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Ex-Goodwill Employee Shares How to Save DOUBLE at Your Thrift Stores

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blue goodwill sign on store front outside

We’re getting the inside scoop from an ex-Goodwill employee and she’s sharing all the best tips and tricks on how to save big bucks at any Goodwill store! Plus, important things you definitely want to know before you even shop there.

Hip Tip: Before I jump into all the juicy details, it’s important for you to know that all Goodwill’s are individually owned. Therefore any sales, special deals or coupon values, will vary for each location. Additionally, all stores are unique in what is available since items are all donated. 


Here are all our insider’s tips and tricks she shared to save BIG at Goodwill:

 

1. Stay up to date with your local store to grab freebies.

laptop screen with goodwill locations

First and foremost, she shared that staying up to date with your local Goodwill is the key to knowing the inside scoop on daily, weekly and monthly sales. Sounds too easy, but believe it or not, not many people do this. So make sure to sign up for their local mailing list so you’re always in the know.

It’s also a good idea to keep up with your local Goodwill’s Facebook page (if they have one) as they often post current sales, coupons, and special events. As an example, here’s the Goodwill of Southern Nevada Facebook page.

Not only will you be the first one to know about special sales, but you’ll also receive coupons on occasion and learn when they have store freebies. For example, last week at our insider’s store, teacher’s could get a free book with any purchase and they also hosted a kid’s club where all kids could score a free toy or book with any purchase! 😍


2. Go to the weekly color tag sale days and pay as low as $1!

blue and cream floral dress with red tag

That’s right! Every week all Goodwill locations have a special color tag sale day so make sure to keep up to date on their website or next time you head in-store. For example, here’s a specific Goodwill store page that lists their current and upcoming sales. You can expect to see sales anywhere from 30%-50% off and sometimes even tags that sell for just $1 each!


3. Be the first person through the door!

red and white izod tag on blue white stripe shirt

It’s probably no news to you that some people make a living on buying cheap stuff at Goodwill and selling it for a profit. Sometimes stuff is priced for way less than it’s worth (unknowingly) therefore the good stuff is sure to fly out the doors.

Since employees price new items at night, make sure you’re the first person in the door so you can get to the really good deals first. And don’t forget to always ask an employee about current sales every time you shop!


4. Shop at a Goodwill clearance center and pay only by the pound!

peach orange baby gap floral cardigan

Something a lot of people don’t know is that Goodwill makes an effort to ensure items don’t end up in landfills so one major way you can contribute is to shop at one of their Clearance Centers. Here you will pay a low cost by the pound, rather than paying for each item individually. So if you’re stocking up on some pretty lightweight stuff, be prepared for some big savings! For more info on their clearance centers, click here.

To find your nearest Goodwill Clearance Center, head to their store locator and type in your zip code. You’ll then need to scroll down until you find a store that’s called a “Clearance Center”.


5. Save extra cash if you’re a senior or military member.

man standing by Goodwill sale sign

In order to save on your future purchases, you’ll just need to sign up for Goodwill’s free rewards program, which you can do at your local Goodwill store. Note that these sales and days stated below can vary by location, so make sure to check out your location before you head to the store.

For military members: At my local Goodwill, military members can save 10% every day on all their orders.

For seniors: If you’re a senior over 55 years old, you can shop certain days to get anywhere from 20% to 40% off.


6. Shop every other Saturday for an extra 50% off.

children's sizes sign at goodwill

At our insider’s store, you can save an additional 50% off when you shop every other Saturday! Of course, this will vary per location, however, most stores have something similar during each month that you should keep your eyes peeled for.


7. Find out the best day to make donations.

Goodwill boxes in living room filled with donation items

If you’ve been avoiding a drop off at your local Goodwill, now is the perfect time to find out what the best day actually is. At most Goodwill locations, they host special donation days, where you can receive a pretty sweet coupon to use on your next shopping trip. It’s a win, win – drop off your unwanted goods and received money off when you’re ready for something new.


