Menu

GoodFind

Make a haul this fall with these $10 centerpiece finds

You may have heard of the $5 Goodwill challenge, where participants are tasked with finding a seasonal item to add to their décor for under $5 and typically record their findings and post on YouTube.

Participants always seem to find cool items for their home and at a low, low cost.

With that in mind, I put myself to a similar challenge, but rather than finding a few random items to add to an autumn display, I sought out to create a complete fall centerpiece for under $10. The beauty of a fall centerpiece is its longevity. You can put it out in mid-September and leave it up until after Thanksgiving.

Talk about getting your money’s worth!

I sought out color-of-the-week tags, taking advantage of merchandise that was 50 percent off.

I love what I came up with!

fall table twoCandle holder

With red, orange and yellow leaves, this candle holder would be stunning on your kitchen or dining room table, coffee table or buffet.

The added bonus of this one is that the featured candles, which were $2.99 for the trio, are in a jar so you can burn them.

Total cost: $6.98

fall table threeFall flowers

The colors of autumn look exquisite on a backdrop of white. With a golden yellow or deep red tablecloth, this truly can be the centerpiece of your table.

Extra option: Go with a theme and find an assortment of white vases and dishes to make a splash with one color. Fill the containers with candy corn, acorns, pinecones or other flowers.

Total cost: $7.98 for the vase and two bouquets of flowers

Baskfall table fouret of flowers

There’s no stopping the creativity with this one. Pick a basket that works and build from there. I lucked out
and found a basket with leaf detailing for $3.99 and some inexpensive flowers to go in it.

Total cost: $6.97

fall table fiveCornucopia of flowers

Nothing symbolizes abundance more than a cornucopia, which is a mainstay of Thanksgiving décor. With this centerpiece, the appreciation lasts that much longer!

At $3.99 for the wicker cornucopia, there’s plenty of money left to buy flowers.

Total cost: $8.98

fall table sixGlass candle holders

This item features more color-of-the-week finds, including two tall, glass hurricanes.

I dressed them up with a decorative vine.

Total cost: $9.98

Pumpkin on a pedestal

The star of this show is the heavy-duty pedestal with detailing and height. At $9.99, this item featured the color of the week, which allowed me to find some accessories to go with it.

I added candlestick holders with a wrought-iron look and orange — the color of the season — on top, two pumpkins and a decorative vine.

Total cost: $19.95. It’s my one splurge that goes beyond $10 but is still under $20, which is a major deal in my book. If you want to cut costs, use a larger pumpkin and pass on the vine.

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2014 helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin, through 27 programs and services. The organization includes 26 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. It offers eight Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities. Goodwill NCW uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

5 things to know about Goodwill costume consultants

The hunt is on for the perfect Halloween costume.

To help shoppers with the overwhelming process of choosing the right costume and the ideal accessories to go with it, Goodwill is offering costume consultants at each of its 26 stores throughout north central Wisconsin.

“The costume consultants were tested in stores in 2012,” said Toni Hams-Linduski, merchandising specialist for Goodwill NCW.

“It worked well so we expanded it to all stores in 2013. It started because several team members at our stores kept dressing the mannequins in costumes and customers kept buying them off the mannequins. On busy Saturdays, they began buying them before they could get the mannequin dressed. We realized some customers needed assistance picking out the costume.”

Here’s what you need to know before you head out.

When are costume consultants in the stores?

All stores have costume consultants available during advertised times, which are 1-9 p.m. Fridays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays starting Oct. 9. Special hours are 4-9 p.m. Oct. 26, 1-9 p.m. Oct. 30 and 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Oct. 31.

costume consultant 1What can they help me with?

Costume consultants can help with as little or as much as you need. If you have an idea and want help selecting individual items, they can do that. If you have a costume already and are looking for accessories, they can do that. If you are just beginning the process and need a few ideas, they can do that, too. They are there to help you.

What does the service cost?

It’s free! And better yet, your purchases at Goodwill, a not-for-profit human services organization, benefit the community. In 2014, more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin were improved through 27 programs and services. Goodwill uses the revenue from stores to fund those programs and services.

How long does it take?

