Being thrifty can cost a lot of time, effort and muscle – hours spent digging through racks of clothing, searching through piles of second-hand merchandise in hopes to find that one special piece. When all is said and done, you don’t want to walk away disappointed, empty-handed and with arms so tired you can hardly open your car door. Staking your claim on that rare-find doesn’t have to be so strenuous. The best thrift stores and flea markets in Connecticut house some seriously great finds – and can be enjoyable places to spend your leisure time, too.

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Repetitions Thrift Shop

114 Woodland St.

Hartford CT 06105

(860) 714-4125

Operated by the Women’s Auxiallry of Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Repetitions supplies a small wonder of vintage items all made possible through donations. Treasures to be found include jewelry, clothing, music and even china. Most of the clothing is only “gently used,” so you don’t have to worry about falling for a sweater with old coffee stains, or melting over an awesome leather blazer that’s missing several buttons. Merchandise changes often, so feel free to stop in every week and score yet another rare find. Hours of operation: Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

University of Connecticut Health Center Auxiliary Thrift Shop

270 Park Rd.

West Hartford, CT 06119

(860) 586-8047

If you are on the hunt for a sweet sports coat or timeless tie, then the University of Connecticut Auxiliary Thrift Shop is where to look. Heck, even a tuxedo or two can be found amidst the mix. Sport coats, outerwear, just about anything for the man in need. Of course, the Auxiliary Thrift Shop has great buys for ladies and little ones, as well. Designer purses, jewelry and shoes are all labeled far below retail value. It’s one of the best thrift stores and flea markets in Hartford for the entire family. Hours of operation: Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 
Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; 
Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; 
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Salvation Army Thrift Store

160 Shield St.

West Hartford CT, 06110

(860) 953-6104

Anyone with even the smallest background in thrift-store shopping holds a space in their heart for the Salvation Army. It’s the “tried and true” of economy shopping. Inside is everything from roller skates to ceiling fans. Walk in looking for a killer pair of vintage Jordache jeans, and then walk out carrying a rare James Brown album on vinyl and a new kitchen table. The possibilities are endless! Keep in mind that while there are great finds at the West Hartford location, local college students have been known to pick it dry. By paying attention to the days designated for restocking, you can give yourself a leg up on that college competition. Hours: Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.