August means celebrating the end of the summer with BBQs, pool parties and days on the river. However, let me get real with what I look forward to during August….it is the summer of end-of-season sales. By August, stores need to clear out their inventory for fall, and that means you have the opportunity to get some amazing deals. As great as the sales can be, who among us has not been caught up and bought something totally unnecessary just because they were 80 percent off or a dress that did not quite fit right because the deal was just too good to pass up? I am guilty!! So, here are a few tips to consider before hitting the sale racks this weekend.
1. Bring a trusted friend with you ~ Chances are, your worst shopping decisions have happened during sale time when you were blinded by huge discounts. Combat the act of buying things you are on the fence about by bringing a friend who you trust, and who will not let you out of a store with that ill-fitting dress just because the price seemed to good to pass up.
2. Go on the hunt for items you know you wear ~ Use the end-of-season sales as a time to scoop up designer items that rarely go on sale or designer versions of items you know you wear often like jeans, blouses, or pencil skirts. The discounts might not be as steep as they are on trendier pieces, but these are the items that will not scream “sale rack” and will get plenty of use.
3. Shop pieces that work year round ~ When you are shopping end-of-season summer sales, keep in mind that fall and winter are just around the bend so that crochet maxi dress is only going to take you so far. Instead, look for pieces in darker colors and fabrics that work year round to avoid only being able to wear your great sale find for a few more weeks.
4. Compare prices at multiple stores ~ Just because that handbag you have been eyeing is 50 percent off at one store does not mean that it is not being offered at an even steeper discount somewhere else. Always shop around.
5. Ask sales associates for some extra help ~ Just because you do not see a particular item you are gaga over on the sale rack in your size, does not mean it is not available. Make sure to check with sales associates during sales to see if there are additional items in the back of the store, or to see if the item might be available in your size at a different location.
6. Check with stores on when their final markdowns are ~ The very best deals during sale time happen during final markdown, the holy grail of sales. Call your favorite stores to find out when their final markdown period begins so you can be sure to be there, and watch out online for words like “last call,” the buzz word for this is as good as the price is going to get.