Thursday, August 7, 2014

What Tools to Bring When Thrifting for Profit

Thrifting 101: Tips for Money Making Tools

thrifting tips I admit that I'm still perfecting my thrifting tips and techniques. After all, no one is perfect, and perhaps that is why a bargain will lay unclaimed for days or even weeks on a thrift store shelf before the right person comes along to claim it. Knowing what to bring along while thrifting helps find those gems, and having two shopping mavens like my daughters to carry said tools is simply icing on the cake.

Thrifting Tip - Smartphone
 
This is an amazing money making tool when scavenging through thrift shops, but those of you who have read my articles before know that I'm a tightwad. As such, I resisted purchasing a smartphone for years as I didn't realize any benefits I could draw from it other than wasting time. Now, things have changed. My oldest daughter watched a woman tapping away on her phone while we were grocery shopping, and asked why I didn't do the same. Talk about a big 'Duh' moment for me.

Tracfone came out with a reasonable pre-pay version for short money, so I ditched my $20 version and upgraded. Now, I have a way to surf the re-sale sites such as eBay and Craigslist to see, in real time, how an item might fare on the secondary market. If there's free wi-fi, I can use that, but I also can use my more reliable data plan. The first time out with my new gadget I came across two digital cameras I thought I could do well with, but were priced a bit high if I bought on speculation. As if on cue, my six-year-old put them aside and gave me a quick lesson in smartphone surfing (she uses her Mom's). I immediately saw that each camera would easily sell for five times what I ended up paying at the register. Not too shabby.
 
Thrifting Tip - Batteries

My five-year-old is the keeper of the small things. She has a habit of carrying a pink knit-kitty backpack, and within, a handy selection of D, AA, and AAA batteries to test any item in need. Last week, we came across a vintage toy wedding chapel for .99 that had interior lighting. When we confirmed that it was working, it made our day, as we ended up selling it in excellent, working condition for $30. Other innocuous items that require batteries include cameras, collectable robots (yes!), hand-held gaming systems, and vintage electronics. If it works then and there, and the smartphone shows a profit in re-sale, we know we can make a few bucks. If it doesn't, we simply take a pass and move along.
 
Thrifting Tip - Magnets

A magnet is a wonderful thing, and a simple money making tool. Though it is fun to stick to things, in the case of thrifting, we're hoping to not have a magnetic attraction. In particular, silver. Sterling silver, as I've written about in a previous article, is not magnetic, but silver plated items often are. When a suspected piece doesn't have the initial stamped hallmarks we look for, I have my daughters hold a magnet along different places of the item. If the magnet 'clicks' on, we pass. If it doesn't, we move onto the next test.

Thrifting Tip - A Simple Eraser

In my five-year-old's pink kitty bag, she hoards a collection of erasers: Hello Kitty, Garfield, and plenty of nice, simple, pink rubber ones. It doesn't matter which is used, as it simply needs to do the job it's designed for - erase. Holding the thrift item in one hand, and the eraser in the other, one of my daughters will attempt to clean off the smudge and grime a piece of metal has inevitably picked up over time. Once a spot is selected, they will gently rub away - and if the piece comes clean, we more than likely have a piece of silver. If not, it's probably not worth our time and we do what we do best - move on to the next treasure around the corner.

Enjoy your time thrifting, and remember - it's more fun with a friend!