Buying secondhand is, at its best, economical; and if you are the adventurous kind, then secondhand buying in a thrift store is pure fun. Though it involves a lot of footwork, it is worthwhile and you can stumble upon a fantastic bargain, if you are the lucky kind.
The next best thing about buying in a thrift store is that you can get almost anything: clothes, furniture, sports goods, hardware etc., you name it and most probably the store will have it, within reasonable bounds, of course. But if you are the squeamish kind and do not feel comfortable in rummaging through a lot of riff-raff, then you had better go to a consignment store.
The best bet, for finding just that thing that you need, is to frequent these haunts often. Inventory in a thrift store does not move as in a retail store, where the items on display are restocked at regular intervals. In a thrift store, goods come and they go as they please. Mondays may be the best time to go as people who have things to get rid off will tend to do so during the weekends and you know what Mondays are. No rush. Everybody off to their jobs - well everybody with the exception of you and your kind.
The stuff that you find in a thrift store may not be retail store quality or even a consignment store quality; but check out the item that you wish to buy. If it works, a little but of cleaning, a little bit of tweaking, a little bit of polishing, add a screw here and a screw there and you will have a good working model. As long as the bread gets toasted everything is just fine, so to say.
These are the mundane things in life that you can often find in a thrift store. The thrill is in making a "find". Something fantastic, that has got to the store, probably by chance - seller not knowing the value of the article or disposing it because it had become dusty in the attic or the garage or was occupying space. The reasons can be many, but the fact is that it is there and you have got it. It may be a nice piece of furniture, a antique clock or even a picture. Spend some time and a little money and there you are, a proud owner of a fabulous article, purchased at a knock-down price. You may not get a Stradivarius, but you might get something close to it, if you get the point. Some stuff of the Stradivarius kind have turned up in the most uncommon places.
Accessories are the items that turn up quite often in a thrift store. Items like small beautiful pictures for a wall hanging or other wall art, vases etc. If you intend to make a hobby out of it, you can go hunting for a particular article, shot glasses for instance and make a good collection of it. The opportunities are many.
So enjoy your rummaging and turn them into a sort of treasure hunt. You might find something for a budget.