With the economy in the trash can, more and more shoppers are looking for ways to save a buck. Local thrift stores are reporting a huge surge in sales, but there are some do-s and don'ts when it comes to secondhand stores.\r\n\r\nThe combination of a bad economy and Christmas right around the corner has shoppers flocking to the Salvation Army thrift store downtown. Sales at the store are up 17 percent in recent months.\r\n\r\n"Certainly Christmas items are very, very popular, so shoppers are grabbing those quickly and taking them home," \r\n\r\nBut the bad economic times mean fewer people are donating to the Salvation Army as well.\r\n\r\n"We're very concerned because as more people need help during this holiday season, we're seeing a decrease in monetary donations coming to us, so we need the public's support," Capt. Grady Brown said.\r\n\r\nSecondhand clothing makes up 40 percent of sales at the Salvation Army stores, and children's clothing is especially popular.\r\n\r\nAlex Alexander says he started shopping at thrift stores years ago, even before the economy tanked. He says you'd be crazy to pay department store prices for name brand items like blue jeans.\r\n\r\n"Fifty-five dollars for a brand new pair of Levi's. Are you high? Who would pay $55 for jeans and you go to a thrift shop and get one pair for like $10," he said.\r\n\r\nBut experts say there are some items you should avoid buying secondhand. Items like baby car seats, children's toys or baby cribs can be particularly risky to purchase at a thrift store. They may be damaged, or subject to consumer recalls.\r\n\r\nBuying secondhand electronic items like televisions can also be risky. The Salvation Army offers a 30-day exchange on TVs and appliances just in case. \r\n\r\nFor the most part, thrift stores are a great place to save money during these bad economic times.\r\n\r\n"In my case, I lost about 60 percent of my money in the stock market and I'm just a poor fellow. People like Buffet, he said he lost $4 billion, so he's probably changing his spending habits, too," one shopper said.\r\n