With a little time and an occasional visit, you'll appreciate the finds at AMVETS. Close to popular Value Village and almost as big, this thrift store is filled with aisles of merchandise that are restacked frequently. Depending upon your needs, there are items old, new, worn and perfect, and prices that can't be beat. Watch for stains or appliances that might need fixing. As one shopper said, "If it doesn't fit, bring it back as a donation."

A recent excursion turned up a $7.95 book (45 cents), a child's party dress (35 cents), an embroidered pillowcase for baby (35 cents) and a spring outfit for this gent (LaCoste shirt, $22 retail, here $1.95), all-cotton chambray shirt (95 cents), wool suit vest ($2.40) and corduroy pants ($2.45).

There's plenty of parking, but on Saturdays the store is crowded. The lines at the cashier may be long but it's fun and worth it even if you can't make a weekday visit. Shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops can stretch your dollars, and if you strike gold, you'll be hooked.

AMVETS Thrift Store. 6101 Georgia Ave. NW. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 291-4013.