Share Crafts

Shop Other Thrift Stores Before Goodwill


I was just reading the comments on the "Saving Money On Jeans" post, and I agree with the poster who said that Goodwill is getting "expensive"! There was a bigger, nicer Goodwill building built here in my city a few years ago, but on recent trips there, I've noticed that the prices are rather high (at least for a thrift store, in my opinion). My best friend used to work for them, and said that they often get brand new merchandise donated to them from Target and other stores. However, there are at least two other different thrift stores here in my city, and I know that at least one of them also gets donations from Target, and they have much lower prices.

Once I bought a Target item from Goodwill, only to find it about $1.25 cheaper at Salvation Army! So my tip is to check out all the thrift stores in your area and compare prices. You might find some of the same items there, and get them cheaper than you would at Goodwill. I do still shop at Goodwill, but after I've looked at the other thrift stores first!

By Lisa from Kenosha, WI



Best CommentPost a Comment

These comments have been rated the best for this article.

By Cyinda 214 1,287 12/19/2009

Remember the Goodwill help others.

Goodwill may be expensive, but they literally saved my ex-father-in-law's life when he was living on the streets about 30 years ago. Eventually he worked his way to becoming one of the higher-up's & started helping others (it's a very long story). So I just wanted to remind you, that when you shop at Goodwill, you are helping lots of people get back on their feet. Goodwill also helps the handicapped, both the physically handicapped and those with mental handicapped that can't get other jobs.

Goodwill and the Salvation Army are a wonderful organizations & are having a very hard time this year because people that usually donate money don't have jobs & may need help themselves. Don't get me wrong, I always shop where the prices are cheap, but it does take a little bit of the sting out of the higher prices when you remember that you are helping others with the extra money you spend!

Another tip, look for other Thrift Stores that are run by volunteers working to help organizations like this. In Seattle we have a wonderful thrift shop that's totally run by volunteers that helps kids without money or insurance at the Children's Hospital Thrift Store. You can even get a tax credit if you donate to them. We also have several thrift stores run by local churches and one ran by the American Cancer Society. It's always nice to know you are helping others with your donations and your purchases.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Linda 1 9 12/20/2009

As a former Goodwill Production Manager I completely agree with you Lisa. Goodwill knows that people will keep shopping their stores so they will keep raising the prices. It has gotten out of control and outrageous over the past few years. They know it!

I now shop at the local Habitat Store for a mere 10¢ on the exact same item at GW for $2.00. To me, it is worth the extra mile of gas to get the much better deals.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Lelia Jo Cordell 51 1,936 12/21/2009

I've discovered the St Vincent de Paul thrift store in our town to have excellent merchandise at great prices. In spite of the good I know Goodwill does (I'm a former client after a car wreck going on 7 years ago,) I've found their prices consistently too high.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By EIW 16 12 12/21/2009

I used to donate to Goodwill on a regular basis - every time I cleaned out my closet or house. Last time, as I was pulling away from the behind the store drop off, I observed one of the employees throwing my NEW pair of woman's boots into the dumpster. I now take my donations to Salvation Army and shop there and church thrift shops avoiding Goodwill if at all possible. I have talked to the men from Salvation Army and they showed me how, when they have an abundance of clothes, they bundle extra items and ship to 3rd world countries to help them. Nothing is wasted. And, they keep their prices lower so others can afford to dress warmly and neatly.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By cybergrannie 32 884 12/21/2009

I have found that Goodwill & Salvation Army are entirely different even in the same city. Local managers have a lot of room to make changes and they usually do as they please as long as money is coming in. Gainesville, FL has a "new" Goodwill that looks like a dump all the time. Their Salvation Army is a true dump. Prices are still not cheap.

Ocala, FL has a beautiful Salvation Army that sells great items but prices have recently gone up also. Goodwill here is known as the "Goodwill Boutique" because of the high prices. Another Goodwill sells everything by the pound so sometimes you can find a good buy but it takes a lot of time sorting through as lots of stuff is just thrown in "tubs".
Bargains are usually found at church or true charitable thrift stores and some yard sales. It is also very difficult to find truly disabled workers at the Goodwill stores.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Edna 1 01/03/2010

I have been volunteering at a church thrift store for the last year .And for the last 6 months now, they have free stuff Mondays, (clothing,books household and more). And have given things for a lot of causes. Very nice and clean place and very low prices, 80% of all clothing is always .50 each. A real old fashion thrift, on the north side or racine, (revival thrift store).

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Ann 1 02/07/2008

If you shop at Goodwill on the 10 items for 5 dollar days you can get jeans for 50 cents.