Not long! It typically takes about 15 minutes. “If the team member is working with another customer, we direct the next customer to look at our costume idea book to help get some direction into what they are looking for,” Toni said.

Who are the costume consultants and how are they identified?

Look for a Goodwill team member dressed in costume. “They are familiar with all the products on the floor and have ideas to share,” Toni said. “They want to help customers come up with the perfect costume!”

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2014 helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin, through 27 programs and services. The organization includes 26 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. It offers eight Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities. Goodwill NCW uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

No tricks, just treats with build-them-yourself tween, teen costumes

Part of the Halloween thrill for tweens and teens is building a costume that is unique and individual.

No one wants to be seen wearing the exact same costume as someone else. It also makes shopping more of a treasure hunt, which is an added fun component of putting together just the right costume.

If you are looking for some ideas to get the creative juices flowing, we can help. Here are five of our favorite creations. (Click on each photo to see a larger image.)

Slumber PartyPJs: What teenager doesn’t love lounging around in pajama pants and comfy clothes? Embrace that interest and their childhood all at once with fuzzy pajamas. One-piece options preferred! Going with a group?

Make it a slumber party and have everyone sport pajamas!

Accessories: Blanket, stuffed animal, pacifier worn around neck. Extra credit for hair in rollers or pigtails.

Our cost: $7.99 for the pajamas.

Zombie KidZombie: Scare up some Halloween thrills with this holiday staple.

Teens will love the fright factor — and that no one will recognize who is underneath!

Accessories: Mask, wig, hat or makeup for the complete look.

Our cost: $18.97 for the top, bottoms, mask and gloves.

DaphneDaphne from “Scooby-Doo”: Scooby-Doo and the gang are always in style. Go retro and embrace this favorite cartoon that has withstood the test of time. Going with a group? Invite your friends to dress as Fred, Velma, Shaggy and the Great Dane himself. Mystery solved!

Accessories: Wide headband and back-combed hair or wig. Style points for driving in the Mystery Machine!

Our cost: $19.95 for the dress, tights, shoes, scarf and Scooby doll.

Hunter: Hunting is a Wisconsin tradition so camo and blaze orange aren’t out of place in our closets. It’s also a no-fuss costume option for a no-fuss teen. Grab some camouflage pants, orange sweatshirt and beanie and you’re set.

Accessories: Boots, deer stuffed animal and toy gun.

Our cost: $19.96 for the pants, sweatshirt, hat and toy gun.

CleopatraCleopatra: Rule Halloween by dressing as this Egyptian leader and goddess. Be bold with a sheer dress and go gold with lots of jewelry and bling. Complete with attitude!

Accessories: Jewelry, plastic snake, strappy sandals, eye makeup and crown or headdress.

Our cost: $20.45 for the dress, shoes, jewelry and snake.

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2014 helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin, through 27 programs and services. The organization includes 26 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. It offers seven Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins located throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities. Goodwill NCW uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

5 make-your-own Halloween costume ideas for kids

Fall weather in Wisconsin can be unpredictable, which means kids’ Halloween costumes need to reflect that.

It’s not fun wearing an awesome costume if you have to cover it up with a puffy winter coat, hat and mittens. Costumes need to be flexible so you can throw on a long-sleeve shirt underneath if the weather dictates.

You want your children to be safe, warm and covered. And don’t forget cute!

Here are five make-your-own costume ideas for kids that accomplish all of that. (Click on the photos to see a larger version.)

MinionsMinions: Some of the hottest costumes for the season reflect the top movies of the time, and this year is no exception. With the popularity of “Minions,” which opened in July and is expected to be out on DVD in November, every child would love to sport the look of a sweet Minion. All you need is a yellow shirt, jean overalls and a yellow beanie. As a bonus, this costume can be for either a boy or girl or both.

Save time by dressing all the kids as Minions. Won’t they look adorable going down the block?

Accessories: Bananas! Make your own Minion glasses by checking out our Halloween and fall board on Pinterest at pinterest.com/goodwillncw/halloween-fall.

Our cost: $14.97 for the shirt, overalls and hard hat.

Rock StarPop star: Have a little Taylor Swift or Katy Perry wannabe on your hands? Embrace the energy by letting them rock a pop star costume. All you need is a shimmery jumpsuit topped with a furry vest or jacket.

