Mar 12, 2024

8 Best Ways To Spend $20 at a Thrift Store

Thrift stores are a popular option for frugal shoppers, and for good reason. Not only do these stores tend to have a large variety of goods, but many items are of good quality and have lasting value.

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Plus, thrift store items often come with reasonable price tags. This makes it easier to find some great deals and save money that you might have spent on something similar at a more expensive retailer.

If you have $20 burning a hole in your wallet, here are the eight best ways to spend it at a thrift store.

While you might want to steer clear of certain thrift store electronics, you can still find some great deals on simpler gadgets and backup parts.

“Thrift stores are excellent sources for tech parts for work-from-home jobs (think: replacement cables, a second computer screen, printers), but one must have good knowledge of IT for these items,” said Alexandra Nima, CEO of The Sophisticated Geek.

Depending on what you need, as well as its quality and brand, you could purchase these items for around $20 or less. Certain electronic accessories, such as a second computer screen, might go for higher price points. Others, like an HDMI cord or mouse, go for even less.

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Many thrift stores, ranging from big names like The Salvation Army to local shops, have a large variety of clothing. This includes casual wear, athleticwear, business attire, summer apparel, kids’ clothes and more.

This apparel comes in an array of styles, from vintage to trendy, so there’s something for everyone. Plus, thrift stores often sell clothes that are barely worn or like new. More discerning shoppers might even find luxury or high-end clothes that still have the original tags on them.

Melissa Fiorentino, a professional stylist and trends forecaster at, said, “Some of the best thrift store finds are jeans from a brand that’s either known for quality or that tends to be more expensive (such as Levi’s). Many thrift stores will price jeans like these at under $20, and not only are you getting them for a fraction of the retail price, but they’ll likely last you a long time.”

When shopping for clothes, you also might find yourself in need of some accessories. Thrift stores offer great savings when it comes to things like belts, handbags and sunglasses. Just like with apparel, some eagle-eyed shoppers often will be able to find high-end items at a far lower price point than at other stores.

“Another item that is likely going to cost you less than $20 at the thrift store is a genuine leather belt,” Fiorentino said. “These can retail for $50 to $100 at many regular brands, but a thrift store is likely to sell a belt like this for a lot cheaper. Since leather is so durable, the belt will likely look as good as new and, with the proper care, should last you for years.”

If you want to spruce up your home with something creative or unique, the local thrift store can be a great place to explore. You can find anything from wall paintings to blown glass to ceramic sculptures to adorn your walls and shelves. What’s great about buying artwork at a thrift store is that there’s a good chance that nobody else you know will have an identical piece.

Whether you’re looking for a new watch or a piece of jewelry to complement your personal style, there’s a good chance you’ll find something for $20 or less at the thrift store. These budget-friendly shops often carry rings, necklaces, bracelets, anklets and more. Styles range from simple and elegant to more ornate or elaborate. Sometimes, you might be able to find inexpensive jewelry or watches that look higher-end than they really are.

Many thrift stores also carry inexpensive kitchen items, such as mugs, bowls, utensils and basic cookware. Some of the best quality items include cast iron pans, glass jars and stainless steel kitchenware.

Like clothing, certain kitchen goods that are secondhand also come from major name brands. But even smaller or lesser-known brands can still be a good option if you need something for your home and want to spend $20 or less.

Thrift stores are a great place to shop for home decor, especially if you prefer the vintage look. Depending on the current condition of the piece, you might have to do a little bit of extra work on it. For example, you may need to buff out some minor scratches on a chair or purchase a separate lampshade. But in many cases, you can get the item as is without having to spend more than $20.

Kim Montenero, author at Exquisitely Unremarkable, said, “I’m a huge thrift store fan, because it really is possible to get some substantial home decor items for under $20. My two favorites are small furniture pieces and lamps. Furniture, even accents, are expensive at retail shops and their quality isn’t always very good.

“Small tables, wooden chairs, bookcases and benches are plentiful in [thrift] shops, and they are usually solid wood. You can use them to decorate your home, they can serve as end tables, night stands, dining pieces and more. Plus, with a little DIY, you can customize them to suit your style. You can also find good deals of lamps when thrifting.”

Paperback books at the thrift store typically start at around a few dollars or so, but even hardcover books tend to be affordable. If you have $20 to spend and are looking to fill out your home library, you could get several books from the thrift store. In contrast, a typical book from a place like Target goes for anywhere from $10 to $20.

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This article originally appeared on 8 Best Ways To Spend $20 at a Thrift Store

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