I’m A Frugal Shopper: Here Is How I Save Money At Goodwill

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.

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.

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 requests, and we are happy to help! It will never hurt to ask.

Ask for a Better Price

Wondering if you can negotiate at Goodwill? They do not have professional appraisers for our items by any means. Often, they resort to good searches or our own intuitions when they price new items. If you feel an item is overpriced for what they have it listed for (and they aim for 90%+ off the retail prices), ask them about it. They 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 when 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! 

Sign Up for the Club Goodwill Reward Program

Did you know you could get a reward point for shopping at Goodwill? Another way to save money at Goodwill is to sign up for their Club Goodwill Reward Program. It’s free to join, and there are many benefits. You will receive 1 point for every dollar spent and redeem it for $5.00 once you hit 100 points.

They also have customer appreciation days where you can save up to 25%. So, if you stack that with their tag color discount, you can save 75% off your purchase. 

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.  

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 afterward. Even though you don’t have a list of things you will buy, setting a budget can steer you from overspending.

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!



Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

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