“Op-shops are too expensive!” I keep hearing people say. Yes, op-shops have hiked up their prices of late, but if you think the days of bagging an op-shop bargain are over then I hope this little guide will help you to discover otherwise. There are good quality bargains out there if you know how to look for them.
Ask About Specials
When you enter an op-shop, take a moment to ask the staff if they have any specials on today, as there is a very good chance they will answer yes! If they don’t have any specials on the day you visit, they might do so on another day. Some op-shops have regular weekly specials while others are more random. Just last week I visited my favourite local op-shop and everything was half price, turning my $30 haul into just $15!
Most op-shops have a discount rack where items are either half price or discounted to $1-$2 dollars. Don’t assume that these racks are full of crap! I have found some lovely mint condition vintage dresses on such racks (that I’ve resold for much more), plus skirts and other basics that are now staples in my wardrobe. If you approach the discount rack with the attitude that only the dregs are there, then that’s probably all you’ll see. But if you approach it with an open mind, you’ll see the potential of what’s there more clearly.
Some op-shops, such as the Salvos, colour code their clothing tags. Stock that comes in one week might get a purple tag, a week or three later the purple tagged items that remain will be on sale to assist in turning over stock more quickly. These are the kind of specials that staff will happily tell you about when you walk in the door, just ask! Keep an eye out for signs that promote these deals, too, don’t walk around with blinkers on!
Student / Concession Discounts
Many op-shops have discounts on offer for groups such as students, pensioners, low income card holders etc. Students, for example, can get 20% off at Salvos stores on Wednesdays, and at Savers stores on Sundays. There is a handy list of discounts for each day of the week at Salvos and Savers stores over on Weekend Notes, check it out!
Salvation Army Thrift Shops
Did you know that the Salvation Army has two types of op-shops? There is the SALVOS brand op-shops that most of us are familiar with, but there are also ‘Salvation Army Thrift Shops’, which are often located on church grounds or tucked away from the main street shopping strips. These shops are usually staffed entirely by volunteers and are stocked with goods priced the way things used to be. I’ve found some great items in these shops so they are definitely worth a look.
Independent “Old-Fashioned” Op-Shops
Small, independent op-shops – and by this I mean, op-shops not associated with large charities – are generally staffed entirely by volunteers with all proceeds going to a charity and the maintenance of the shop. Often these stores fly under the radar, so there might be one or two in your neighbourhood that you’ve never heard of before! Try searching Opshop.org to see what’s in your area and beyond.
Recycled Clothing Stores
And lastly, another place to find great bargains are for-profit recycled clothing stores. Although these are commercial operations that are not raising money for charity (and are therefore not op-shops), they are worth a mention as they often provide a higher standard quality of clothing than op-shops, whilst pricing them at the same or even better prices. Save A Dollar Recycles is one such example.
To really ramp up your chances of bagging an op-shop bargain, check out my ten top op-shopping tips as well, and you’ll be sure to go home with a fantastic op-shop score, good luck!