Wear it with attitude!

Accessories: Funky sunglasses, lots of bling, fashion boots with spunk or sparkly shoes, teased hair, microphone, guitar.

Our cost: $29.97 for the jumpsuit, vest, shoes and microphone.

GB FootballFootball player: It’s prime pigskin time so this in-season costume should be easy to put together. All you need is a jersey, football pants and cleats or athletic shoes. If football isn’t your little one’s thing, try hockey, soccer, baseball or any other sport.

Game on!

Accessories: helmet, football, gloves, eye black and pads.

Our cost: $15.97 for the jersey, football pants and helmet.

Dorothy and Tin manDorothy: This is an ageless costume idea that is fun to do individually or as a group. Going with friends or siblings? Add Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Glinda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West. No one will mistake who you are! All you need is a gingham dress, white shirt and red lipstick to pull off “The Wizard of Oz” character.

Instant recognition!

Accessories: Red shoes and lipstick, braided pigtails, white tights, basket with a stuffed dog.

Our cost: $10.97 for the dress, basket and our version of Toto.

Ace VenturaAce Ventura: This costume is simplicity at its best. All you need is a Hawaiian shirt and a pair of vertically striped pants or jeans to be the famous pet detective.

All-righty then!

Accessories: Homemade Ace Ventura badge, oddly coiffed hair, sunglasses, black belt, boots and stuffed monkey.

Our cost: $10.97 for the Hawaiian shirt, pants and sunglasses.

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2014 helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin, through 27 programs and services. The organization includes 26 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. It offers eight Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins located throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities. Goodwill NCW uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

5 Halloween party ideas that are a treat on your wallet

Whether you’re hosting a party with some fear factor, a fall function to celebrate the season or a festive event for the youngsters, you want it to be fun.

You also want to be frugal.

We’ve got five ideas that don’t skimp on the party, but they do take some of the scare out of the cost.

Isn’t that a treat?

party ideas poke cupPoke a Pumpkin game

Cover plastic cups with orange and green tissue paper to create a game to play at a party with children. Fill the cups with treats.

Directions: Secure a piece of orange tissue paper around a plastic cup with a rubber band after putting a treat in the cup. You’ll need about 28 orange and 2 green cups to create a pumpkin on foam core poster board, following the pattern in the photo. Attach the cups to the board with hot glue. Have the kids poke the pumpkin and claim their prize.

Photo credit: Thriftyfun.com

party ideas fangsTable decor

Use plastic, white fangs as a napkin ring. Buy fall- or Halloween-colored napkins — either cloth or paper, roll them and hold together using plastic fangs.

Photo credit: pinterest.com

party ideas candy cornAttention-getting centerpieces

Gather clear glass vases and other decorative dishes and fill them with candy corn and pumpkin candies.

Decorate with candles, tree branches or flowers.

Photo credit: pinterest.com

party ideas 4Beverage boo

Freeze plastic spiders in ice cube trays and add to drinks, being careful not to let young children have them.

Photo credit: pinterest.com

party cupsGoody bags

Everyone likes to go home from a party with a little something. Fill white plastic cups with ghost faces printed on them with candy and other prizes as a special treat.

Photo credit: Goodwill NCW

 

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2014 helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin, through 27 programs and services. The organization includes 26 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. It offers eight Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins located throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities. Goodwill NCW uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

We’ve got a costume idea book! 5 things you’ll find inside

If you’re big into scaring up fun every Halloween with festive costumes, but ideas are scarce this year and you’ve already plowed your way through a bag of candy corn trying to come up with something new and different, you’ll be happy to know that help is here.

Goodwill NCW has put together a 38-page Halloween costume idea book that is loaded with creative costume ideas for the Halloween lover in all of us.

Because the holiday falls on a Saturday, there’s added pressure to make sure you’ve got something fresh and festive for trick-or-treating and all those party invitations that are inevitably going to come your way.

Last year’s total Halloween spending was estimated to reach $7.4 billion, according to the National Retail Federation, with $2.8 billion spent on costumes overall.

The pressure is on to find the perfect costume, and our guide can help you do that.

