10 Tips for Finding Charity Shop Bargains
The need to change our buying habits has never been more important for the planet, human ethics, and the animal kingdom. With man-made products outweighing that of living things on Earth, we must think about what we need and how our actions impact the planet.
Charity and preloved shopping is the way forward for people wanting to be more conscious of what they’re buying, looking to save some money and also help a great cause, but it can be tricky to know where to start. We have 10 top tips for hunting for those charity shop bargains.
Tip 1: Shop with an Open Mind
Whether it’s a new pair of black trousers, Adidas trainers or a glass coffee table, we shop in places that are bound to have exactly what we want. When shopping second-hand sometimes there needs to be a compromise to finding what you want, as there won’t be reams of the same item in different colours, styles and sizes. Rather than a glass table, you may find a perfect wooden table, or instead of Adidas, you may find a pair of Reebok trainers that are just as good as what you were looking for.
Tip 2: Go In Store
Online shopping is often the preferred method for ease and convenience but high streets need your support. Many charities still have a strong presence in town and city centres and have an abundance of items that may not be available online. Many charities are now also branching out to retail parks and have charity superstores that offer a completely different shopping experience and even have cafes and play areas to enjoy.
Lastly, by going in-store you discover more about what a charity does and how your donations help. There are other opportunities presented in-store that you may not have considered either, such as volunteering, fundraising events or even getting your children involved with a charity to support raising awareness.
Tip 3: Follow Charities on Social Media
Follow your favourite charities on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to keep informed on the latest updates and bargains. Many charity shops will have their own Facebook pages to showcase some of their amazing stock, window displays and deals, giving you the best chance of grabbing a bargain before anyone else.
Tip 4: Bid Online
Auction sites are the perfect way to grab a bargain, and you’ll find charities have an eBay store that helps them to generate funds from items that have been donated via post, collection bags or kerbside pickup. By bidding for an item, you can browse for as long as you need, save and watch items as well as ‘Buy It Now’ if it’s something you simply can’t live without.
Tip 5: Specialist Charity Shops
Need a wedding dress? Looking for furniture? Want boutique buys? Charity shops will often have specialist shops that provide these items, making it easier to pick out the best. If you don’t want to spend ££s on a wedding dress, charity shops sometimes have ex-display or samples, as well as second-hand dresses to meet modest budgets, whilst keeping you looking gorgeous on your big day.
Moving house? Homeware charity shops are the best place to grab all the items you need at a fraction of the price; some charity shops even have new white goods available that have been donated by reputable brands.
Tip 6: Look for timeless vintage finds
With the increase in fast fashion showing the poor quality of garments, many people are turning to well-made vintage items that have proven to stand the test of time. Charity shops are havens for those looking for decade-old clothing that still has the charm and style of when it was first made. Whether it’s old St Michaels from M&S, or perhaps an unbranded item that screams retro, if you’re wanting something different to the norm, charity shops are the place to go for bargain compared to specialised vintage stores, who may up the price as the demand for these item has increased.
Tip 7: Shop at Off-Peak Times
Despite the decline in high street footfall over the past 5 years, Saturday mornings still seem to be the peak times for those wanting to head to the shops. If competing for crowds isn’t your thing, then you may want to speak with the store managers of your local charity shops to see when it’s the quietest. Browsing at your leisure will likely mean you spot more bargains as there will be no competition.
Tip 8: Look out for New Store Openings
Store openings thrive off footfall, so knowing when your favourite charities are opening their next local shop will give you access to fresh stock. Store openings are a big deal for most charities, so it’s likely there will be other activities on the day for you to enjoy.
Tip 9: Expect to Pay for Quality
Despite charity shops being the perfect place for bargain hunters, it’s important to also recognise that your money goes to a great cause so items may not be as cheap compared to global brands. There is also the reputation of the charity to provide quality goods, whether they’re second or not, to ensure people recognise they have great stock that are in demand.
More charity shop managers are becoming aware of the value of some items, so although there are bargains to be had, it’s also worth remembering that you can’t put a price on quality.
Tip 10: Revisit Frequently
Perseverance can be key to finding those charity shop bargains as it will differ season to season. Turn over of stock can happen as frequently as weekly, so if you’ve been unsuccessful with finding anything once, don’t become disheartened; keep visiting and you’ll come across gems that no one else will have.
If you’re looking for ways to update your wardrobe or home without contributing to the mass production of poor-quality items, then charity shops will become your best friend. As well as finding some interesting buys, you may also find you save some pennies and have a guilt-free conscience as you help great causes along the way.