Frugal Families Thrift Store Shopping

Tricks, tips, and secrets to help you snag an incredible deal at our local thrift stores.

I have always been a thrift store fiend.  Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved going into my hometown Goodwill and sifting through the junk until I’d find that one unique treasure.  Nowadays, I still love the challenge of thrift store shopping, but do it now for the financial savings instead of just the sheer thrill.  Thrift store shopping is one more way to re-use resources and cut down on waste.  

Healdsburg is a used-goods paradise.  Along with a number of antique stores around the main square, Healdsburg is also home to the largest I’ve ever seen, a well-stocked with top brand clothing, and a darling little children’s that buys and sells slightly used clothes.  Make sure to hit these three stores the next time you’re cruising for a great deal.

Salvation Army

This unique, huge, treasure trove has three outside buildings and multiple covered lots containing just about anything you can think of.  The sells donations like shoes and clothes, books, electronics, furniture, decorative house wares, and even vehicles.  One of the most endearing avenues of this place is the rows of bins at the very end of the lower part of the property.  Anything that is too random or in questionable repair is sent to these bins.  I’ve found everything from lamps, to purses, to board games and travel mugs in the bins.  The best part is that you can fill your shopping cart with as much as you wish and then get a ridiculously low price for all of it from one of the employees.  Today I got four board games, two puzzles, and some Modge Podge for three dollars.

            Because the Salvation Army is such a shopping destination, especially with resellers, the sales are held in random order.  Yesterday, electronics were 60 percent off, but there is usually some portion of the merchandise that is on sale.  Clothing ranges in price from one dollar for a t-shirt, to ten dollars for a dress.  There is a nicer clothing store in the lower portion of the property but the prices are a bitsteeper than the big clothing store in the top building.


            Healdsburg’s is great for finding clothing for the whole family.  It has a wide assortment of various sizes, colors and styles of clothes and shoes.  Although it lacks in furniture or large-sized items, it does carry a substantial amount of dishes, kitchenware, books, and bedding.  On Wednesdays, women’s clothing is 20% off, and on Thursdays, senior citizens get 20% everything.  Changing rooms are available. 


             This cute little children’s should be a must-shop for every mom or friend looking for a great kid’s gift.  The selection of shirts, onsies, pants, shoes, and toys is impressive and Sprout also carries a wide assortment of locally made goods.  Owner Amanda Janik buys clothing from customers, then prices it according to their brand and condition.  Determined to direct her business to the local market, Janik has created a place to find nice clothing for children at an affordable price. 

“We have so many tourist-oriented shops in Healdsburg that may not be a financial option many local families to buy clothing,” Janik says.  Sprout baby onsies start at $1.50, and kids socks are $.50.  T-shirts are around $4.00, and jeans can range from $4 to $20, depending on the brand.  Sprout also buys clothing and grants customers payment in the form of store credit. 

Tips and Tricks to find the best possible deal:

  • Shop often-Visit every week to check out new inventory and donations.
  • Spend some time-Usually, the better the treasure, the harder it is to find.
  • Bring in your donations or old stuff-Don’t star in the next episode of "Hoarders".  Recycle your own items and help support great some great area causes.
  • Be open-minded-Most of the time, you’ll find something you weren’t even looking for.
  • Get tech-savvy and price compare -I don’t buy high-ticket items without first checking the merchandise with something similar on Ebay using my smart phone.
marie ncclish March 16, 2011 at 05:13 PM
I love your articles on the thrift stores I go to good will at least once a week have found some great bargins on hand bags and computer game for only 2.99 they are lot higher in the stores, in fact going there is addicting some times but great fun and you dont feel guilty over spending. marie mcclish
Rika Meyer March 17, 2011 at 03:11 AM
So true, Marie! I regularly go to thrift stores to get items to create crafts with the kids I work with, and I've found a couple great purses there too. My only complaint about thrift store shopping is the lack of nice women's shoes. Women are too emotionally attached to their shoes to give them away unless they're pretty worn out. My husband, on the other hand, has found absolutely AMAZING shoes, unworn, for under $10 here in town. Men just don't care about their shoes as much as women I guess!


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