It's common knowledge that you can score big savings at Salvation Army. But just how big? I'm talking close to free. I feel as if I'm a Salvation Army snob. Why? Because I find it hard to pay more than $0.69 for any item. I’ll return something to the rack if the price tag exceeds my $0.69 limit.

My local Salvation Army store has the best deals on Saturday (where you will usually find me stocking up on clothes) when everything in the store is just $0.69. Each Salvation Army store varies with special deals, coupon and discount days. Ask a clerk to give you a rundown.

Secret No. 1:  Visit Often

Inventory is constantly changing at the Salvation Army as new donations arrive daily. Make sure to visit often and get to know the layout of your store. This helps when there is a great sale and you know what you want; you can go directly to that area first and get your deal before someone else does!

Secret No. 2: Know the Sales

This is key. You need to know when the best deals are!  Given the local Saturday specials, I go scope out the store Friday afternoon and figure out my priority list. Then Saturday I go directly to those items and scoop them up. Before leaving I make sure to check out all flyers for upcoming sales.  Many branches of stores have their own website online that will list their upcoming sales. Google your area to determine if your local branch of Salvation Army has a website. If all else fails, make sure to ask the staff–they will tell you!

Secret No. 3: Patience Is a Virtue

Yes, there is a downfall to the steals you will be getting at your local Salvation Army: sometimes you have to dig. So make sure that when you visit the store on a big sale day you have enough time. Also, anticipate waiting a minimum of 15 minutes. I have waited in line for up to 45 minutes (it was well worth it). Bring your favorite book or crossword puzzle and you can double task while getting incredible savings.

Secret No. 4: Know Your Discounts

Each Salvation Army store has certain discounts on top of their great deals. Most branches have a military discount, senior discount, student discount, and birthday discount. I use my student discount every time I make a purchase and get an extra 10 percent off. Make sure to ask.

Secret No. 5: Clip Your Coupons

Yes, I said it, clip your coupons. Didn't think Salvation Army had coupons? Neither did I until I searched online for my local branch of Salvation Army. They had posted a coupon for an additional $5 off of $20 spent.

Secret No. 6: Get Creative

This is my favorite tip. Get Creative; think outside the box. This takes practice and starts slowly, but soon you'll be getting more and more creative with your purchases. I'm an avid crafter, as I know many are, and I'm always on the lookout for "junk" that I can turn into a treasure for myself or someone else. I purchase tablecloths, sheets, towels, and any other linen that I can get my hands on to use in my sewing endeavors. I have saved thousands using these linens rather than purchasing new fabric from craft stores. I’ve even sold many of my projects (and they would never guess that the final product started as a sheet no one wanted).

Not only do you have the satisfaction of saving money for you and your family, you can also get a feeling of fulfillment for helping a very worthy cause.

This has been a guest post by Sarah from Kalamazoo, MI
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