Outfitting your family at retail prices can put a real stress on your budget, but it doesn’t have to. From members-only and
social media deals to smartphone shortcuts, finding the clothes you want at prices you can afford has never been easier.
GET MORE FROM YOUR STORE
Use these smart shopping strategies to nab the best prices at retailers you already know.
- Sign up for a rewards card: Goodwill card holders earn points when they shop there. You can redeem the points to get a coupon for $10 or 25 percent off,
depending on your area. The Super Savers Club at Savers stores gives you access to exclusive online content (like e-mail deals
and advance notice of sales) and birthday coupons.
- Ask about sale days: Call a thrift store to find out its sale schedule. Many locations have at least one day a week when all or most items are
- Look for brand names: Many designers sell their surplus inventory to warehouse clubs. Calvin Klein hoodies and jeans can be found at Sam’s Club
and Costco at 90 percent off, and BJ’s has featured big discounts on items from Nautica and Nicole Miller.
- Buy the basics: You often can find essentials, like underwear, at prices that beat department store sales. A six-pack of Hanes men’s T-shirts,
for example, costs 60 percent more on sale at Macy’s than at Costco.
- Enjoy personal service: Loehmann’s gives you up to 65 percent off department store prices, and some locations even offer free personal shoppers,
who can help you stay within your budget and alert you when your favorite brands are on sale. Call a nearby store to schedule
- Find bigger inventory: Unlike department stores, which shop by season, chains such as T.J.Maxx and Marshalls replenish their merchandise every week,
so you’re more likely to nab trendy, affordable pieces, as well as last-minute seasonal items.
- Combine deals: Shop at chains that let you use personal rewards and discounts along with in-store specials. For example, at Kohl’s you can
use percent-off discounts simultaneously with dollars-off promotions.
- Use the store credit card: Although you should swipe only if you can pay off the balance right away, keeping a store credit card has benefits. A GapCard
gives you birthday deals, 10 percent off every Tuesday and rewards points that lead to extra savings.
Keep reading to learn how to find the best online clothing deals.
GO ONLINE FOR CLOTHING DEALS
Discover a whole new bargain-shopping world with these webites and apps.
- "Like" your top brands: Almost all major retailers have a Facebook page on which they announce last-minute deals and promotions.
- Check in on foursquare: While you’re out shopping, see if you can check in with the app and receive a special deal. Two recent offers: 20 percent off one item at H&M and 15 percent off all purchases at American
- Follow @CheapTweet: Create a list of your favorite stores on Twitter to keep all your deals in one place. The cheaptweet.com search engine scours thousands of promotions and highlights the best of the day on its Twitter account.
Online Sample Sales
- Move quickly: These sales last only a few hours or days. Set an alarm for when your favorite sites begin sales (ruelala.com sales, for example, start every morning at 11). Because most people start from the top of the page, scroll to the bottom,
where items don’t sell out as quickly.
- Invite friends and earn cash: Most online sample sale sites reward you for telling a friend about them. When your friend makes her first purchase on ideeli.com, you receive a $25 credit (ruelala.com and hautelook.com credit $10). Shopping for kids? Zulily.com credits users $15 for each referral.
- Yowza: (free; for iPhone and Android devices, and Palm Pre and Blackberry phones through the Where app) Sign up to receive coupons
for shops within 50 miles of your location and be notified when your favorite stores introduce promotions.
- ShopSavvy: (free; for iPhone and Android devices) This tool lets you comparison shop without doing hours of research. Scan the bar code
of a garment and the app will show you the best price in your area or online.
- Shopkick: (free; for iPhone and Android phones) This app rewards you just for walking into a store. Open the app to earn a discount
at a select retailer or “kicks” you can redeem later for deals, like iTunes or other retail gift cards.