Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holidays and Thrift Stores

Confession time: I am a thrift store addict. I love the bargains I find there. I love the thrill of the hunt as I look for something whose value may have been overlooked by its previous owner. I love that many of them serve as a funding source for some fantastic nonprofits. I love that they will take the gently used jeans I have no hope of ever fitting into again and use them to take money from someone more slender than I. Thrift stores are the antidote to the clutter disease that plagues my home. And here's a little known secret: thrift stores are fantastic places to shop during the holidays. Three years ago, a day I remember well, I stumbled upon an artificial Christmas tree, in perfect condition for - get this - $7. My children are young and could care less about packaging, so they often receive 'like-new' toys as gifts. I stash the savings into their college funds. Who knows, by the time they need it that extra $10 might be worth enough to buy a whole calculus text book. I can hope.

If you, too, have a love affair with thift stores, or are at least curious enough to step into one, here's some tips from the BBB you should keep in mind:

  • Not all thrift stores benefit charities equally. Ask your favorite store how much your donations and purchases benefit the charity it supports.

  • When gathering items to donate, make sure that the items are needed (check with the thrift store) and in good condition. Remember that torn, soiled clothing is never in style and that as hard as it can be to toss that three-wheeled monster truck into a landfill, no child wants to play with a broken toy. Disposing of unwanted and unusable gifts is costly to charities.

  • Make sure you obtain a donation receipt if you would like to record your donation at tax time. Information on how to claim a deduction for charitable purposes can be found here on the IRS website.

1 comment:

  1. Kudos! Everytime I compliment someone lately on the cute outfit, they say to me... Thanks, I found it at the thrift store.