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5 steps to grab charity shop bargains

Charityshop Ever wondered why everyone gets the best bargains in the charity shops, but you come away with a Barbara Streisand LP and an old paperback copy of Funeral In Berlin? It's because other people are a little more wise - they know their stuff and know where to look.

Follow these five rules and you'll be inundated with secondhand riches.

1. Choose your location wisely

- in the major cities, you're more likely to be in competition with more people. So why not go to some of the smaller or more rural towns? If those areas are also fairly affluent, you could be sifting through some real goldmines.

2. Choose your shop

- all the chain charity shops have expert "pickers", who sift out the most valuable finds for their specialist shops or to sell at auction. The independent charity shops and junk shops don't do this - this is where you'll find your bargains.

3. Specialise

- unless you're a professional antiques/collectables dealer, chances are you'll miss as much as you find. There's loads of reference books out there, so why not specialise? It could be books, records, pottery, clothing - anything really, But if you know the value of something obscure, you'll get the bargain.

4. Know the staff
- if you're after something in particular - for example, certain books titles, Tootal scarves, records - why not mention this to the people in your local charity shop or give them a list? They'll be glad of the shelf space and the money.

5. Get your hands dirty

  - If you see boxes of stock on the floor, under racks or waiting to go on the shelves, have a dig through them. Ok, you might get a bit of dust on your clothes, but you're also probably getting first pick. Making that extra bit of effort could be the difference between success and failure in finding a bargain.

Any more tips? Let us know below...

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