One of the best frugal living tips is to buy things second-hand. You can save a lot of money on furniture, books, clothing, and other items by shopping at thrift stores and second-hand stores.
One of the best places to do that? Goodwill!
With more than 3,300 stores in the United States and Canada and an online store, Goodwill is one of the biggest thrift-store chains. (You can also donate your used stuff to Goodwill and get a tax-deductible receipt- read more about all the places that take donations.)
If you want to save even MORE money at Goodwill, follow someone these expert tips on saving money at Goodwill!
Former Manager Shares How To Save Money at Goodwill
Emma is a former manager at Goodwill. She worked at a Goodwill Location in Michigan for nearly six years before leaving and starting her own venture (You can check it out here: ModestFish).
She says, “When working there, we always did our best to provide the best deals for everyone so we could simultaneously help all parties on both ends of the spectrum.” She shared the following money-saving tips with us!
Wait a Few Days
After four days (this was our store’s policy), we would perform a store rotation, meaning most items that have not previously been discounted but have failed to sell will be discounted 15-30% from the current price we have on there. This is why you will find items with 2, 3, or sometimes even four stickers stacked on top of each other a lot of the time.
If you find an item that you really want, you have three options. Purchase it at that price, wait a couple of days and come back (maybe risky) and hope it’s not been sold at the new discounted price
Come Back and Ask for a Deal
If you see that an item hasn’t sold or been discounted after four days, then ask a staff member or manager if they can cut the price an additional 10% or so. Sometimes we will discount it even more than the customer is requesting, and we are happy to help! It will never hurt to ask.
Ask for a Better Price
We do not have professional appraisers for our items by any means. Often, we resort to good searches or our own intuitions when we price new items. If you feel an item is overpriced for what we have it listed for (and we aim for 90%+ off the retail prices), ask us about it. We will be more than happy to look into it and cut you an even better deal than you were anticipating.
How To Save Money at Goodwill
Goodwill is a favorite for thrifty shoppers! Besides the expert advice from the former Goodwill manager, we have some other money-saving experts who share their best Goodwill money-saving tips!
Shop Early in the Morning
The earlier in the day you shop at Goodwill, the more money you can save. Employees price new items at night, so you can find the best deals as soon as the store opens the next day. Usually, the best discounts get snapped up quickly, so you definitely want to shop there early in the day.
Donate and Get a Coupon
Besides the sweet tax-deductible receipt you get for donating your old stuff, Goodwill sometimes runs promotions. You’ll receive a coupon for your next shopping trip if you donate items on a special donation day. You can save additional money at Goodwill by using these coupons. It’s a great motivator to declutter your messy house! (Karen Condor)
Sign Up for the Club Goodwill Reward Program
How To Choose the Best Day To Go To Goodwill
Check the Store Calendar for Deal Days
Before you start thrifting, plan your visit. Some Goodwill stores offer additional discounts on specific days and times of the week. Check the calendar online to save up to 50% off on your next visit. When is the best time to shop at Goodwill? Whenever they are running a sale or promotion. Don’t forget to go early in the morning to get the absolute best deals for your budget.
Shop the Tag Color of the Week
Most Goodwills will have what they call the “tag color of the week.” This means that you will save 50% on all merchandise with that color tag. They will post online what color is for the week, so if you plan, you can spend half the price that you normally would. (Alejandra Cerball)
Use Your Military Discount or Your Senior’s Discount
Goodwill offers a Military member Discount where military members get 10% off on Tuesdays, and a Senior Citizen Discount where seniors get 10% off on Wednesdays, so if you are a member of either of those groups, make sure to hit goodwill on those days.
Thrifting at Goodwill
Choose the Right Store
Since Goodwill is stocked with donations, every store will have very different stock. Shop around at various goodwill areas, and you can usually find one or two that constantly has the best deals. If you are looking for something specific, you can shop around and go to many different stores- you never know what you may find. It’s all part of the hunt!
Set a Budget
Protect yourself and your money from impulsive buying at Goodwill. Shopping at thrift shops doesn’t mean it can’t drain your wallet. Undeniably, Goodwill is a goldmine of pre-loved items. That’s why getting lost and dropping every beautiful item into your cart is so easy.
Having a budget allows you to focus on things that you really need. It limits you from concentrating on cheap items that will eventually rob your wallet since you will find them unnecessary after. Even though you don’t have a list of things you will buy, setting a budget can steer you from overspending. (CreditDonkey)
One of the best ways to cut down your living expenses is to save money on all your purchases. Shopping at thrift stores is just one of the many ways you can save money.
Interested in even more money-saving tips? Check out Grocery Shopping on a Budget!
7 thoughts on “Frugal Mom Shares Expert Tips on Saving Money at Goodwill”
I actually love shopping at thrift stores for books. Kind of a scavenger hunt with a nice $2 hardcover reward if you find a book you’re interested in. I’ve usually got 100 or so books on my to-read list at any given time and get a little dopamine hit when I find one at Goodwill.
Finding used books is the best! I will admit that I have a bit of a problem when it comes to used books- I buy way too many of them
I’ve donated stuff to GoodWill but did not realize they had 3,300 stores.
Thanks for your advice, unfortunately several of the suggested strategies do not apply in my local GW stores. Goodwill’s are regional/local in their management and have different policies in different locations. One GW I shop at that is not near my house has 99 cent Monday’s on certain colored tags. The GW nearest my house NEVER has sales like that and the Senior discount is on Tuesdays not Wednesdays and there are NO rewards programs or coupons EVER. So check your local GW and ask about the policies locally.
I am a senior living on a fixed budget at my favorite shopping experience is Goodwill I donate to them and whenever I am well enough to get out that’s where I head I have two favorite stores that I go to and sometimes I come out with nothing but most times I do buy something and I can do a whole 2 hours worth of shopping and spend maybe $5 and hopefully I’m helping somebody on the other end
Each regional Goodwill does its own thing. For instance, our local Goodwills do not let you negotiate a price or haggle, nor do they have “senior” discount days, “military” discount days, “student” discount days, etc. Although they have color of the week promotions, they have 6 or 8 colors that they rotate through in order. By the time a given color is up, the merchandise with that tag color has been in the store for more than a month. Usually, you won’t find very many items with that color tag by then, and those you find are often shopworn things you wouldn’t want. You also need to be careful about their prices: I have found our Goodwill selling plain old used rubber flip-flop sandals marked $6.99 — Walmart sells the same type of shoes for $3 (and of course theirs are new), while a competing thrift store sells their donated flip-flops for 50 cents each.
Found the above comment is the most accurate at least at the Goodwill I worked at. Goodwill is a nonprofit but that doesn’t mean they aren’t making any profit. They have overhead, like all the tv ads they do, rent, lighting, employee salaries, on and on. Also a corporate board getting a nice 6 figure compensation. With that said they are doing something good employing hardship cases such as seniors and the first time workers.