Shop Clothing Clearance Sales Like a Pro
Last week I discussed some of my strategies for saving money on clothing, and I have even more tips to share on this topic. Whether I’m shopping for my spouse, my children or me, I get such a thrill out of hunting down clothing deals!
Clearance clothing racks almost always are located in the back of a store. This forces you to walk past all of the full-priced clothing at the front of the store.
Shop seasonally – but don’t buy for the current season. Clothing typically goes on clearance when one season transitions into the next. Winter clothing goes on clearance when springtime rolls around, and any winter clothing left on the racks when summer hits will be inexpensive. Even though summer’s almost here, I’ve been buying long-sleeved shirts and other cold-weather clothes for my family this month. We won’t wear it until winter rolls around, but when I can pick up winter shirts in the less-than-$5 range, I am more than happy to store them in the closet for a while.
In fall, the summer clothing will hit the clearance racks. Any summer items left on the racks when winter hits will be dirt cheap, too. I’ve purchased swim trunks for my kids in November for less than $3. Clearance shopping is a luck-of-the-draw venture for the most part, but I’ve had incredibly good luck finding deals by intentionally shopping out of season.
Shoe shopping for kids? Think multiple pairs … and movies. I’ve found my school-age children require more pairs of sneakers than I might ever have guessed. They wear out shoes quickly. They grow out of their shoes quickly, too, and of course, they also need a second pair of shoes at school to wear to gym class each year. When I find deals on sneakers, I typically buy two pairs: One in the next size they’ll need, as well as another pair a half or whole size up.
If you have younger children, here’s another fun tip: Pay attention to what movies were in the theaters recently. When those movies leave the theater, any movie-themed sneakers (and there are a lot of them!) typically go on clearance, too. I’ve gotten several amazing deals on shoes for my sons with everything from summer-blockbuster movie heroes to animated characters on them. Once, I picked up a pair of genuine leather sneakers with popular movie vehicles on them for $4.99. The regular price was more than $30.
Don’t miss out on deals – if it looks good to you, it will look good to someone else. At times, I’ve spotted a deal that’s almost in the price range I want to pay. If I decide not to buy it, inevitably, that item is gone the next time I return to the store. I once missed out on a winter coat clearance because the coats were marked down to $19.99. I hoped the price would go a little lower, but when I returned to the store the following week, the coats were gone.
Another tip: If you hit a truly great clearance, shop like the store’s disappearing tomorrow. A few years ago, a major department store chain opened a clothing outlet in our area. Not only were many of the clothing items priced at less than $10, they often had crazy sales. During a “Buy One Get Two Free” sale, I purchased 12 long-sleeve shirts for my sons – everything from sweaters to button-up dress shirts to hooded sweatshirts. Each of the shirts I chose was priced at $6, so I paid a total of $24. I continued shopping similar bargain-priced sales at this outlet, buying a range of sizes and styles for all seasons.
Sadly, that clothing outlet closed four years ago. However, my sons still have brand-new clothes in their closets from that store, tags still on, just waiting for them to grow into a good fit. Sometimes when I shop, I ask myself, “What would I wish I’d bought more of if this store went out of business tomorrow?” This turned out to be a good strategy because in the case of this store, that’s exactly what happened.
Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at her website, www.jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to email@example.com.