8. Expect the unexpected when you shop.

wrapped mattress store with sale sign

There’s definitely a unique collection of goods at every Goodwill store. However, there’s stuff you may not realize could be there – and for super cheap! You can likely score great deals on sports equipment and even find brand new mattresses if you’re in the market for a new bed!


Here are 19 ways to double your dollar in 2019!

Join The Discussion

Comments 135

  1. Angelica

    I like to shop on the goodwill online. I find some pretty great deals on the website. I’m addicted and I check it every day.
    https://www.shopgoodwill.com

    • Jamie

      Me too 🙂

    • Yvonne

      I like shopgoodwill.com too but the shipping for certain items is just crazy.

  2. Mona

    In Houston Goodwill Stores are way overpriced. I can find better deals at Kohls or Walmart — perhaps even Dillards outlet – than Goodwill. One other thrift store starts with clothing marked down to $1.50 on Monday and decreasing .25 per day until only .25 on Saturday. However, I am amazed at the number of people purchasing clothing at Goodwill when Kohls and Walmart are an arms length away.

    • Rebecca

      I prefer thrift shopping because I can get better quality stuff (J Crew, LL Bean, etc.) than Walmart, and I like the idea of reusing clothing that’s still in good condition. It’s also the thrill of the hunt because you never know what great stuff you’re going to find! It is hard sometimes though, because you can’t trust sizing – you never know what’s been shrunk or stretched out so everything has to be tried on.

  3. Elaine

    I work for Goodwill in Florida and our CEO does not make millions. That was a rumor passed around some years go. We are a non profit who support a lot of programs. Some programs are the homeless program, Traumatic Brain Injury, Adult Day Training, Mentoring youth who are labeled as failures, Charter School for persons 13 to 22, Deaf Services and Lighthouse for the Blind and Autistic Program. If you’re interested in seeing our programs in detail, go to gulfstreamgoodwill.org There you will see what we do with the money we make in our stores. It’s true every Goodwill is different, but the stores we have in Palm Beach County are amazing and there are tremendous deals.

  4. Shannon

    Why are all the comments deleted on this post? People arguing?

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Be sure to click on “older comments” to find all of the others! It seems there is more than one page of comments for this post. Hope that helps!

  5. Ann Stokman

    Excellent tips!

  6. Pat

    Not all Goodwills are the same. Ours never have coupons, never have sales, other than the $1 color tags every week on clothing. They are the worst thrift store for bargains.

  7. Rebecca

    I prefer thrift shopping because I can get better quality stuff (J Crew, LL Bean, etc.) than Walmart, and I like the idea of reusing clothing that’s still in good condition. It’s also the thrill of the hunt because you never know what great stuff you’re going to find! It is hard sometimes though, because you can’t trust sizing – you never know what’s been shrunk or stretched out so everything has to be tried on.

  8. SaraJT

    I love shopping at my local Goodwill store. The town I live in isn’t the biggest so this particular store gets a lot donations from Target of all kinds of items. During my pregnancy I was able to find almost all of my baby stuff here for super cheap. All brand new items in their packages from target such as vibrating seat, swing, bath tub, potty training chair, Carter’s clothing, jumper, baby carrier, car seat covers, etc. I was even able to stock up on boxes of baby wipes and baby diapers of all sizes! I’m so grateful for this store. I don’t think I could have paid full price for everything at Target. No need for coupons here 🙂

  9. Erica

    My local goodwill stores do not have $1 days, we have 50% off one day a month and its a mad house. Things are so overpriced, $5 for jeans $3 for kids, $8 dresses…its gotten ridiculous. I can go to the TJ Maxx or Walmart clearance aisles and get new stuff for the same price if I look often enough.

  10. nancy

    Goodwill Stores are privately owned. Therefore they live well from your charity. I donated for years thinking I was helping the needy. Not so…A new store was added in Lou, Ky… prices more than doubled. There are charities that clothe needy families and help people with home furnishings. Hosparus has stores that help the sick people they provide care for. Know what organization is really for helping others

  11. Patricia Faulks

    I am glad to know that they have goodwill online shopping I like shopping online.

  12. Patricia Faulks

    I love shopping online at goodwill

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