Reuse and Conserve for #EarthDay

5 Tips to Eco-Friendly Shopping | How to Shop at Thrift Stores | AprilNoelle.comOver the last month, I have taken full advantage of my new Amazon Prime account (2-day free shipping, amaaazing!) and loving not paying shipping fees. What I’m not loving is the amount of waste (the boxes, oh the boxes) with each of the products if they don’t come packaged together.

So, in honor of upcoming Earth Day, I would like to share my favorite tips on shopping the eco-friendly way!


I love a good thrift store. If you catch me in a store of any sort, it’s likely to be a thrift store. There are several around and each has a different benefit.


5 Tips for Shopping at Thrift Stores

Find stores that get Good Stuff

This tip may be self-evident, but all thrift stores are not created equal. A thrift store in a wealthier region is likely to have better, higher-end goods. Also, the goods that you do find probably have been treated with care.

Even though I live in West Palm Beach, I often travel to Jupiter (about 20 miles away), a more affluent area, to a few of their thrift stores because I can find better items.

12916334_10153363274901619_8748034095588339061_o (1)I found a beautiful desk for my son and file cabinet for the living room.

Be Flexible in your Idea

I always shop with the solution in mind, not the product itself. What problem am I looking to solve and will this product solve it? Some things just need a coat of paint. Other things need more imagination.

I bought: a candle holder to use as an earring holder

  • a candle holder to use as an earring holder;
  • a file cabinet to hold our Xbox and cable box;
  • a knife display box to display my necklaces;
  • an armoire became a craft closet;
  • a towel bar (repurposed, not purchased) to showcase my bracelets.

Set (and Keep) Your Budget

Most goods are discounted, but that doesn’t mean that they are great deals. Once I found a decanter, it cost $35! Quick research on my phone showed it new for $40! Nope, not for me. I can order any decanter online for over $30.

When I was looking for a dresser for my girls, I had a $40 budget. After a couple of trips to my favorite store, I found the perfect one for a young kid’s room, being larger on the bottom and smaller on the top, limiting the tipping danger. Final cost? $30.

Find the Specialty Store, then Look for the Extras

One store comes clearly to mind that focuses on furniture. But most people are lazy, so they want to donate everything to one place. This store takes most household goods. Since they want to get rid of the “extra” stuff, it’s heavily discounted. I purchased a set of four margarita glasses for a whopping $2 total and a set of four dinner plates for $1.

Never be Afraid to Negotiate

Thrift stores receive items every day. They don’t want to keep items unnecessarily. Ask for the promotion, a discount code or a coupon. When that fails, ask for a manager. Remember that decanter? I got it for $15.

I know a lot of people struggle with negotiating because in the US it’s a foreign concept to most. If you leave this post with one thing, remember: Always ask for the discount! If you didn’t ask, the answer is already no.

Sometimes the clerk has authority to give you a discount. Other times, there’s a code on their station that they’ll happily use. Then, often, to get the sale, a manager will grant one. I’ve saved anywhere between 25-50% on a shopping trip, just because I asked.


Are you a thrift store shopper? Do you have any tips?

39 thoughts on “Reuse and Conserve for #EarthDay”

  1. Robin Masshole Mommy

    I always buy my boys jeans at thrift stores. They are always ripping the knees so I refuse to pay full price.

  2. I’m not a big fan of shopping but I do use this site called bookoo to buy and sell. It’s like a thrift store online. It’s common in military town – no fees. You meet up somewhere and exchange good. It’s safe here at least.

    I love Amazon Prime too.

  3. We have a few thrift stores around here, and one that has caught my eye a few times. In honor of Earth Day, I shall go in honor of this post!

  4. It always feels great to when you find a good deal, it’s better when you get a discount. Thrift shops really help people save a lot of money! I love the idea of asking for discounts or even bargaining. Very good tips right here!

  5. I’ve sold more to thrift shops than I have shopped at them. I do love the stores in NYC, I’ve found such great finds there. I love your suggestion of looking up items on your phone before buying. Some places don’t always price things as such great deals.

  6. I love shopping at Thrift Stores & these are some wonderful tips to make it worthy. It is always good to stick with your budget & I agree you need to feel free to negotiate to get the best deal.

  7. My children’s aunt loves to go thrift store hunting, she finds so many amazing things it’s almost as if she is treasure hunting. i love seeing what she comes home with.

  8. I get so overwhelmed when I go to thrift stores. There is just too much to go through. So now I go in with a list of specific things I need and stick to it! Otherwise I end up with a dozen things I don’t need and nothing of what I went there for.

  9. I recently have become obsessed with trying to up cycle some great finds. I totally agree about negotiating- you’ll never know unless you ask!

  10. My friend Eiaine is a pro at shopping at thrift stores. The knowledge that someone like her might be able to enjoy the clothes I no longer wear encourages me to donate.

  11. Wait, what? You can negotiate??? Are you talking about private thrift stores? Because I know goodwill might not allow that.

    1. Yes! You just have to ask. If you don’t get the response you want, ask someone else. It’s not standard practice, but if I can get something for 1/4 of retail, I’m going to ask and ask again!

  12. Great tips for budget-savvy mums who’d like to get good value for their hard-earned money. I am steering clear of shopping, online or otherwise, as I plan to save more this year, but I will make sure to keep these tips in mind when I do get back to shopping! 🙂

  13. I am loving my Amazon prime too just not the boxes I am collecting but now I am recycling them. I do love a good charity (thrift) store and pick up some unique items there

  14. It is so important to reuse and recycle all the time. I am teaching my kids this so they are more aware as well. We buy a lot of our clothes second hand (because kids grow so fast) and I love looking at thrift stores for good deals on things before we go to a store and buy them.

  15. setting and keeping the budget is very important to me. i do grocery shopping once a week and it keeps me stay put on my budget

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