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Are you in the mood to pop some tags, but only have $20 in your pocket? The dreaded, unwanted hand-me downs from your older siblings are now a fear of the past. From the Salvation Army and Goodwill, to Buffalo Exchange and the Rose Bowl Flea Market, thrift shops can be hidden treasures. As a less expensive alternative to express your style, here are seven tips to conquering the thrifting world:

1) Cha-Ching: The majority of second-hand stores (especially outdoor flea markets) don’t take credit cards, so bring cash and loads of it if you plan on doing some damage.

2) Make a List: If you’re on a budget, make a list of things you really need/want. That way, when you find yourself distracted by all the other shiny and glittery things, you’ll have that concrete reminder of what to get first and foremost.

3) Buddy System: Things are always much more fun with friends. Bringing along a friend or two is a great way to get a second or third opinion (especially if you tend to be an impulsive shopper like myself). It’s also a great way to divide and conquer if you’re looking for something specific.

4) Try it On: If there’s a dressing room available, try it on! Just because something might look good on that hanger doesn’t mean it was meant for your body type, and vice versa. And if you find something you really like that doesn’t look right on you, move on. There’s plenty more to see. Trust me. Just make sure to wear simple clothes and avoid layers to make it easier for you to change.

5) Patience is a Virtue: Unlike retail chains, thrift stores don’t have racks on racks of one item in all sizes—which can be extremely overwhelming.  If you don’t look closely, you might miss out on something you could really want! Come prepared with a full stomach, comfortable shoes and plenty of time.

6) Shop in Different Sections: The guy’s section is perfect for those slouchy sweaters, flannels or graphic tees finds to achieve that boyfriend style. The little kid section is also great for unexpected cropped jackets, vests or blazers.

7) Be Brave: Don’t be threatened by the weird smells or stains that can come from some of your finds. This is a second-hand store, after all, and not the opening of Barneys. Keep in mind that all clothes have potential. Oversized dresses can be belted, long sleeves rolled, missing buttons replaced and hems can be altered. However, keep quality in mind. Don’t waste your time on hopeless cases. Some things just can’t be salvaged.

Not too keen on the whole used clothes idea? Thrift shops are great for other things, such as vintage jewelry boxes, antique silverware, furniture and picture frames.