Save Big Using These Goodwill Thrift Store Shopping Tips!

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More Store Shopping Hacks

We’re sharing tips & tricks on how to save big bucks at your local Goodwill thrift store!  You’ll definitely want to read this info before you shop.

woman shopping inside

Feeling thrifty? Get the inside scoop!

I’ve been shopping at my local Goodwill stores for many years and believe it can be a valuable resource for scoring deals for the home and family. Plus, in my opinion, thrift store shopping is such a FUN treasure hunt. I would 100% pick a good thrift store adventure over a big box retail trip any day!

paying at the register goodwill

Whether you’re a thrift store expert or a newbie, I’ve rounded up some helpful information to help you save even further at these affordable and adventurous stores.

It’s also worth noting that some of these same tips can also be appled to various other thrift stores to save money. This post is not sponsored by Goodwill, but rather meant to be helpful, and FUN! 

goodwill store inside clothing

Hip Tip: Before I jump into all the juicy details, it’s important for you to know that all Goodwill’s are individually managed. 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. 

woman in front of goodwill thrift store

Here are all my top tips and tricks to save BIG at Goodwill thrift stores:


1. Sign up for the monthly newsletter Goodwill coupon or text alerts to save even more!

woman using goodwill coupon

Once you find your local Goodwill thrift store location online, sign up for their email newsletter or text alerts to receive coupons and be the first to hear about sales. At my location, we get an extra 20% off coupon via email that we can use over and over without any limit. You just have to spend over $20 to use it.

Sometimes if I go thrifting with a shopping buddy, and don’t spend $20 we will combine orders at the cash register to get the extra 20% off and then even up later.


2. Stay up to date with your local store’s sale calendar.

goodwill calendar

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, lots of folks don’t 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.


3. Go on the weekly color tag sale days and pay as low as $1!

dollar tag sign at goodwill thrift store

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!


4. Shop early in the morning at your Goodwill thrift store!

woman in goodwill holding a bowl

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

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. I find the best stuff when I am there right when my store opens!

woman pointing to goodwill price tag

As just one example, check out this large vintage pottery bowl I found recently priced less than $6 and I spotted it re-selling online for around $200! What a score! I think it also helps to go to a Goodwill location near a retirement community like mine. I find lots of cool vintage stuff!

pyrex mixing bowl

Here’s another example of me being the first in line at my local Goodwill thrift store recently, and scoring a beautiful vintage Pyrex bowl for just $3.49 before coupons! I head straight to the housewares section first to scope things out.


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

woman looking at thrift store clothing

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 like clothing, be prepared for some big savings!

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”.


6. Save extra cash if you’re a senior, military member, teacher, or student!

goodwill senior discount

Both my mom and my mother-in-law are Goodwill shopping experts and are so fun to treasure hunt with! They shop on Tuesdays to get their Goodwill senior discount of 25% off!

  • For seniors: If you’re a senior over 55 years old, you can shop on Tuesday to get anywhere from 25% off.
  • For military members, students, teachers & first responders: Get 25% off with an I.D at Goodwill of Arizona on Sundays.

7. Find out the best day to make donations.

goodwill donation drop off

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!


8. Expect the unexpected when you shop.

golf clubs at goodwill thrift store

There’s definitely a unique collection of goods at every Goodwill thrift store. However, there are goods you may not realize could be there – and for super cheap! You can likely score great deals on pricier sports equipment like golf clubs.

new mattress at goodwill

You can even find brand new mattresses if you’re in the market for a new bed! They started at just $169 for a twin-sized new mattress.


Want to see some of my latest Goodwill thrift store finds?!

goodwill shopping haul

Not only did I score a Pyrex vintage bowl for cheap, but I also found some beautiful white porcelain basket weave plates for around $1 each! This handmade wood cutting board is gorgeous and will be perfect to build a cheese and cracker board. At just $6 it was a nice find as well!


Check out more thrift store hauls and items I’ll always look for at thrift stores!


About the writer:

Lina has a Bachelor's Degree from Northern Arizona University with 11 years of blogging and photography experience having work featured in Today.com, Martha Stewart, Country Living, Fox News, Buzzfeed, and HGTV.


Join The Discussion

Comments 90

  1. anne

    None of these tips are applicable to the Goodwill’s in my area…. no big senior discounts ( only 10% one day a week), and no big discounts. Most of the time I can buy the item new and on sale for our Goodwill prices.

  2. hollyp1234

    I love to thrift shop. I used to thrift a lot in high school with my Mom, but I kind off fell off that wagon with Amazon. I’m getting more back into thrifting and love to go to Goodwill, Plato’s Closet and a few local little shops. Thanks for this post!

  3. acgold

    Goodwill now sorts out the better clothing and electronics and puts them on -line, they never make it to the stores. Our local news station in NY/NJ did a story. Game player systems go directly to on-line.

  4. SueJo

    Lina, love the picture of you and your mom, and mother in law! How fun!!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh thanks! We did have a blast and found some great things 💕

  5. shauna

    I am in South Florida. We used to have the color tags, but about 2 years they took them away. They make you pay $25 for an annual fee and it gives you 25% off future purchases. No discounts, freebies or anything like that. I’ve also noticed that the prices are getting ridiculous .

  6. Shawna

    Wow! Your Goodwill (in photo) looks amazing! It looks clean and organized. I’m Impressed.

  7. tracy

    I shop and donate at local stores that serve our community.
    “Goodwill Omaha CEO Frank McGree was fired in 2016 after a World-Herald investigation revealed that he received between $400,000 and $930,000 annually, while more than 100 workers at his stores made less than minimum wage. (Paying employees pennies per hour, by the way, is perfectly legal thanks to a loophole in the Fair Labor Standards Act)”
    There are dozens more stories of shadiness at Goodwill Industries.

    • Kristi

      Tracy…..I’m so glad you brought that up!! I totally agree with you. I have a very difficult time donating nice things to Goodwill and then they turn around and make way too much money. I thought the whole idea was to keep prices down so anyone could afford to shop there. Since they get all their merchandise for free why is it marked up so much? I’d like to see exactly where the profits are going. I would rather donate to my church, shelters, or other thrift stores that are helping the people in our community. Goodwill has gotten too big for their britches!

  8. Ellen

    Unfortunately 100% of the money goes to the owner of goodwill, none to charities.

    • Ds71

      Goodwill near me is awful. Every time I have gone in the same people are waiting around the doors where the workers bring out merchandise to stock. They follow the worker around until he or she puts merchandise out and grab. After seeing this several times I won’t go back

  9. MaryKay

    Hi Lina 👋 Have you found your Goodwill stores are still keeping good prices? I love a good treasure hunt at Goodwill especially looking for Fiestaware. You have inspired me to go back to our local Godwill and see what I can find! Thanks for all you do! 🙂

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Hi there! Oh I love hearing that!
      Yes, I do think slightly higher just like everything else, however I have been able to score some fun things lately! I have a couple stores new my house so it’s convenient to pop in and see what’s there every so often ☺️

  10. Renee

    The discount for Seniors where I live in Florida is on Mondays.

  11. yesbet88

    .

  12. Ds71

    Goodwill near me is awful. Every time I have gone in the same people are waiting around the doors where the workers bring out merchandise to stock. They follow the worker around until he or she puts merchandise out and grab. After seeing this several times I won’t go back

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