I dont wear pants or jeans but those days you can get good clothing for cheap.
I buy all my clothes at Goodwill as I am not a slave to fashion and prefer the classic styles.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Cyinda 214 1,287 02/07/2008

This is true, Goodwill IS getting expensive... BUT, unlike Value Village (a chain of super-clean but expensive thrift stores on the West Coast) AT LEAST you know your money that goes to Goodwill Industries DOES go to a good cause... They picked my Ex-father-in-law up off the streets when he had drunk himself out of his home & he stayed sober long enough to become their regional manager! ... We also have several thrift stores in our area run by The Cancer Society & Children's Hospital... This money goes to help fund families that can't pay for medical treatment. I live in a suburb of Seattle & when I see higher prices at thrift stores I ask myself "WHERE IS the money going?" & will I at least help someone by paying these higher prices OR is this a "for profit" Thrift Store? Also, recently at a Cancer Society thrift store I showed them a super-high priced item & told them I do a LOT of thrift shopping & the price was 4 times what it should have been & they reduced the price for me, Which I thought was very cool! This also happened to me at the goodwill. It all depends on who's working the counter & their store policy... Now, we all know that doesn't happen often, but don't be afraid to ask (in a nice voice) & with good manners about them reducing the price of an over priced item... You MAY get lucky!

I have seasonal employment & live on a super-tight budget part of the year, so it gets pretty hard when even the thrift stores (which I depend on) raise their prices! We recently had a super-cheap chain of local thrift stores go out of business because their large building rent was raised... They couldn't afford it, so they closed down ALL of their stores... BOY-OH-BOY were a bunch of us loyal customers bummed out (I'd been shopping there for over 25 years!)... Let the GOOD thrift stores know that if they DO bring up their prices you'll take your business elsewhere and don't be afraid to tell them when you can buy something NEW for less money! They may very well think change their prices.... It's usually the people working in the back who can't speak English (in Seattle) that do the pricing, but I DO ask their manager to relay to them that their pricing has been high lately. (Usually it's a new employee) Especially when I think a new "pricer" has gone to far & made something totally unaffordable & is ridiculously priced... & sometimes, they DO have a "little talk" with them.... This helps ALL the customers, so speak up (nicely) Guys!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By pam munro 523 790 02/07/2008

Prices in thrift shops vary - But watch - even they have sales...I got a vintage colored lithograph, framed, for $7 at a sale at the Salvation Army! It helps to have a repertoire of stores - and to visit them regularly - & also look in at ones when you are out of town...I got a hair straightener for $7 (worth $35, at least) down in San Diego on a visit -

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By (Guest Post) 02/08/2008

The Salvation Army is much more expensive around here. The Goodwill has raised their prices, but they are still a good deal. I think garage sales in nice neighborhoods are still the best deals.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Debbie Dzurilla 28 1,124 02/08/2008

I prefer garage sale prices over the thrift stores in my area but occasionally do find some good things for decent prices at the thrift stores. YES, Goodwill is very high....I am amazed sometimes at the prices I see.....I looked at tops and such for my daughter and the prices were in some cases as high as sale prices at Wal-Mart for brand new...and these were used! A very nice large new Goodwill was built in my town and I do go there on occasion but I rarely make a purchase!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By jean (Guest Post) 02/08/2008

In the western NY area, there are AmVets and City Mission thrift stores whose prices are very reasonable.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Mary Koehler 8 270 02/08/2008

Lisa, Where are the other thrift stores in Kenosha that you shop at?

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By FRUGAL THRIFTER (Guest Post) 02/24/2008

I volunteer as manager on Saturdays at a church thrift shoppe. Every month that has 5 Saturdays in the month, on the 5th Saturday we have a $5 bag sale. Whatever fits in the bag sells is $5.00. Many frugal people visit our shoppe then. Our prices are low and we have good quality items. Many other church thrift shoppes also have the $5.00 Fill a bag sale several times per year. I live in the ft. Lauderdale area, everything here is very expensive.

The goodwill here is super expensive. The salvation army has all clothing 1/2 price on Wednesday for people over 55 years old and also each week there is a different colored ticket 1/2 off. I need good quality clothes to wear to work. Sometimes I can find items in great condition super cheap.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Kathy (Guest Post) 03/09/2008

Here in the south, Goodwill has gotten so high that I can buy almost everything cheaper elsewhere. I stopped going there years ago. We have some really good thrift stores that go for many worthy causes, AA ,battered women,etc.. Once you check their prices,you'll never pay "retail" prices, like Goodwill again.Just my personal opinion. Thanks

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Virginia Gudgel 1 10/22/2008

