12 Secrets to Saving at Goodwill

Thrift stores are packed to the BRIM in the wake of the Marie Kondo decluttering trend. Get set to take advantage of some serious bargains with these tips secrets to saving at Goodwill.



I love browsing at thrift shops for clothing and housewares, and here in Ohio I've been lucky enough to find TONS of Goodwill stores.   It's so fun to walk in not knowing what you'll find and I’ve taken found a few unexpected treasures on Goodwill trips in the past! (Take a peek at some of my latest Goodwill finds)

Aside from the thrill of the hunt, Goodwill shopping is a great way to save money, especially if you follow these insider tips . . . 

12 Secrets to Saving at Goodwill



1 .  Know About the Sales

Some Goodwill Stores have a 50% OFF sale EVERY week on a certain color.  In fact, sometimes two colors will be on sale at once!  It’s my darn luck to always get excited about what’s NOT on sale – but that’s where Saturday mornings come in.  Every 1st Saturday of the month, Goodwill has a half off sale for everything in the store! (This varies by area ~ call ahead to make sure your store offers this.)

Once in awhile our local Goodwill will also run a coupon in the paper.  Call and see if there are any specials running before you go, like senior days, $1 Sundays and more.  Special savings vary by area ~ see what's available in your hometown over HERE.




2 .  Drop in Often

If you live near a Goodwill, stop in often, especially if you’re on the hunt for something big.  Just running in and scanning your favorite section for 5 minutes once or twice a week could help you snag a fantastic piece of furniture or home decor.  Good things go FAST, so be sure to pick up something you love quickly because it won't likely last!




3 . Shop Monday or Tuesdays

People normally have yard sales or do a thorough clean-out on the weekends – which means the big items will be dropped off on Sunday or Monday.  Shop Mondays or Tuesdays to get the best selection. 




4 . Shop “High-End” Goodwills

Check out the Goodwill stores in nicer areas for more high-end donations like quality formal dresses, home decor and more.   I’ve been lucky to get some really nice pieces for just a few dollars at some of the Goodwills around here.  I am still in love with this Crate & Barrel wreath that was brand new and still in the box!


5 . Know What to Look For

I love repurposing things I find at the Goodwill – some of my favorite pieces were previously loved, and with a little TLC, they found a new home.  Keep an eye out for picture frames that are easy to repaint, pieces of furniture with good bones and solid wood, unique decor that would benefit from a facelift, name brand clothes with lots of wear left, etc..

For a more detailed list of some of my favorite Goodwill scores – check out these 7 Items You Should Always Look For At The Goodwill.




6 . Use Your Imagination

A little chip, stain or ding could make you pass on an otherwise great piece.  Keep an open mind to what a coat of some pretty chalk paint or some reupholstery could do.  (Like my favorite little chair!)  You can even change dated goldtone metals with a simple can of spray paint!

If it helps you, make a Pinterest board full of projects that are just right for Goodwill items, and scroll through it before shopping to get inspired.

This cane chair I found above is pretty bad, but it's only $14.99.  I can imagine it being SO cute with a little paint and fabric – here's a similar one that was redone well!




7 .  Be Clingy

I’m an indecisive shopper, and I usually have to mull over whether or not something’s worth the sticker price, if I can really pull off this crazy project I’m dreaming up, and if my husband will kick me out for dragging home one more castoff . . . 

If you’re like me – here’s a tip – grab that item and put it in your cart while you decide!  If it caught your eye, it’ll probably catch someone else’s eye while you’re wandering around deciding. 




8 . Shop for Holidays

This ones might not have jumped out at you right away – but one of the secrets to saving at Goodwill is to shop the Holiday Decor section.

Some of the cutest holiday decorations I own were either fluffed up from the Dollar Tree or picked up at the Goodwill for a song.  You can get some seriously cheap wreaths, ornaments, trees and more for Christmas decorating.  And beyond that – it's a really inexpensive way to stock extra serving dishes and platters for company.

For Halloween – save a TON by browsing their costume rack.  Choose from costumes that are new in the bag, or piece together fun dresses and accessories.




9 . Make a Beeline for the Dressing Room

If you’re looking for clothes – this is one of my favorite secrets!  The fitting room rack often has some of the cutest stuff and best name brands in the whole store.  It’s a good first stop, to see what other women already spent time plucking out, and discarded when it didn’t fit quite right.




10 .  Watch for Flaws

If you really like something, double and triple check for any holes or tears – for two reasons.  If you can’t mend it, you might want to put it back.  But even if you can mend it – show the flaw to the cashier and ask if they can take any more off.  They’ll likely knock off an extra 50% for you!




11 . Resell Valuable Items

If you have an ebay account or participate in a Facebook Group selling group – reselling your Goodwill finds could mean a little extra income.  There’s usually a market for vintage and antique items, extra-nice name brand clothes, and rare collectibles.

If you’re new to reselling, start small and test the waters with one or two items before spending much.  It’s best to be an expert at whatever it is you decide to sell, so you know what it’s worth, and if it’s in acceptable condition.




12 . Be Realistic

Just because you’re at the Goodwill doesn’t automatically mean everything’s a great deal.  Decide if it’s something you really want/need and if you can justify the cost.  If it’s just too expensive – try to be patient for another yard sale.

And if you don’t really love it – don’t get in the mindset that just because you went and found it, you must take it home with you.  You’ll probably survive just fine without it!




Looking for more ways to save at Goodwill? Here you go . . .





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  1. The Goodwills in my area will give a book from the kids’ shelf (marked $.99 or less) to kids free when they come in. Picking out a book makes my kids much more likely to stop in with me!

  2. My area, it’s the LAST Saturday of every month that is 50% off

  3. I still use my name to save 5% off $25 or more. They had a savings card years ago and if you had one they still except it.

  4. I’m upset with Goodwill, as they don’t donate goods and clothing to people, they basically sell for profit. So, we now donate to the Vietnam Veterans. If I’m shopping, I would rather buy from another person (help the small business) on Poshmark, ThredUp, Etsy, or other marketplace.


  1. […] If you are a deal shopper, there are incredible deals to be found at Goodwill. Shoppers can score name-brand items or barely used items for a fraction of the retail cost.  To make your shopping experience better, we found these tips over at Passionate Penny Pincher. […]

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