Saving money for travel is an important part of any family budget. For moms wanting to keep their travel style intact, they need to get creative with how they save money for both travel and keeping their wardrobe up to date. Shopping at thrift shops like Goodwill is one of my top ways to save money, whether we need household goods or just a new-to-me purse. However, I also shop the sales at boutiques and department stores so I can stay current with the latest styles as I traipse across the globe with my kids in tow.
Enter the Bon-Ton Goodwill Sale.
Shopping for a Cause
On a cloudy day in March, my friend Cecilia and I headed north to York, PA. I was desperate for a new raincoat and a little something special for my trip to Ireland with the kids later this month. My friends at Goodwill had told me that Bon-Ton, a department store in York, PA, was having a crazy sale that weekend. On top of that, Goodwill had teamed up with Bon-Ton so you could get additional coupons for discounts off Bon-Ton items when you donated your clothing and household goods at the store.
I had just cleared out my winter clothes. My rule of thumb: If I haven’t worn it all season, it gets donated. The boys were also growing (again), so their drawers needed to be purged. We piled two massive bags of clothes into Cecilia’s car and drove north.
Overwhelmed by Savings at Bon-Ton
As a true believer in the Goodwill mission, I teamed up with Goodwill to demonstrate exactly how this sale works. I purged our closets and was given a budget of $300 to show just how much you can grab when you shop the semi-annual Bon-Ton Goodwill sale. We arrived at Bon-Ton with our two overflowing bags and the sales women were floored.
You see, I thought we just got one 30% off coupon per donated item. Nope. We received three 30% off coupons per item donated. We guesstimated that we had at least 60 items between the two of us. The sales woman simply handed us a massive stack of coupons and told us to have fun. Off to shop we went.
Now, I never have trouble spending money, but for some reason, we just could not get rid of that $300! It’s not that the merchandise wasn’t great. Nope. It was that the sale was that good. Every time we thought we had spent enough—a $225 London Fog rain coat, two pairs of jeans, a tank top, undies, a beautiful shawl—surely it would put us over. No, we still had $100 left thanks to the sale prices and our coupons.
I headed to the Lancôme counter to grab a new lipstick and concealer. We added in two packs of Cecilia’s favorite face wipes, and a cute top. Lancôme even gave us a bonus gift! And yet, we still had $20 to spend. A few locally-produced Pennsylvania lavender candles later, and we finally hit our limit of $300 with plenty of 30% off coupons to spare.
Four massive shopping bags later, and it was time to refuel in nearby Gettysburg. We felt great about our shopping trip. We had helped out the community, cleared out our closets and I was ready for my next trip.
So, what was this sale really all about, besides a little girl-bonding time and refilling our closets?
The Power of the Bon-Ton Goodwill Sale
Since 1994, Goodwill has been teaming up with the Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. to collect clothing and household goods, bringing much needed items to Goodwill stores, and putting savings back into your pocket. But this sale goes well beyond helping you look good.
Bon-Ton stores aim to collect more than 1.75 million pounds of donations for Goodwill during each sale. These items are then sold in the Goodwill stores in the communities where they were collected to fuel Goodwill’s job training programs to help our neighbors get the skills they need to go to work. Based on previous years, this one Bon-Ton spring sale alone could provide more than 230,000 hours of services through job placement and training programs at local Goodwill organizations across the country. Not only that, this sale will add to the estimated $184 million in revenue that has been generated since this partnership started, to help support Goodwill’s employment placement and training services.
How does the Bon-Ton Goodwill Sale Work?
Spring and fall are the perfect times to do a little house cleaning and to purge your closets. For every item that you donate, you will receive three 30% off coupons, each good for one item in the store. The coupons apply to most apparel, shoes, handbags, accessories and fine jewelry. The coupon is worth 15% on cosmetics, fragrances, watches, tech/electronics, furniture, home store and other categories throughout the store (double check your coupon for exclusions).
What items can you donate?
- Business suits
- Accessories, belts, scarves and hats
- Soft home goods, such as blankets, table cloths and napkins
What if you have nothing to donate?
Everyone has something they no longer need in their house. I don’t know about you, but my kids are always growing, so it was easy to purge our closets. If you don’t have time, or just gave a massive bag of hand-me-downs to a friend, you can also donate a dollar to get a 30% off coupon. Every single dollar will go directly to Goodwill.
Which Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. are participating?
- Boston Store
How is Goodwill helping the community through this sale?
Many of us know about our local Goodwill organizations and that they do “good,” but do you actually know what they do and what all of this money they are raising through the sale is going towards? As I dug deeper into the organization, I realized that Goodwill does a lot more than I had ever known about.
- Goodwill organizations provide services to people who are unemployed or underemployed, including veterans and military families, older job seekers, youth and young adults, and people with disabilities
- Services include job training, career counseling, computer training, and resume and interview advice.
- In 2016, local Goodwill organizations placed 313,000 people in jobs in the U.S. and Canada. This is huge in today’s economic market.
- In 2016, more than 35 million people accessed Goodwill’s education, training, mentoring and online learning services to strengthen their skills via a computer or mobile device. All of those services cost money, and Goodwill organizations don’t charge a dime for them thanks to donations and fundraisers like the Bon-Ton sale.
Saving money for travel doesn’t have to be hard or a hardship. When great organizations partner together, you can not only feel good about spending your money, but save for something you love doing as well. When we head out on our next adventure, I will be wearing my new raincoat with pride because I’ll know my purchase has helped someone get a job or build skills so they can get a better job to support their family.
This post is part of a paid partnership with Goodwill Industries International. As always, my opinions are my own. I have been a lifelong supporter of Goodwill, and I am proud to work with them on this project and support the incredible work they do in my local community and across North America.