Ex-Goodwill Employee Shares How to Save DOUBLE at Thrift Stores
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Get the inside scoop!
We’re sharing tips & tricks from an ex-Goodwill employee on how to save big bucks at Goodwill! Plus, some important things you definitely want to know before you 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 and some locations might not have them at all. 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.
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, teachers 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!
That’s right! Every week some 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 a loyal Goodwill shopper to save more.
The more you spend, the more you’ll save! If you’re apart of your local Goodwill’s loyalty program, chances are you can score coupons on a future purchase if you spend a certain amount.
“My Goodwill has a loyalty program and you earn $5 every $100 you spend. Clothes are usually in decent condition, we have colored tag sales. Last month the store had a back to school sale and clothes, shoes, and backpacks were 15% off. I scored 50% off the blue tags, 15% off on top of that, plus it was triple points day!!” – Christina
4. Be the first person through the door!
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!
5. Shop at a Goodwill clearance center and pay only by the pound!
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”.
*Note that Clearance Centers are temporarily closed due to COVID, but we’re anticipating their reopening!
6. Save extra cash if you’re a senior or military member.
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.
7. Shop every other Saturday for an extra 50% off.
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.
“My Goodwill has been doing ‘bounce back’ coupons…a coupon for $5 off a $20 purchase valid the following weekend on the bottom of your receipt…pair that with the Sunday dollar deals and I often score awesome items!
My most recent exciting purchase was a beautiful form fitting burgundy Calvin Klein wool peacoat – for a grand total of $1! Plus, I have a goodwill discount card and it was my birthday month, so I got an extra 30% off one purchase, bringing the peacoat down to .70!” – Sarah
8. Find out the best day to make donations.
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.
If your store doesn’t have this, you can still ask for a receipt and claim your donations during tax season for a write-off. Sweet!
9. Expect the unexpected when you shop.
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!
11. Sign up for text alerts to save even more!
Once you find your local Goodwill location, sign up for text alerts to receive coupons and be the first to hear about sales. About every other Tuesdays each month, you can expect to receive your location’s latest news.
“I do love our Goodwills and actually get a large portion of our family clothes there. We get sent text coupons every other Tuesday which usually gives up an additional 10-20% off!” – Sarah