BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In view of current economic conditions, a number of Americans are tightening their belts and finding ways to save money.

In this regard, the U.S. Central bank’s chief, Jerome Powell, recently said that the U.S. may be poised to experience a period of slow economic growth and a rise in joblessness.

The ups and downs of the nation’s economy may be one reason why nearly 16 – 18% of Americans are choosing to shop at thrift stores, according to America’s Research Group.

So, what are some ways to get the best deal at a thrift shop?

Five points lifted from MoneyFit and Thrift Diving are listed below and may help answer to answer the question above.

#1 Before thrifting, write a shopping list

According to MoneyFit, the best way to avoid overspending and to keep your focus on what you need to buy is to write a list. Moneyfit says, “You don’t have to make a strict list. Instead, you can create mood boards or collages of the look you want to have. That way, you can find items that fit the style or theme while still allowing for more freedom. Once that’s taken care of, your only limitation is your budget.”

#2 Always ask for a discount. Always.

According to Thrift Diving, asking for a discount may not always reap benefits, but it can’t hurt to ask. You may be able to get another 10 or 15 percent off an already discounted item if you find the courage to ask.

#3 Bring your frugal friends with you

If you like shopping with other people, it may be in your best interest to have a economically savvy friend tag along. Why? Well, Thrift Diving points out that frugal friends may know about thrift shops that you’ve never heard of. In addition to this, they’re more likely to encourage you to find deals as opposed to influencing you to spend money that you don’t have.

#4 Carefully check the condition of the items

When purchasing gently used items, it’s likely that they’ll have some flaws.

This is why MoneyFit says, “When thrifting, it’s recommended that you check the condition of the item to ensure that you’re getting a high-quality product. For clothing, you can check for tears and holes in the fabric, missing buttons or zippers, stains, and other common flaws. Inspect them in good lighting and cover every inch so you don’t miss anything. Flip it inside out and examine the collars, crotch, armpits, and other areas where stains or dirt can accumulate.”

The article adds, “If you’re getting shoes, bags, or other accessories, watch out for damage and stains. You can also look inside for dirt, whether it’s the inner purses of a bag or the insole of a shoe. To test durability, find the seams of an item and see if the glue or threads are starting to give way. High-quality seams will stay intact even after a long time in storage.”

#5 Make Friends With the Staff and Follow Your Fav Stores Online

If you’re a fan of a particular thrift shop, it may be a good idea to get to know the staff. This way, when an item comes in that a store employee recognizes as something you’d like, they may be willing to contact you with a heads up on the item and set it aside for you.

In addition to this, they’ll be honest with you when it comes to letting you know if a piece of clothing looks good on you.

You can also follow the store on Instagram or sign up with their email list to be made aware of special deals and bargain days. Most thrift shops use social media to post announcements and special events to keep loyal customers updated.

#6 Know when to stop shopping

According to Thrift Diving, it’s important to know when to stop shopping, and avoid the risk of becoming a hoarder. The website points out that living by the motto of, ‘If you love it, buy it’ can leave a person with a garage full of items they don’t need.

Hopefully, one or more of the suggestions above will be helpful to shoppers who love to score a bargain.