I couldn't agree with you more! Additionally with Goodwill their prices are all over the place. An example: The PC I'm using at the moment is a Strawberry iMAC I paid $20 for at one Goodwill about 5 months ago. Over the weekend I went to a different Goodwill and saw another iMAC in the "special" case (you know, for those valuable items) with $300 written on it. WTH?? I had them remove the iMAC from the case so I could test it (they also had a mac keyboard/mouse with it); it powered up slowly but the mouse/keyboard didn't work. A different thrift store in the area was trying to sell similar models for $129 or higher. They sat for months (actually they're still there). Yesterday I was at a thrift store that's recently jumped on the whole green movement by renaming themselves to EcoThrift. They had an "ok" Dell laptop w/dead battery (but powers up) in the case for $400. I told them and a few customers around that this wasn't a good deal since you can buy one on Craigslist for $250 or less. Plus a new battery would be around $70.""

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By lockhart (Guest Post) 01/21/2009

The Goodwill today is much over price for what they sell, and in many case's you would be better off going to walmart and looking for sales, or a real thrift store. These items were once given to them to help others in need and at afordable cost. What happen to that?

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Joan 13 1,482 05/21/2009

I have thought all of the thrift stores in my area have been getting higher priced for several years. Also I have an awful time finding decent clothes those places. They jam them on the racks so tightly that it doesn't take long for the clothes to get stretched out of shape.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No


A very good idea to 'shop' but what about the price for gasoline being spent driving shopping around? There's no savings there :-(

As for the negative posts here: I know Goodwill stores price differently in every state and city because prices are all relative to your particular area. It depends on the amount of rent and utilities that particular store has to pay (imagine the rent in a larger city for the square feet of their store and how much they have to pay for electric, water, etc) and the whole point of Goodwill Industries is to train the less fortunate (whether simply uneducated, mentally, emotionally or physically disabled, or a recovering addict) to be able to work a future job that the majority of people turn their noses up at! The majority of people who work for Goodwill donate their time and the ones being trained are not paid.

As for clothes being so crammed on the racks, well, maybe that's because so many people are donating for a good cause but no one is willing to spend time and effort and pay the local going rate as in the days of old. Also, clothes on the rack might get stretched out from people pulling on them and being crammed in but they go back in shape easily by being tossed in the next wash load ;-)

As for if anyone thinks a price is too high for any item? How about old fashioned asking for a lower price at the counter even if it means a bit of time to wait for the supervisor to come on the floor to talk to you ;-)

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Mike Urciolo 6 11 12/19/2009

Another good "buy" at thrift stores (Goodwill, Salvation army, whatever) are picture frames with good matting. Doesn't matter what picture is already inside - you can throw that away. I've had about 15 pictures matted and framed at a local art dealer who does beautiful work, but it's costly. The bulk of the cost isn't labor - it's parts (frames & matting).

I usually keep a xeroxed copy of smaller art prints I want framed and bring them into the stores to see how it looks against their frames & mats.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Gloria Hayes 19 96 12/19/2009

Amen, sister! I have actually found a set of glasses which used to be carried by Dollar General, and I never saw them anyplace else, until I found an odd-number, pieces-missing used set at Goodwill. More expensive than the exact same glasses, Brand new, at Dollar General. Dollar General was still carrying these glasses at the time, so it wasn't an issue of them being antique or a collectors' item. They were just overpriced!

If you will notice Goodwill locations,the ones near housing projects seem to have higher prices..lots of people in public housing have no transportation to go anywhere else,so they have no choice but to pay the higher price.
As far as all that ballyhoo about 'providing job training'-where are all the jobs in a flooded,hurricane ravaged area where thousands of people are homeless?
During Hurricane Katrina,the shelves and racks in my hometown salvation Army were almost bare, and they were understaffed because most of the employees were already in Louisiana, or were taking their shots to provide them at least some protection while they went bravely into the cesspool New Orleans had become.

At Goodwill, that same day, I spoke with the district manager who happened to be in the store, and asked him why it was business as usual;weren't they sending goods or personnel? His reply? "We don't provide any sort of disaster relief".

I asked, "then what DO you do to help people in need?'
Him: "We train people to become employed"

I said "So does the Dept. of Labor, Job Corps,employment agencies and the like" He stared at me a couple of seconds, then turned on his heel and walked off. I wonder how all that"job training" tasted that night to the hungry children; how warm it was to the rain soaked, shivering get the picture.

I have never known anyone who was fed at the local Goodwill shelter, or received assistance to keep the heat on,or got a new start when the house burned down, or even received one can of food from Goodwill.
So where does the money go? The ratio of income from sales and expenses for training have got to be out of balance! And where are all these Goodwill-trained executives? I knew a lady once who said Goodwill trained her for her job. She cleaned the toilets and living quarters at a federal training Center.

