Tips for Shopping Clearance Sales

I absolutely love it when I go shopping and find my favorite store is having a huge sale. Gearing myself up to spend a certain amount and then learning that I am getting way more bang for my buck is one of the best feelings ever. However, it took me some time before I realized that the feeling of snagging a huge score while shopping did not have to be completely random. In fact, you can track a store’s sale cycle so you always get the best price for whatever clothing and accessories you want.  Stores want to keep their shelves and racks filled with clothes and accessories, but they get new merchandise so frequently that eventually, items that are not selling must be put on clearance. This is when it is time to score!  If you know exactly when an item will be on sale, you can decide whether you want to wait to buy it on the cheap, or you think it is worth the extra money to buy it beforehand. Having the option gives you the chance to be the savviest shopper possible.  Here are some tips to get the best deal:

1. Wait Six to Eight Weeks – The typical retail store lets a new item hang out on the shelves for six to eight weeks before it is marked down. Merchandise in retail stores is ever-changing, so shop owners can’t afford to have old items languishing on the racks and taking up space. After six to eight weeks of buying, there might only be a few of a specific item remaining – hardly enough to take up room on a display. Therefore, it is moved to the sale or clearance section, usually at the very back of the store.

2. Thursdays Are Best – If you want first dibs on a pair of shoes you have been eyeing, your best bet is to try shopping on a Thursday. Stores know that most people come to the mall or the shop on the weekend, so they begin preparations on Thursday to mark down old merchandise and rotate new merchandise into the store.  By shopping on Friday and Saturday, you might score a great deal, but you might also have a limited selection.  By shopping on a Thursday, you can have the best selection paired with the best prices to snag the item that you desire.

3. Ask Around – I once found a dress on sale that I loved, but they did not have my size. Instead of leaving empty-handed, I asked one of the retail associates if she could check around to see if any of their other store locations had the same dress in stock. As luck would have it, there was another, and the store held it for me.

4. Know the Return Policy – Clearance buys are often a great deal, but it is important to read the fine print. Finding a shirt for $5 is great, but not if you cannot return it if it does not work.

5. Shop End of Season – One of the best times to get the most bang for your buck is to shop around the end of a season. Keep in mind that retail stores are a couple of months “ahead of the weather,” so you could still pick up a cheap sweater and get a month’s worth of wear before it is time to bring out your spring wardrobe.

6. Know When Not to Buy – You are going to pay a premium price if you shop too early or during the wrong month. For instance, it is unwise to buy jewelry around Christmas, when you will probably pay top dollar for your baubles. And some items never go on sale – high-end designer shoes and accessories are usually pretty constant in price, especially if the item does not technically have a “season.”

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