Here’s what you’ll find inside the books, which can be found at every Goodwill retail store and training center across north central Wisconsin. No matter what costume you choose, Goodwill can dress you up!

halloween costume book zombie1. Costume ideas for couples and groups: Nothing says you’ve planned ahead more than pulling off a united look for the entire gang. Whether you want to go as duck hunters, flappers or Smurfs, we break down the necessary items for each costume.

Find this: Zombie bride and groom that feature a worn bridal gown, black suit, white pumps, veil and bouquet. Complete the look with some frightful makeup and cobwebs.

2. Children’s costume ideas: Superheroes and characters from movies always make for popular costumes. This year is no exception, with concepts for superheroes and Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games” series.halloween costume book zookeeper

Find this: Zookeeper featuring khaki shirt, hat, pants, shorts or skirt; hiking boots and stuffed animal. Extra credit for adding a bandage and bringing along a snake bite kit.

3. Women’s costume ideas: Capture a strong female personality and go as Dorothy, Rosie the Riveter, Wonder Woman or a pilot.

Halloween costume book minionFind this: Minions aren’t just for the kids. Create your own adult-sized look featuring jean overalls, yellow shirt and beanie and black shoes and gloves. Wear yellow makeup and carry a banana for extra laughs.

4. Men’s costume ideas: Get in touch with your passions by dressing as a fisherman, golfer or cowboy or go back in time for these male screen stars — Indiana Jones and Marty McFly.halloween costume book tourist

Find this: Lost tourist featuring a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts, straw hat, long white socks with sandals and a map. Accessorize with a camera around your neck, fanny pack, sunscreen and a selfie stick. Wear a dazed look on your face and you’ll be all set!

5. Go big or go home: Halloween is serious business. U.S. spending on Halloween costumes, candy, decorations and party goods has risen by 55% since 2005, according to the National Retail Federation. Look good, spend less and have fun doing it by putting together your own costume made from unique items found only at Goodwill.

Our costume guide is the perfect place to start.

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2014 helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin, through 27 programs and services. The organization includes 26 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. It offers seven Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins located throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities. Goodwill NCW uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

5 things to know about shopping Goodwill E-Commerce

Online spending in the United States was $306.9 billion in 2014. It’s expected to reach $349.2 billion this year and $398.8 billion in 2016, according to a survey funded by RetailMeNot.

Goodwill NCW’s E-Commerce has a piece of that pie.

Bethany Pryor sits about the items being put up for sale at E-Commerce.

Bethany Pryor sits about the items being put up for sale at E-Commerce.

Where else can you find name-brand purses, top-of-the-line jewelry, must-have electronics, irresistible artwork, fine collectibles and more to complement your in-store Goodwill shopping experiences?

Talk about a treasure hunt!

Goodwill NCW’s E-Commerce department started in May 2007, earning $176,059 that year. In 2009, E-Commerce hit the $1 million mark. Last year, online shopping alone brought in $2.7 million and is projected to earn $3.2 million this year.

If you haven’t shopped Goodwill online (www.shopgoodwill.com), you’ve got to check it out. Here’s everything you need to know.

Getting started

The online shopping process begins with you. That’s right, you. We need donations to make e-commerce work so thank you for your continued contributions.

Goodwill NCW includes 26 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander as well as the Appleton outlet store. It offers seven Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins located throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities.

If you need help finding a location to donate, find a listing of places here: www.goodwillncw.org/donate/where

When donations come in, the sorting begins.

From sort to sale

While stores are sorting through donations, team members will pull items that have E-Commerce potential and set them aside in large cardboard bins to be sent to the Shiner Center in Appleton, where E-Commerce is located, said Bethany Pryor, E-Commerce store liaison.

The stores get the credit for what gets listed and sold online, and unsold items have the option of returning to the store they originated from.

Anything with personal information on it such as laptops and MP3 players are completely wiped clean, and luxury name-brand items such as handbags, clothing, jewelry and shoes are authenticated. The E-Commerce department now has a watch tester to check workability so watches can be sold individually and not in bundles.

Follow the cool things we’re selling or have sold by following the Goodwill NCW E-Commerce board on Pinterest at pinterest.com/goodwillncw/goodwill-e-commerce.