My father said in World War Two, he was trapped in a foxhole under fire for two weeks in the Philippines, cold and wet and hungry, and suddenly someone jumped down in the foxhole with him.Before he could turn and fire his weapon, he saw the thermos of hot coffee, and the Salvation Army uniform. Amen

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Pamela 3 12 12/20/2009

We have all but stopped going to Good Will or Salvation army stores in our area. They fix their prices according to prices in the cities and we are rural. Another reason is we have seen things thrown away by Good will that were perfectly fine to sell. I don't know what that was about, but folks started going through their dumpster and Goodwill had a fit about it. (and no, it wasn't drop offs)
Seems strange to me so I would just as soon go to another store.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Bailey36 10 21 12/20/2009

I've noticed that Goodwill for many years is going the same route as the Red Cross, they are for profit agencies that claim to be non-profit, Goodwill [and Volunteers-of-America] pockets most of their income, and charge huge prices for all-donated item, it is shameful. I prefer St. Vincent De Pauls, I cal it Vinnies, the one by me allows me to buy a huge basketful of goodies for $3.00.

I've sent people for help to the above agencies and both Goodwill and Volunteers tell them there is no money, right. After i saw them deposit a van load full of five gallon buckets of cash! Yes, literally they take their money to the bank in five gallon buckets. Go to Vinnie's.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Betty 104 753 12/20/2009

I quit shopping Goodwill long ago after I found things MUCH cheaper even at department stores. I really don't like shopping at Walmart because of the way they treat their employees. I've found my best bargain at other thrift stores and clothes I buy my Grandsons are more often than not cheaper at Kohl's than Walmart using the coupons from Kohls.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Betty 104 753 12/20/2009

I've quit donating to Goodwill for the reasons stated. I have my doubts as to the help they give the community. I give to people thru my local Freecycle online. Probably some of the people there are acquiring things to sell but if they are trying to make a living going that route, it's fine with me.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By kimsukie 5 35 12/20/2009

I worked at Goodwill in the late 80's. I thought their prices were high then for them to be receiving donated (free) items. They also would only reduce there prices so much, rather than next to nothing like they got it. If they didn't get what they wanted they would trash the items rather than donate them or sell at the old Goodwill prices Cheap, next to nothing, at a price a homeless person could afford, or a single parent with very little money. I have not donated 1 item to Goodwill since 1989. And never will.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Wendy Early 1 1 12/20/2009

I too shop at our local Goodwill(s) and have found the prices creeping up. We go to Salvation Army and other local thrift stores. Can't understand why Goodwill's prices are going up. It's very annoying!

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Jane Rader 4 5 12/20/2009

We used to get a $10. coupon for every $100. we spent at Goodwill using our Goodwill card. NO MORE folks. They raised it to $400. Now you must spend $400. before you get a $10. coupon.
Goodwill is not for the poor. The CEO of Goodwill is the highest paid CEO of all charitable organizations. I urge you all to write letters of complaints to Goodwill CEO and boycot Goodwill. Don't expect a reply. They don't want you complaints, Just your money. Readers are right, You do better at other thrift stores.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No


EIW, I hope you reported that instance to the Goodwill superviser with a description of the worker. That's a decades (probably centuries) old way of employees being able to steal items. They come back after store hours and trash dive to retrieve them.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By melissa 202 398 08/02/2014

Great idea, I agree, even this place is getting expensive! Goodwills usually have 50% off day the last Saturday of each month. That's the only time I go now, and you save a bundle then! :)

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By karendewillers 1 3 08/02/2014

The local Goodwill in my city has a posted rule, No Ticket, Item will not be sold". And asking for a lower price goes no where. The staff is mostly college students working part time. I have never seen a handicapped, or even older, worker at any of the Goodwill stores throughout my region.

There are some older and possibly recovering workers at the Salvation Army stores. And they feel less like a Target dumping ground.

I have wanted to donate good, plus sized women's clothing to various Women's shelters but have been told they have enough donations... but I bet not that many donations are in the Plus Size area. And I was rejected in my efforts to donate.

