Saturday, February 16, 2013

Recommendations for Cheap Products at Goodwill

Shopping at Goodwill is an incredible way to save money. It's the only place I shop for almost all of these items, unless I'm requiring something brand specific. By comparing prices from common chains like Wal Mart, Target, Shopko, Best Buy, and others I'll let you know just how much you'll save on these items. For me it's almost always over 50%.

1. Clothing - You can find any and all clothing at Goodwill. I know what you're thinking, "it's all garbage." Yes there is a lot of low quality merchandise in this section of Goodwill. However, there are many diamonds in the rough. About 75% of the clothes I buy, I buy from here. And I dress well! My location tends to have great polo shirts and dress shirts. Most locations have changing rooms. The running price is generally between $3.99 and $12.99. Considering at chains most shirts will run 20 to 30 dollars, that's 50% savings. Goodwill is a great place to find tuxes and suits for special occasions as well. There are plenty of shoes as well, though finding the right size can be difficult. Be sure to wash clothes before use.

2. Candy - Remember the days when candy bars and such were 49 cents each? I do. And I liked those days. That's why I get my candy from Goodwill. They have most the name brands and off brands by the check out area. Candy bars at gas stations have risen to cost around $1.79 each! That's just insane to me. So I buy mine from Goodwill. They're generally under 99 cents each. That's 40% savings. I'll also grab peanuts, soda, cashews, and gum here.

3. Furniture - I'm not too picky about my furniture and I'm not big on Ikea matching all my furniture to a certain style. I like being independent and crafting my own unique style. There's always something new at Goodwill because whenever items get sold, they just bring in new donated items. The selection is so limited at places like Target and Wal Mart. When I put their furniture in my house I just keep thinking how it's probably in a million other houses. Boring! Goodwill has end tables, chairs, sofas, lamps, coffee tables, and anything else you could think of. The prices for furniture are ridiculously low. You'd pay hundreds of dollars for some of the furniture they have for anywhere from $9.99 to $100.00. Considering how much furniture costs in chain stores you're looking at 70 to 90% savings.

4. Books - If you're looking for something specific your best bet is probably Amazon, but if you're just browsing for interesting reads I guarantee you'll find great stuff here. When I look through the books at my local location in Wausau I tend to find tons of great spiritual and political books. There are also philosophical books! I think this is because there are a few college campuses in town. Students and teachers must be donating old texts. The books at Goodwill are generally under $5.00 a piece. My location tends to have a lot sales on books too. Books from chain stores will cost you anywhere between $6.99 and $29.99. So you'll be saving at the very least about 20%. For CD and DVD products you'll want to look elsewhere. I suggest pawn shops like Pawn America for such needs. Goodwill tends to have a lot of old VHS tapes, but that's about it. I just burn all my movies from the internet anyway!

5. Holiday decorations - Tired of overspending on decorations for Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick's Day, and Halloween? I know I am. Like I stated earlier Goodwill has a lot of items that you won't find anywhere else. This is a great way to stand out and find great ornaments that no one has seen before. My location even had mid-quality artificial Christmas trees! Most Goodwill locations will move in and out decorations tailed to each upcoming holiday. I estimate the savings on these items to be between 40 and 60%.

6. Nic Nacks - There are tons of donated nic nacks available at Goodwill. Some of them are low quality, but take some time and pick through. I guarantee you'll find something interesting and pleasing to the eyes. My location tends to have a lot of sports and rustic memorabilia. Considering the prices at small fancy places for nic nacks you're looking at 70% savings at least. There is generally a lot of sports stuff too. If you dig a bit you'll find a lot of rare stuff that people really tend to enjoy. I found a big Badgers pillow for my dad and he loved it.

7. Tools - Goodwill tends to have a lot of packaged tools, generally in the back of the store. The quality isn't as high as it ought to be. However, if you're looking for some basic tools for special needs I highly recommend it. My savings were around 35%. My dad uses a lot of tools and sometimes I'll buy them from here for him.

8. Cups, bowls, plates, and silverware - I don't need a set of fancy spoons or forks or cups. I just want something that's going to effectively hold my coffee in the morning. This is a spot where savings are high, generally around 80%. They have whole shelves of mugs, cups, plates, and silverware. You'll find tons of mugs naturally (who doesn't have too many mugs) as well as finer wine glasses. Generally the mugs and cups are only 25 cents each! Plates and bowls will run you around 85 cents each. Be sure to wash before use.

9. Children's games and toys - If you're struggling with the costs of being a parent shop at Goodwill. You'll find that savings on children's toys will be high, around 60%. Rummage sales are also good for finding very inexpensive toys. I tend to find a lot of great gifts for my family here.

10. Cleaning supplies - There are tons of cleaning supplies at Goodwill for very low prices. Most of the cleaning supplies are off brand names. You'll find carpet, floor, tile, wood, window, and counter cleaning products for around $1.99. Name brands from chain stores will run you double at least. The cleaning products I've tried out tend to work very well. Remember if you're low on money, you can make easy cleaners from bleach or vinegar. I don't use a lot of cleaning supplies, I tend to use just soap and water for most everything. I'm not picky. Saving money is also about having a good mindset.

Find a location near you and start saving! Donate if you can.