Where to find Goodwill NCW stuff

When it comes to shopping Goodwill online, you’ve got options. And who doesn’t love options?

Bidding options:

ecommerce ukelele

This Gibson Ukulele garnered $5,100 and is the highest-selling item on E-Commerce for Goodwill NCW.

When it comes to variety and quantity, check out shopgoodwill.com. That’s a collection of merchandise from Goodwill stores and organizations across the country.

You can narrow your focus and concentrate solely on Goodwill NCW, by clicking on “Search,” then selecting WI-Appleton under the “seller” field. Or you can bookmark this shortcut: bit.ly/GoodwillNCWGoods.

Keep in mind you can avoid shipping costs by arranging to pick up your purchases at the Shiner Center.

You also can sort items by title or category.

The bidding process lasts for seven days, during which the bidding and rebidding takes place. Items must be paid for within 10 days of the close of the auction.

You also can put items on a watch list to monitor.

To reduce the chances of being outbid for an item in the closing seconds of an auction, shopgoodwill.com uses a proxy bidding system. Enter the maximum amount you are willing to pay for an item with your initial bid. Your maximum bid is only placed if another bidder also bids up to that amount or if your bid meets or exceeds the reserve price set for that item, which is the lowest price the seller is willing to accept for the item.

To join the fun, you will need to sign up for a buyer ID and password.

You also can find some buy-it-now items.

At shopgoodwill.com, you will find the following categories: antiques; art; bath and body; books, movies and music; cameras and camcorders; clothing; collectibles; computers and electronics; crafts and hobbies; glass; items for the home; jewelry and gemstones; musical instruments; office and pet supplies; religious; science and education; seasonal and holiday; sports; tableware and kitchenware; tools; toys, dolls and games; transportation; and travel and luggage.

Buy-it-now options:

For extensive listings of books, movies, video games and music, head to amazon.com/shops/goods_online3 along with ebay.com/usr/goodwill-wi-books and half.com.

Find a varied assortment of items for sale, including sporting goods, at stores.ebay.com/Goodwill-of-North-Central-Wisconsin.

All items are available to buy immediately.

And remember, you can find some buy-it-now options on shopgoodwill.com.

What’s it worth to you?

ecommerce purse

This Hermes Paris Black Handbag with Lock and Keys sold for $1,602.

When it comes to what sells, it’s all about gold and silver jewelry, according to Kim Lamberies, E-Commerce assistant team leader. Jewelry, in general, is popular.

Electrical and mechanical items, including gaming systems and accessories, along with gaming cards like Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! also are successful listings.

A Breitling Geneve Cosmonaute Vintage Swiss Watch went for $3,026.99

A Breitling Geneve Cosmonaute Vintage Swiss Watch went for $3,026.99

“We do well with designer handbags,” Bethany said.

To wit: One of the highest-selling items was a Hermes Paris Black Handbag with Lock and Keys that sold for $1,602.

But that doesn’t compete with the highest-selling item — a Gibson Ukulele that garnered $5,100.

Other top-selling items include a Breitling Geneve Cosmonaute Vintage Swiss Watch that went for $3,026.99 and a World War I Imperial German Navy Midshipman’s Dirk with Scabbard for $989.95.

It’s all good

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that uses the revenue from stores and E-Commerce to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities as part of its mission of Elevating People, Transforming Communities.

In 2014, Goodwill helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin through 27 programs and services.

Now that you’ve all the information you need, there’s only one thing left to do.

Get shopping!

Show off your team spirit with Goodwill exclusive gear

Are you ready for some football?

We definitely are here at Goodwill NCW, and if you’re not feeling it yet, we can help you get your team spirit on.

With Green Bay Packers training camp kicking off today and the first preseason game getting under way on Aug. 13, now is the time to load up on your fan gear.

team redWe’ve got just the stuff for you through a Goodwill green and gold program. We also can hook you up with red-and-white-themed items as well in time for the Wisconsin Badgers’ season-opener on Sept. 5.

“Our green and gold team spirit program is exclusive to Goodwill NCW,” said Kristen Rihn, buying and merchandising analyst. “Our prices, assortment and quality can’t be beat — just like our favorite team! The program has multiplied 10 times in only three years and has been expanded to include red, white and black offerings to support our UW team.”

