One day this past summer, I took a gander through my local Goodwill to see if there was anything that stood out to me.

I was browsing around in hopes of finding something that would be a nice addition to my slowly-growing pile of vintage clothes. Little did I know that I would be leaving with the holy grail of mom jeans and two identical pairs of high-waisted Calvin Klein jeans – all for a total of $12.

Walking out of that musty-smelling store, I was thrilled with what I found, and wanted to see what else I could find at other thrift stores. Throughout the rest of the summer, I drove around my hometown of Jacksonville about once a week, spending hours in thrift stores in hopes of finding a vintage gem amidst the plethora of ratty t-shirts and stained sweaters.

I’ve come to learn that thrift-shopping is not for everyone, yet my friends are always wanting to come with me when I go. For those girls who said they wanted to go thrift-shopping with me (you know who you are), here are some tips to guide you through it if you decide to venture out on your own.

Look through everything, and I mean everything.

In most cases, you are not going to find something worth-while by merely skimming through the clothing racks – trust me, I’ve tried. When you look through anything and everything, you are more likely to find something worth trying on.

Try on everything, even if you are “iffy” about it.

If you pick something up and question what it would look like on, try it! It’s always better trying on something and then end up hating it, than leaving something behind that could’ve worked out perfectly. If you are anything like me, you’ll walk into the dressing room with five dresses, ten pairs of jeans, eight t-shirts, and walk out with only one of each.

When you are trying on an article of clothing and you are not sure if you should buy it or not, try to think of what clothes you have a home that you could mix and match it with. If you cannot think of a few different ways you could wear it, it may not be the best purchase, and we all know there’s nothing worse than the feeling of buyer’s regret.

Have an inspiration when you go thrift shopping.

It sounds a little random, since the chances of you finding the same thing you saw someone else wearing is very rare if not impossible, but if you have an idea in your mind you could strive to find something similar. For example, I look at Urban Outfitters and Free People look-books constantly to get inspiration for my outfits, since those two stores have unique and distinct styles.

I love wearing clothes that no one else has and wearing clothing that stands out, so I use their outfits as my inspiration. When I am thrift-shopping, I look for pieces of clothing that the models in those look-books would wear and try them on to see if they could work.

I am an advocate for thrift-shopping, because although the stores smell and some of the clothes I wouldn’t wear in a million years, nothing beats getting the perfect vintage article of clothing for dirt cheap, especially while on a college budget.