February 11, 2016
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When it comes to shopping for style, there's an expensive way to do it, and there's a budget-friendly way to do it. The former might be easier and more timely, while the latter requires a little bit of work. Spending that extra time, however, is often well worth the savings found. And with brands like TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls, those same savings are also easier than ever. Customers can stop in these budget-proven stores and browse at all their favorite brands. While, previously, getting a deal meant searching clearance racks, couponing, and just getting plain lucky.
With a few additional tips, however, shopping these budget stores can be even easier.
Start by following each store online. You can get updates from their social media pages – have sale dates emailed directly to your inbox, and more. This will alert you to any and all upcoming deals every time you're online. (Or keep them in the background until you're ready to shop.)
Another tip is to make your funds go further by finding discounted gift cards. By shopping through store credit aggregators (those who buy, sell, and trade gift cards), you can get more bang for your buck. Spending less funds on a value that's worth more toward its store of choice.
Marshall is one of our absolutely best off-price retailer to shop at for the variety of items that they have in-store. Not to mention, the amazing high end brand they carry from Michael Kors to Calvin Klein. If you're an avid Marshall crawler like us... you know that if you dig deep enough, you'll find some kind of awesome deal between aisles. Here are some tips to help you navigate through Marshalls deals:
- When shopping at this store in particular, pay attention to yellow and red tags. It means that a price is its absolute lowest, and won't be marked down any further. Or rather, you're saving as much as possible just by picking out that item! Yellow and red tag clearances are generally as much as 50-90% off the already reduced price.
- You can shop during months that the store is looking to get rid of its inventory, such as January and July, which are seen as the "end" of a particular season. Clothing and products that are meant for a specific month (scarves, tank tops, etc.) will be markdown to their lowest.
- Bonus tip, even at the lowest markdown, if you think the price tag is still a tad high, check back in a week! Chances are, if its still there, it'll likely include another red tag markdown (something we commonly see at our local Marshalls!)
- Have you ever spotted purple tags at Marshalls? We haven't but apparently, purple tag clothes are featured in the runway during fashion week. So that means you're getting incredible high end pieces at a highly discounted price! You'll have to go in on these items quickly because apparently they disappear as soon as they're spotted.
- Get friendly with an employee. This isn't hard to do, all of the associates we've run into at Marshalls so far, provide stellar customer serivce. These ladies and gents are quick to point you in the right direction no matter what you're looking for. Plus, if you're looking for new steals, some may even tell you to hold out for new shipment when they restock shelves! On average, about 10,000 new items hit shelves per week, so if you can't find what you're looking for, check back in a few days.
- Gourmet food aisle is the place to be if you're looking for discounts on quality kitchen staples. Marshalls host some of the priciest gourmet spices, ground coffee, jams and etc. I see a lot of their products on Wholefoods shelves and at other fancy high end grocery store and its always offered a decent price even without red tag discounts. Keep your eye on this aisle for healthy and quality treats!
If you're on the fence about something, ask yourself how devastated you'd be if it were gone tomorrow. Unfortunately that's a downside to shopping at these retailers – deals sell out quickly. It's also a good idea to rummage. Sure this isn't something you want to do every day, but set aside a few times a year to shop heavy, then put yourself in the mindset to dig deep. It might not be a favorite activity, but it is the best way to find a deal – whether it's on the clearance rack, or hiding at the front of the store. In any case, here are a few tips we've put together for all Ross lovers:
- Be patient. Weird first tip, but for those that have been rummaging through Ross countless times, you know a real steal is hard to find between messy racks and shelves. While Ross does have tons of amazing discounts, the quality of some of these items may not exactly reach your standards. So where quality is involved, you'll have to look carefully!
- Clearance racks has a host of incredible discounts, you'll find every kind of apparel markdown to extremely low prices. We've spotted a lot of $1, $3 and $5 deals in those racks and its a great place to stock up on basics but as the previous tip mentions, do some quality checking! We love a good deal on clothes but going for quality is a better investment at times.
- To buy or not to buy? On average, Ross gets a new shipment at least 3 times per week (though this may vary depending on locations). Every Ross locations has different buyers so they're responsible for buying enough to sell but nothing over. Every location also cater to different customers so certain Ross has more high end items and others may not (as you probably have noticed). However, any quality and designer items (i.e. Calvin Klein) on the rack (which they now have a designated rack for designer items) are usually gone pretty quick so you won't want to wait too long to make your purchase.
- Step in early! People frequent Ross throughout the day but your best bet at quality deals is to hit the racks early.
- Sign up for their emails. As a subscriber, you'll get advance notice of new store openings in yoru area, events and new merchandise/brands rolling out. Plus, its free to sign up.
TJ Maxx is another off-price retailer that is popular for discounts on a range of mid to high-end brands. They bare a closer resemblance to Marshalls but the only major difference is that most TJ Maxx also has a Homegoods store. As the name says, Homegoods is dedicated to all things for home! Ever shop at World Market, Pottery Barn or West Elm? You'll find tons of similar living room furniture, lighting, rugs and decor at Homegoods discounted up to 75% off!
This is another store marking down items right before the season changes. Be sure to keep an eye out (and stock up) when items will go out of date. Another savings tip is to inspect everything you buy – anything that might have a flaw can be marked down even further. Use each section as a negotiating tool to help save. If it's an imperfection that's insignificant, even better! In any case, take a look at this checklist for more details:
- Wednesday is your best bet. So apparently, TJ Maxx has a dedicated day of the week where they mark down their merchandise and that day is Wednesday. This can vary from store to store but it doesn't hurt to stop in and check for new markdowns. We recommend checking in early when your local store opens. If you don't spot a lot of new discounts, don't be discouraged! Like Ross and Marshalls, TJ Maxx has at least 3-5 shipments coming in every week so you'll always spot something new here and there.
- End of Season sales and clearance boast some of the craziest deals though you will still find great daily sales and clearance. Off price retailers are eager to get rid of their past season's inventory so its a great time to stock up for next year!
- Check in with an employee. Just like with Marshalls, you should try checking in with team members at your local TJ Maxx. Chances are, they'll let you in on when new shipments arrive and how to snag even better savings.
- "Irregular" items, have you seen them? We've noticed this a couple times ourselves. Some very high end item will have a slight defect from their manufacturing process (barely noticeable) but even newer products will be markdown just for that irregularity. So keep an eye out!
- Seen something at Macy's or Nordstrom that you like? Try finding it at TJ Maxx! TJ Maxx commonly stocks the same new arrivals as Macy and Nordstrom because what happen is the manufacturer has the ability to make more of certain items but retailers will only buy a limited amount. The rest is sold to off-price retailers at a discount which will be passed along to you!
- Have a holiday shopping gameplan for TJ Maxx! Over major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, they restock tons of holiday items including their general shipments earlier in the month. We never fail to see fully stocked Homegoods shelves, gourmet foods, shoes and etc. So if you're late on gifting, this is the place to be.
While simple in theory, the main point behind these tips is execution. Remember to follow through for an easy, yet effective way to save on top brands without skimping on fashion. Got more tips? Drop a comment and let us know!