I’d pay retail or online.
There are certain non-profit stores I don’t bother with unless I’m feeling flush because while I know I’ll find something I want to bring home the prices won’t be dirt cheap. Except on furniture. I got two of these for $25 each. They go well with the dark purple velvet sofa from Freecycle.
Went shopping at Salvation Army with the eldest up where she went to school when I drove up there for the second time in less than 24 hours to pick up MORE of her copious belongings. 300 miles on the car in a day and I never even got to leave the state. Weee.
We weren’t in a rush to get home and had both had good luck with the store so we went shopping. She needed shorts and I was looking for various things and hit the top two on my list, a new messenger bag and two pairs of jeans. Also got a hardcover book by my one of my favorite authors and probably the most expensive piece for my ConneCTcon cosplay for this year. All for under $35 bucks. Basically what the bag alone would cost new. I’d say that’s a deal.
The eldest is setting out on her own as soon as she’s back in the country. She has some basics of keeping house but not much beyond that. Found a lovely mixing bowl at a nearby Goodwill that shines like new now that it’s gone through the dishwasher and thought of her. Also checked to see what it was worth if she didn’t like it and decided it was worth the $2.99 gamble. She’ll take it if she doesn’t have to travel light. She’s not sure yet where she’s going or how long she’s staying. And if she doesn’t want it I’ll make a profit. That works. Minimal effort and capital tied up and I can make $30 or so.
The bulk Goodwills were recently mentioned by another lady I follow. Those are even more hit or miss than most thrift stores because I’m picking around the edges and not shoving my way to the front of a fresh bin. For me the fun is in the hunt just as much as the kill. I’ve gotten several good pieces there even without being ruthless; a nightstand that I refinished, a Fisher Price Little People Garage for the girls to play with, various books and movies, even picked up a nice serving spoon in the parking lot my last trip. Saw it when I pulled in and it was still there when I left so I ran it through the dishwasher several times and love it.
Have thrift stores gone up in price in recent years? I’d say yes but that doesn’t mean that you still can’t find a bargain if you’re willing to dig through the detritus and be patient.
Does it annoy me that I’ve spent way more thought and effort in securing a new messenger bag? It would have been much easier to just order a few off the internet, keep the one that worked and returned the rest. Yes, this particular hunt was annoying and time-consuming but that’s the nature of my particular beast right now. I will say, that in return for a bit of thought, effort and time I got a bag I like and will use until it falls apart, hopefully many years in the future. It’s barely used. I think someone got rid of it because they couldn’t be bothered to clean it of some very minor soiling. Wasteful for them, a win for me at $3.99 and an overnight soak in the kitchen sink.
With deciding whether or not second-hand/thrift shops are worth it depends on which way you are more willing and able to pay. Will it be with time and effort or with dollars that you bought with your time and effort?