Do you know how to stretch a dollar when you go shopping? Then Goodwill Industries has the contest for you.
From now through Aug. 2, Goodwill of Southwest Florida is looking for the area's savviest shoppers, with the stingiest of the stingy winning a myriad of prizes.
According to Kirsten O'Donnell, Goodwill's director of public relations and marketing, the contest, which was mothballed for a couple years, was brought back in a way to make it easier for shoppers to participate.
"We used to have people come to a certain store at a certain time and audition, and that was a hardship to some people," O'Donnell said. "We switched it to an online contest."
The idea began in the depths of the recession, when many people needed Goodwill services to help get by.
"This contest started at a time when people were relearning how to save money. Many people were coming by and asking about the contest, so we brought it back," O'Donnell said.
Those who enter will upload a video of themselves, explaining and demonstrating why they should be named the thriftiest, O'Donnell said. They also must write out a brief explanation on their Facebook page.
Entries have been slow so far, as the contest just started. But O'Donnell said she expects many to be entered by the deadline.
Previous winners include a woman formerly of Cape Coral who was a home-school mom who had to shop thrifty as a necessity and made it part of her lifestyle, and another was a Sanibel woman who made quilts and bags from T-shirts she bought at the store.
"We've had people show off their home, price tags still on the items, proud of how they saved money," O'Donnell said. "Some are thrifty out of necessity and some just love the challenge of saving money."
Goodwill will select four finalists in mid-August, with a winner coming sometime in early September, O'Donnell said.
The four finalists will get a $50 Goodwill gift card, with the winner receiving a $250 Visa gift card and tickets to the Goodwill Tux & Trees Gala in December, and perhaps even appear in a future Goodwill advertisement.
Of course, it's all about the mission of Goodwill to help those less fortunate and to create opportunities they may not otherwise have.
"This is the fun part of what we do, talking about our mission and bringing it to customers," said Carolyn Johnson, vice president of communications and development. "We highlight our stores and combine it with our mission and bring forth their skills as thrifty shoppers."
You must be an adult resident of Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Hendry, or Glades counties to enter, O'Donnell said.
For more information, visit the local Goodwill center on its Facebook page or on the Web at www.goodwillswfla.org/thrifty