Shopping at Goodwill Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are full of bargains.

Goodwill thrift stores are a wonderful resource for frugal shoppers. Although sorting through the merchandise does require some patience, there are often great bargains available for those who are willing to look.

About Goodwill Thrift Stores

Goodwill thrift stores are owned by Goodwill Industries International. For more than 100 years, this organization has helped provide people in need with job training and career development skills. Goodwill's clients include people who struggle with homelessness, welfare dependency, and lack of education or work experience. Many of Goodwill's clients also have physical, mental, and emotional disabilities to overcome. Collectively, Goodwill Industries International serves more than 850,000 people each year.

Goodwill thrift stores sell donated items to people in the community and use the profits to help fund Goodwill's job training programs. If you need to clean out your closet, this is a simple way to help serve your community in the process. Since Goodwill is a recognized non-profit organization, you may also claim a tax deduction based on the value of your donation. However, it's best to consult a qualified accountant for specific advice in this area.

While a number of charitable organizations have been criticized for their high operating costs, Goodwill reports that 83 percent of the money earned at its thrift stores is used to directly support its community programs.

Reasons to Shop at Goodwill

Why shop at Goodwill thrift stores? There are more reasons than you might expect to take advantage of the bargains at your local Goodwill. For example:

  • Obviously, shopping at Goodwill saves you money. Whether you're trying to make it through a period of unemployment or simply working to save money for a goal such as funding a special family vacation, Goodwill is a great choice for the finding affordable merchandise.
  • Buying the items you need at Goodwill helps the environment by reducing the amount of waste that ends up in local landfills.
  • If you're decorating your home, head to Goodwill for affordable furniture, wall art, and room décor accents. Whether your style is traditionally elegant or fun and casual, you can find what you need at your local Goodwill store.
  • Crafty people know that Goodwill can be a wonderful source of supplies for their projects. Snip the buttons off old clothes for your sewing projects, take apart costume jewelry to design new accessories for yourself, or look for old books and magazines to use in decoupage crafts.
  • When you're dieting, it's a great feeling to see those unwanted pounds disappear. However, buying an entirely new wardrobe when you're still losing weight is often just not practical. In this case, you can head to Goodwill to pick out some clothes to tide you over until you reach your goal weight.
  • If you need a costume for a school play or Halloween party, look for hats, wigs, jackets, and accessories at Goodwill. With a little creativity, you can transform yourself into a bag lady, old man, pirate, firefighter, librarian, or teacher.

If you're having trouble finding a Goodwill store in your area, the locator tool on the Goodwill Web site may be of assistance.

Online Shopping

Love online shopping? If so, you'll want to check out Shop Goodwill. This Web site lets you bid on items from Goodwill stores across the United States, much like how you would purchase merchandise on eBay. You can either browse the selection of merchandise by category or search for items using keywords or price ranges. Shop Goodwill is operated by Goodwill of Orange County in Santa Ana, California, and is the first Internet auction site created, owned, and operated by a recognized non-profit organization.

Although online shopping is certainly very convenient, it's important to keep in mind that the selection of merchandise in the Goodwill online store will change on a regular basis as items are sold and new donations arrive. If you're looking for something specific, you'll want to make sure you visit the site often.

Shopping at Goodwill Thrift Stores