Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The kids and I had to do some shopping to get ready for camp this week. However, with a clothing budget of nil and six kids to outfit, shopping is a bit of a challenge! Thankfully, we have a Goodwill store nearby, so I think we will now be able to live without a washing machine for the entire camp session. Here are some tips I've learned for bargain hunting at Goodwill....

Each week, Goodwill runs a half-price special on a particular color price tag. Last week, all yellow-tagged items were half off. This week, orange is on sale. Also, on Wednesdays, the color-of-the-week is marked down to just 99 cents per item!

This isn't a department store, so don't expect to go in and find racks of clothes organized into groups of just your size. Our local Goodwill sorts clothing into small, medium, large, and extra-large. I've learned to go to the "large" section (yes, I said "large"), and then check the manufacturer's tag for a number size. I grab an armload of shorts/shirts/jeans that I think will be my size before heading to the fitting room. It takes a bit of patience to climb into and then out of ten pairs of shorts, but finding a pair that fits just right for only 99 cents makes it well worth the effort!

Don't buy any garment without trying it on first, and be sure to check for stains, loose threads, etc. The store has a large selection of good-quality items, but you want to be careful not to inadvertently pick up a dud. At Goodwill, brands and quality run the gamut - Eddie Bauer to Cold Water Creek, Hanes to Tommy Hilfiger.

Checking by regularly is the secret to making really great finds. I had taken the boys in earlier this month to look for shorts, with no success - outfitting thin men is sometimes difficult. Anyway, I ran by on Wednesday and discovered a large rack of really nice, brand new men's shorts displayed right at the front of the store. There were lots of shorts with waist sizes of 28 and 30, and, even not on sale, they cost only $4.99 a pair. Bingo! The clerk who checked us out told me that one of the department stores in Jackson donates their end-of-season clothing to Goodwill instead of shipping it to a warehouse. If there are any of these shorts left when blue tags make the 99-cent-special, you can bet I'll be stocking up for next summer!

What are your tips for finding bargains when you're clothes shopping? Any great "finds" you want to share?

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