Each year, North Americans spend tens of millions of dollars at thrift stores like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. While we love the idea of saving a buck or two, here are some DOs and DON'Ts to consider the next time you go bargain hunting at a thrift store. We got this from AOL .com.

  • When thrift shopping for clothes: DO buy cheap sweaters. Why? A brand new one at the department store may set you back $70 or more, but for something you'll only wear a few months each year, you might as well get a used sweater for as little as four dollars at Goodwill.
  • However, DON'T thrift shop for shoes. First, the shoe has already conformed to the foot of the former owner so it won't fit properly, causing everything from bunions to back problems. Plus, if the rubber supports have worn down, or if the waterproofing on a boot has washed away, they'll be ineffective.
  • Next, if you're shopping for the kitchen: DO buy used cookbooks. Especially the well worn ones that look like they've been splattered with cooking oil and tomato sauce. That's a good sign that the recipes inside were used over and over again. You may find helpful cooking tips scribbled in the margins by the previous owner.
  • DON'T ever buy used baking pans. They're likely to have a layer of rust or burnt food on them. No matter how much elbow grease you put into cleaning them, that rust will eventually wind up baked into your next casserole, or cake.
  • DO NOT stock your kitchen with bargain silverware. Brand new knives, spoons and forks are both shinier and healthier for you. Because once the protective layer of stainless steel wears off, the metal can break down - contaminating your food and your digestive tract!
  • DO bargain hunt for baby clothes. You know your kids will outgrow their outfits every couple months.
  • DON'T thrift shop for used toys. Sure, that vintage Jack-In-The-Box looks fun in the store, but older toys, cribs, or car seats could be dangerous. The toys could have small parts that are easy to swallow, or lead paint. So for the safety of your kids, shop for NEW toys and baby gear.