With this guide I'm about to let you guys in on some things that only die-hard thrifters know about saving money at the Goodwill, so take notes.
The Goodwill retail store has all of their items color tagged. There is no rhyme or reason to which things get which color barb or sticker during the intake process. Everyday they run a 50% off sale on a certain color barb or sticker, and anything with that color gets discounted at the register. There is a new color each day until the cycle repeats. This is done to make sure that they don't end up with an overstock of inventory. Ever Sunday, the "color of the week" items can be purchased for an even bigger discount. They are marked down to $0.50 at the register! Pretty good, right?
In certain regions, Goodwill retail stores have free apps that sweeten the pot even further. I recommend going on the App Store (for Apple) or Google Play (for Androids) to find out which apps are available for your region. The Goodwill of Southeast Georgia has an app powered by Loyaltree Rewards. I found it in the App Store. They offer a $5 off coupon when you initially install the mobile app. They allow you to earn 1 point for every dollar of our purchase. You use the in-app camera to scan your barcode, and it gets applied to your point balance.
Once you accumulate 250 points, they are redeemable for a 50% off discount on one entire purchase. You simply print the coupon or pull up your barcode on your device for the cashier to scan. Once you redeem the discount, your points reset and you start all over again. I highly recommend saving the discount until you have one of those unbelievable shopping trips when it seems like the store was freshly stocked up with stuff just for you; the kind where your buggy runneth over!
Another awesome way to save is to shop at the Goodwill Outlet stores. Most clothing, shoes, and accessories are sold by the pound. The more you buy, the less you pay per pound. The one in my region sells at $1.59 per pound! When you go, be prepared to dig through "the bins" though, and stay for a couple of hours. I always take along a pair of latex gloves because the bottoms of those bins collect dirt and grime. It's like digging for diamonds in the muck.
Unfortunately, you can't use any coupons or rewards at "the bins", but you may be able to use your receipt to apply your purchase toward your point balance. The Goodwill of the Coastal Empire operates this way. All I have to do is use the mobile app to scan the barcode on the receipt to get my points. If you would like to locate an outlet or a retail store near you, go to www.goodwill.org.
Now you know everything that I know about how to win at Goodwill! After you go, email me a picture and a description of your treasure at Takiela@sutherntwang.com to brag about your finds, and it may be featured here on the website.