Ready, set, SAVE with secondhand

Secondhand savings can bring big smiles to hunters on the prowl for a good deal.

Spending money can be fun for some, but for me – SAVING money is really what brings on the excitement and personal glow. For me, saving dollars here and there offers an AMAZING sense of joy and accomplishment. Endorphin’s anyone?

In previous posts I’ve outlined some of the ways I enjoy saving the most, and a big one I discuss is realizing savings through the purchase of secondhand items. But, in this piece I want to focus on the potential savings that can be realized by shopping at thrift stores and using these venues as a main destination for meeting some of your basic clothing and household needs.

Here’s just a couple of ways you can save even more, when shopping secondhand

Think their item is overpriced? Ask for a discount. If you ever find yourself in a thrift store or consignment shop and aren’t quite sold on the store’s asking price for a certain item, feel free to go ahead and ask for a discount. Embarrassed at that thought? Don’t be. How else will they know they’re turning off potential buyers with off-base prices?

In my experience, more often than not when you challenge a price-tag, the clerk will reduce their asking price. Some places will take off a flat percentage, while others could counter offer altogether. Getting the courage to ask — could be a win for your wallet! Worst case scenario – they say no, and you pass on the overpriced item. Just be grateful and gracious if they DO indeed reduce their price for you and try not to pull this card every time you pop into their shop.

Find out when stuff goes on sale! There’s a thrift store in my town that has a monthly calendar of bargains all at the shoppers fingertips. When you check out at the register, you can easily pick up a printout that showcases the coming sales for the days ahead. No secrets there . . . they spell out when and where you can save on their inventory.

A buck a bag anyone? Those are the best days by far!

So my go to store is pretty special, but if there’s a frequent stop on your errand list, be proactive and get vocal. Ask the store clerk when they’ll changeover their inventory or when’s the best chance to get in on the new goods each week? Getting informed could be key in knowing when in and out-of-season stock will be ripe for the picking.

Got gobs of stuff? Save yourself the hassle of dropping it off by calling a thrift store and scheduling a pickup date. Chances are they’ll be happy to have your items on their shelves.

Not looking to buy? You can still save. Consider these options.

Call ahead and set a date to have a nonprofit pick up yo’ junk. If you’re looking to move and/or rid your home of a bunch of unwanted items, why not call up a thrift store and see if they’ll come get your crap for you? At the least they may show an interest in pilfering through your piles and hauling some of it off. You could save time and gas by having them save you the trip to their drop-off site. They’ll also likely load the stuff for you and give you a receipt.

Tax deductions: If you itemize on your Federal Taxes just know you can write off a certain amount for donations to non-profit organizations. This is an awesome way to do some good and gain. So load the car and offload the unwanted goods at a thrift store. Just be sure to ask for a receipt and then neatly file it away for tax season.

According to charitynavigator.org, there are rules for non-cash donations.

If you contribute property owned for more than one year, the value of the deduction is normally equal to the property’s fair market value. You have an advantage when you contribute appreciated property because you get a deduction for the full fair market value of the property. You are not taxed on any of the appreciation, so, in effect, you receive a deduction for an amount that you never reported as income.

You should clearly contribute, rather than throw out, old clothes, furniture and equipment that you no longer use. However, bear in mind the condition of your donated goods. The IRS only permits deductions for donations of clothing and household items that are in “good condition or better.”

If you bring $1,000 in clothes or furniture to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, make sure that you get a receipt. Never throw such contributions into a bin where no receipt is available. If you are in the 25% bracket, that receipt may be worth $250 in tax savings to you. And remember that the IRS requires a qualified appraisal to be submitted with your tax return if you donate any single clothing or household item that is not in good used condition or better, and for which you deducted more than $500.

These are just a handful of hints and easy to follow tips I’ve been putting into practice to help out my bank account while also helping out my neighborhood thrift store.

If you like this concept and want to follow more of my thoughts, see me @cheapgirlsaves on Twitter. Leave other ideas in the comment section below. I want to know what you have to say and what tips you might have to offer.

Peace and much love.

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