Tips for Shopping Goodwill Dollar Days

There are countless reasons why I love living in Arizona. The weather, the people, and the beautiful hiking spots are just some of the reasons why it will forever be my home.

If you’re an Arizona native and a “thrifter”, you might also appreciate that Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona offer dollar tag days. Every Thursday, Goodwill assigns one tag its “dollar tag”, meaning that all items with that colored tag are just a dollar. Not impressed? Think again. Some items at Goodwill are upwards of $15, so getting it for $1 means a savings of 94%! I don’t know about you, but that’s an offer I just can't resist.

Since I’ve been thrifting for the majority of my life, I’ve learned the ins and outs of a successful shopping trip. Some would even consider me somewhat of an expert. Although thrifting is second nature to me, I completely understand that it doesn’t come as easily to others. That’s why I’m sharing some of my top tips for shopping Goodwill dollar days.

These are the same tips I share with my clients before going on a dollar day shopping spree. I hope they help you successfully land some amazing #goodwillfinds. Good luck!

Get there early


I can’t emphasize the importance of arriving early. This is something I can definitely take advantage of more since becoming self-employed. I also understand that it’s not as easy for those with a full-time job. If you work and aren’t available early in the morning, consider asking a coworker to cover your shift, use PTO, or wait for a holiday.

Arriving early means that you get first picks on some of your favorite items. Trust me, all the best thrifters arrive at or before 9 am, and usually take all the best deals. Getting there as soon as the doors open also assures you a shopping cart, which is crucial when you’re planning on scoring dozens of items.

Go with a plan (a flexible one)


One of the biggest frustrations I hear from clients and followers is the lack of finding good items. When I ask what they’re looking for, most of their responses include, “anything, I don’t really need anything in particular”. Unfortunately, not knowing what you’re looking for is like going into a library and expecting to just stumble upon a book you’ll love.

Tip: Something I do the day or morning before dollar day is open my Pinterest app and search keywords that fit my style (casual chic, street style, etc.). Hundreds of outfit inspirations should appear. Create a board for those ideas and use them to guide you through your trip.

Set a budget


Most people thrift to save money, so don’t be that person that spends way more than they should in one trip. Luckily, dollar days can make your money go a long way. For example, one dress at a fast fashion store costs about $20. Those same $20 on dollar day can get you 20 (sometimes designer brand) items!

Tip: Use your Pinterest outfit inspiration boards to help you set your budget. For beginners, I recommend setting the first trip’s budget at $20. It’s enough to get a few bags full of items, while not feeling like a dent in the wallet (and avoiding the guilt afterward).

Only shop items with the designated color tag


While dollar days might seem glamorous, they can also be a bit stressful. For every 10 items you see, you might find one dollar tag. It’s easy to fall in love with something that’s not on sale, but the way to stay focused, and on budget, is to stick to your plan.

Tip: To avoid shopping the “non-dollar day” tags, pretend they’re a married man (or woman). You can look, but you should know that it’s not meant for you. Look, admire, and move on!

Take advantage of the dressing rooms


It’s easy to get sucked into the dollar day high. The thought that every item is only a dollar makes most people want to take everything, regardless of fit, comfort, style, or possible damage. I mean, it’s only ONE DOLLAR!

Each Goodwill location has more than enough dressing rooms. Take advantage of them and be sure that every item you’re purchasing is something you’d actually wear.

Tip: Make a stack of YES, NO, MAYBE items. When you’re almost ready to check out, make sure that your YES section is on budget, if so, you can consider taking the MAYBE items as well. When hanging your NO items in the rack by the dressing room, check out the items already there. Most of the time, they’re dollar tags, and most likely just didn't fit the person, but hey, they might fit you!

Happy shopping!