16 Best Money-Saving Tips at Goodwill You Need to Know

Goodwill is one of the most inexpensive thrift shops you can find in the United States. It is a non-profit company that provides community-based services, employment placement, and job training to help those who are unable to obtain a job.

Goodwill accepts donated items from anyone in most categories, such as clothing, shoes, books, appliances, toys, and more. They then take these items and resell them in their stores.

Since the items are gently used, you can expect to find a steep discount on all of the items listed in Goodwill stores. Even though Goodwill prices already seem low, there are plenty of ways you can save money at these thrift shops. Check out our top ways to save money at Goodwill that you need to know.

1. There are No Coupons or Promo Codes at Goodwill

While you may find retailers or online sites trying to offer special coupons or promotional codes, Goodwill does not have any. Plus, they don’t sell their products online, so a promotional code would not be applicable. If you do find coupons through an online source, beware. These coupons are fake and will not be able to be used inside a Goodwill store.

2. Check Color Tags For an Additional 50% off Discount

Every single week, Goodwill will have a sale on a specific colored tag, and if you find an item you want with that tag, you’ll receive 50% off the regular price. You’ll typically find clothing that is tagged with either a yellow, blue, red, green, or clear tab attached to the item. 

To determine which color is on sale, check out the information board, which is located near the front entrance. If you can’t find the board, ask an employee. Each Goodwill store will choose its own color sale each week, so it’s important to note that the color will vary by location

3. Check Goodwill Stores Frequently

Goodwill receives donations every single day. Dedicated staff members work in the back room sorting through donations, tagging them with a price, and then stock the shelves with those items. It’s important to check back frequently inside Goodwill stores to see new merchandise.

Plus, your browsing will become a lot easier because you’ll recognize items you’ve seen before and those that have just been recently added. If you find a deal you love, purchase it quickly. There are typically no duplicates of items at Goodwill, so you’re unlikely ever to find it again if you don’t buy it at that moment.

4. Dig Through Goodwill’s Shelves to Find Deals

A big reason why many shoppers can’t find the best deals at Goodwill is that it’s hard to dig through each of their overcrowded shelves. This can seem very overwhelming when you first walk into a Goodwill store.

However, you can score some hidden deals by taking the time to dig through each rack. To make it easier on yourself, visit Goodwill during the middle of the week or early in the morning when the store is less crowded.

5. Shop at Goodwill on Mondays or Tuesdays

If you want to find the best deals, head over to Goodwill on either a Monday or Tuesday to find new, fabulous deals. Typically people will clean out their closets or have a yard sale during the weekend. Any items they don’t sell will end up being donated to a Goodwill. You can usually find bigger ticket items such as furniture or appliances on Monday and Tuesday.

6. Shop at High-End Goodwill Stores

If you’re looking for more upscale or name-brand items, you’ll want to head to Goodwill stores that are located in nicer areas. The items you’ll find inside a Goodwill store depend on who has donated to the specific store. If you choose a Goodwill in a lower-income area, you’re less likely to find name brand or high-quality items.

7. Join Goodwill’s Loyalty Program

Some individual Goodwill stores will offer loyalty programs to their customers. The idea is that the more you spend, the more money you can save. Plus, depending on the location, you could even receive coupons to use at a later time. The loyalty program varies by location, so you need to find your local Goodwill store to see if this offer is available to you.

8. Find a Goodwill Clearance Center and Pay By the Pound

Goodwill does not want the products they receive to end up in landfills. To help with these issues, Goodwill stores send items that are unable to sell at regular stores to Goodwill clearance centers, or also referred to as outlet stores. To find a clearance center near you, you’ll need to search for a location on Goodwill’s website. At Goodwill clearance centers, you’ll pay by the pound instead of per item. If you’re looking for lightweight items like clothing, you’re likely to save a lot of money!

9. Save Money if You’re Military or a Senior Citizen

Most Goodwill locations offer special discounts for military members and senior citizens. Military members can save 10% every day on their purchase by simply showing a military ID card. There are specific days for senior citizens to shop to receive anywhere from 20% to 40% off. To find out more detailed discount information for seniors or military members, you’ll need to contact your local Goodwill store, as days and sales can vary.

10. Employees Receive an Additional 20% Discount

If you want a permanent discount at Goodwill stores, you should consider working at a Goodwill location. Employees receive many perks such as paid time off, dental, vision coverage, tuition reimbursement, retirement plans, and 20% off all items in the store. At special times of the year, this discount will rise up to 30%. You can save a ton of money by working at Goodwill. Plus, you’ll always know when new merchandise has been added to Goodwills shelves.

11. Shop in January and August to Find the Best Deals

There are two times of the year that you’ll find a large amount of inventory marked down. At the end of July, you’ll find many school items marked down. In January, you can often find holiday merchandise on clearance. Goodwill needs to make room for better-priced inventory, so they resort to marking down their old items to make room for the new.

12. Find Clearance Items with Problems 

Before checking out all of the merchandise in a Goodwill store, head straight to the clearance section. Goodwill needs to get rid of their clearance items to make space for more donations, so if you find something wrong with it, they’re likely to give you a discount on top of the marked down price. Reasons you could ask for a discount might include a rip, missing button, or a stain.

13. Check the Fitting Rooms

If you’re going to Goodwill to find some new clothing, you need to follow this tip. Make sure to head over to the fitting rooms to check the rack of clothing that other women have picked out, tried on, but decided against purchasing.

The fitting room is commonly full of the best name brands and more desirable pieces available in the store. This hack will save you time, money and will lead you to some of the cutest clothing.

14. Find Items you Can Repurpose

Many items at Goodwill are not in the best condition, but with a little love, you can turn them into an item you will absolutely love. Look out for things such as dressers, chairs, or picture frames. Once purposed, use a little paint and elbow grease to transform the item.

15. Avoid the Electronic Section

There are some electronics you can test in-store if they use an outlet, but not every item can be plugged in. Some may require batteries to operate. Goodwill does not carry batteries or fill electronic items with batteries. This presents a problem when purchasing an electronic item because you won’t know if it actually works, or has some type of issue. While the staff is supposed to check it before it hits the floor, that doesn’t always happen.

16. Resell Valuable Items

Goodwill often does not know the actual value of the items they sell. You can find brand-names, vintage items, collectibles, or antiques at your local thrift store. After purchasing these products for low prices, you can go to an online marketplace, such as eBay, to sell these items and earn a few extra dollars.

Goodwill Has Plenty of Ways to Save

While there aren’t any promotional codes to use at Goodwill stores, there are so many creative ways to save money at their thrift stores. We hope this list helped you find some fantastic ways to save at Goodwill. Share your favorite saving tip below.

Laura is an experienced copywriter and a koopy.com contributor from San Diego who enjoys creating a better world through writing. In her free time, you can find her playing with her three puppies, working out, or surfing at the beach.

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