Its a mixed bag when shopping for second hand clothing. I have had success at Clothes Mentor and some at Plato clothing. They are upscale second hand shops.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Janice L. 1 17 08/02/2014

I would be more than happy to shop Salvation Army stores, but I have never seen one. They must be all in the big cities. I have donated to Salvation Army many times. I call the number and they send out a truck. But I've never seen a store. On the other hand, there is a very nice Good Will store in my small town. It is clean and well organized and they have a job center in the back. The employees in the store are mostly older ladies and some younger ones that look needy, but all are very nice and courteous. Items that have been there a while are deeply discounted and if they still don't sell I am told that they are bundled up and sold by the pound.
That is my experience.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Betty F. 4 08/03/2014

Our news station did a story on Goodwill. It was not good. The mentally challenged and disabled got paid pittance, under a dollar an hour or by the piece worked. They weren't being trained they were free labor. Its another company where the CEO's are way over paid. I have refused to shop there since the story. It is not "Good"will. We have many thrift stores here. I've been to many but I shop at one on a regular because their prices and service is good. They do much for the children in our city. Camps, school supplies and other things. I'd rather my money support a good cause than a CEO's pocket.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Bob McCauley 1 1 08/03/2014

Here in Nevada we also have a thrift store called Savers, along with Goodwill who charge state sales tax. Salvation Army on the other hand is a true non-profit and does not charge sales tax.
So I support the non-profit now exclusively.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Gloria Z 10 238 08/03/2014

I've heard that Goodwill doesn't pay their employees much and it's not a charitable store - it's just a resale shop like any other resale shop. Don't confuse it with the Salvation Army stores. The guy who owns Goodwill is making $ big time because he doesn't have to buy his merchandise or pay his employees a lot of $. Makes me wonder if I shouldn't start a resale shop this one?

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Gloria H. 2 08/03/2014

Goodwill does no charity work whatsoever! They do no community disaster relief or anything of the sort. Salvation Army does!
I know this for a fact. I live on the GA/FL border and we are always alert when Hurricane season is active. When Katrina was still a day or two outside of New Orleans, our local Salvation Army stores were ghost towns, practically empty of anything for the household or clothing, etc, and a skeleton crew; in fact I only saw one cashier.

When I asked her where everything and everbody was, she said," they have all had their shots and headed out, except for the ones of us here loading , and as soon as I finish today, I am going to get my shots and leave in the morning with the ones loading the truck now".

I left and drove to Goodwill... business as usual, music playing, store crammed full, even a district manager visiting from Savannah, in his suit and tie. I asked him, "Ya'll aren't packing up and heading out yet?" he asked" what do you mean?" I replied " To New Orleans! There is a major hurricane about to hit ! Those people are going to be needing everything! The Salvation Army is practically empty, and ya'll haven't even started!"

His answer? " We don't do that sort of thing, we are not a disaster relief or community charity agency". I was dumbfounded!
So I asked him, "Well what DO you do then?" He responded, "We train people to be able to be gainfully employed".
Well, whoop dee doo! The Georgia Department of Labor does the exact same thing, for free, without making money off of the donations deceptively garnered from the public, OR the commissions probably charged by Goodwill as an employment agency!

My Daddy, on the other hand, used to tell with a knot in his throat, trying not to cry, about the Salvation Army workers who used to jump into the foxholes, in the battlefield, during World War II,with a thermos of hot coffee, and how much it meant to those soldiers who had been fighting for days on end, cold and hungry, for our country.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By tricia minter 24 47 08/05/2014

I do not support Goodwill. They don't do any charity work at all. Everything they sell is free to them. My Mother called them one time to come pick up a large amount of items and were told they don't do pick-ups on donated items. You have to take it to them! Totally free on their part. She called the Salvation Army and they were glad to pick them up. I used to donate to them, but not anymore. Several years ago I found out how they truly are.

The CEO's get huge paychecks while the workers are paid under $1.00 an hour in most cases. I also found out the stuff that isn't sold is broken and trashed. They could pass it on to other thrift stores, but do not. Several years ago I started giving my unwanted items to my local SPCA. They have their own thrift store. I am a huge animal lover, so that's my place of choice.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Gail W. 4 08/05/2014

I agree about Goodwill being higher than the other thrift stores I go to. My favorites are the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) and (I think this one is just local to my area) CHKD (Childrens Hospital of the Kings Daughters).

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Elizabeth 200 04/08/2015

We have an "American Thrift Store" here and they have good things and price to get rid of their inventory and get out the new. Certain days have certain colors to get 30% to 50% more off as well. I rarely go to Goodwill unless I am looking for a certain thing.

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

By Sandi/Poor But Proud 451 2,086 04/08/2015

Goodwill managers are so over paid it isn't funny. Then, they can legally pay their retarded folks/blind folks .22 an hour. No, that is not a typo. I don't go...period. I go to local stores that support animals and a couple of private places. If you are in the Salem OR area, they are Friends of Felines, Humane Society Thrift and Second Tyme Around. is what I based my statement on. ... disabilities-low-wage_n_3478013.html

ReplyWas this helpful? Yes No

Post a Comment