Here’s what fun you’ll find in store:

team green 3HATS: Take your pick of a few knit options, including a reversible one, a cuffed alternative with a pom and a selection of ones with tassels, starting at $4.99.team green

SCARVES: Accessorize with a striped infinity scarf that will make any outfit complete, $7.99.

GLOVES: Add just a touch of warmth with striped stretch gloves, starting at $1.99.

team green 2LEG WARMERS: Nothing says you’re crazy about your team more than these striped leg warmers, $5.99.

TIGHTS: Stay warm and oh-so-cool with these fleece-lined, footless tights in a two-pack option in gold and green, $6.99.

KNEE-HIGHS: Show off these argyle-patterned knee-highs with a team tutu (see below) or favorite skirt, $3.99.team tutu

team green 4TUTUS: Go all out with any of these four tutu options that will make you the hit of the gathering. Choose from reversible, sequined waistband, bow adornment and four-layered tulle, starting at $14.99.

PAJAMA PANTS: Go comfy and decked out at the same time with pajama pants, $9.99, and a HOODIE, $14.99.

EARBANDS: Protect yourself in the cold weather — you know it’s coming! — with cozy earbands, $5.99, or ARM WARMERS, $4.99.

Goodwill NCW is a not-for-profit human services organization that in 2014 helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties in north central Wisconsin, through 27 programs and services. The organization includes 25 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. It offers eight Donation Express sites and 45 donation bins located throughout the Fox Cities and surrounding communities. Goodwill NCW uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

Duds and décor: Back to school with Goodwill

Parents are expected to be more careful with their back-to-school spending for students in kindergarten through college, according to a National Retail Federation study.

The average family with children in grades K-12 plans to spend $630 on apparel, electronics and other school needs, down from $669 last year, according to the survey. Including college students along with K-12, overall total spending is expected to reach $68 billion, the retail federation said.

That’s where Goodwill comes in. When it comes to clothing, college gear and catchy accessories, we’ve got your shopping needs covered and can help keep costs down.

Let’s get back to it!

Back to a budget

Shop our donated goods to find some real bargains.

Our three picks:

school new jeans1. No back-to-school wardrobe is complete without jeans, a student’s must-have staple. Children’s jeans start at $2.99 for basic brands, adult at $6.99. You’ll be able to find name-brand picks like American Eagle, Gap and more.

2. Kids can move through shoe sizes quickly. That means you can find donated, like-new shoes starting at $2.99. At that price, you won’t mind if they only fit for a few months. Selections can include winter boots and team gear as well.school shorts

3. Just because kids are going back to school doesn’t mean the weather is cooling off anytime soon. If the clothes in their closets and drawers aren’t up to snuff for school, you still can find a selection of summer apparel, including these cargo shorts in an assortment of colors and denim.

And remember to shop secondhand using our color of the week and really save.

We offer a select group of products at 50% off the everyday low price each week. The items featured at 50% off are indicated by the color of the ticket. The color that is 50% off changes every week.

For a color of the week schedule, go to www.goodwillncw.org/shopping/color.

Back to basics

A new school year means picking up a few special items. Your kids will love these extras, and your wallet won’t mind either.

Our three picks:

school lunch box1. Carry a lunch in style with options that include soft-sided totes, bento boxes and lunchboxes with compartments, starting at $4.99.

school notepad2. Kids have their favorite music and artists. Whether carpooling, walking or taking the bus to school, let them jam with a pair of earbuds or headphones that show off their personality in an assortment of wild colors, including trendy neon, starting at $1.99.

3. Who doesn’t love school supplies? Whether they are on the list or not, no one will be able to resist these bright, tiny notepads at $1.29. Selections vary by store. Also look for sketch or drawing pads.

Back to dorm life

Organization is key for living in a small space while maintaining peace with a roommate. Have some fun and get your dorm room in order at the same time.

Our three picks:

school door1. Over-the-door hooks have an important role. Hang your towels, bathrobe, pajamas and other daily items on these handy hooks starting at $5.99 in a variety of styles and sizes. You’ll always know where your stuff is!school pillow

2. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, shavers and more all can find a home in useful shower caddies, starting at $2.99.

3. Every dorm room needs a touch of flair. These decorative pillows will do just that. Find an assortment of patterns, designs and colors starting at $6.99.

Back to cooler temps

It might not be here yet, but you know it’s coming — cooler temps. Be ready when those brisk mornings arrive.

Our three picks:

school scarf1. Infinity scarves have been versatile, go-to accessories that offer a boost of insta-style to any outfit. They also give added warmth. Find new scarves in a variety of patterns and colors at $3.99.school jacket

2. Whether out for recess or walking around campus, jackets are a fall necessity. Find donated fleece, lightweight casual and dress jacket options starting at $5.99 for children and $9.99 for adults.

3. As we bid farewell to flip-flops and sandals, we return to socks once again. Make sure to grab an extra pair to keep at school in the gym locker, just in case. Children’s socks start at $3.99, and find a six-pack of women’s socks starting at $4.99 and men’s at $5.99.

Back to your community

You can ease your spending consciousness by shopping Goodwill, a not-for-profit human services organization that uses the revenue from stores to fund a variety of innovative programs and services that serve north central Wisconsin communities.

In 2014, Goodwill NCW helped improve the lives of more than 68,600 people across 35 counties through 27 programs and services. The organization includes 25 retail stores and training centers in communities from Manitowoc to La Crosse, and as far north as Rice Lake and Rhinelander, as well as provides a unique shopping experience at its Appleton outlet store. A new store is coming in August to Plover.

Appleton bride-to-be finds her dream wedding dress at Goodwill

Claire Westlie has plans for her dream wedding and her dream honeymoon in South America. And now, thanks to Goodwill, she also has her dream wedding dress.

Yes, her wedding dress.

Wedding dress 1

Claire Westlie of Appleton bought her wedding dress for $80 at Goodwill NCW’s Darboy Retail Store & Training Center.

With a generous $1,000 dress budget from her parents, Claire started shopping in February for her gown but wasn’t finding exactly what she was looking for in preparation for her April 2016 wedding in Hartland, Wis.

That’s when her friend, Casey Crowe, stepped in.

Casey, of Appleton, was browsing through the dress rack at Goodwill NCW’s Darboy Retail Store & Training Center in March when she came across a wedding dress in the style coveted by Claire. She immediately sent Claire a photo.

“Claire and I had been talking a lot about what her dream wedding dress would look like prior to my Goodwill trip,” said Casey, a regular Goodwill shopper and donator. “I knew she wasn’t looking for strapless, wanted all lace and wanted some kind of nice back detail.”

The next day, Claire and fiancé Bryan Lauer, both 23 and of Appleton, went to see the dress for themselves.

It was love at first sight.

“This dress is beautiful,” Claire said about her first impression.

The dress, which was similar to one she liked for $1,500, was in pristine condition and exactly what she wanted.

Although it needs some slight alterations — don’t most wedding dresses? — the dress features a form-fitting vintage look with a sweetheart neckline and a sheer top. It offers a statement back with lace and a slight, attention-getting train.

Claire Westlie

Claire Westlie

When the bride-to-be stood in the dressing room wearing her newfound treasure, she received just the reaction she was after. Claire and Bryan broke down in tears.

“It was so perfect,” Claire said.

Not only was the dress perfect, but the price tag was better than she ever had expected. Her Goodwill find cost her only $80, freeing up money for other wedding expenses.

Carrying the dress in her arms and crying, Claire made her way to the checkout lane at the store, stopping along the way for Bryan to pick up a hammer.

She had found The One.

The experience also has made Claire, a regular Goodwill shopper, a believer.

In addition to the dress, she has picked up vases, candles, votives, glass candy jars, frames and more at Goodwill. All her centerpieces will be from Goodwill, and the candy buffet at her reception will feature many of her glass deals.

“We’re definitely thrifting,” Claire said.

And her mom, who loves Claire’s dress, is trying to one-up her daughter by scoring a mother-of-the-bride dress at Goodwill, too. The challenge is to find one for under $80.

Now Claire is counting down the days to her wedding — and until she can show off her beautiful dress.