Discount Stores: The Magical Places Where Every Day is a Sale Day!
As I admit in my bio, “sale” just might be my favorite four-letter word. Unless it is at H&M or Old Navy, it takes a very special item for me to be willing to pay full price if I don’t have a gift certificate! Thankfully, there are places on Earth where every day is a sale day. (No, I’m not talking about outlet malls, although I enjoy them too. My main concern with outlet stores is that, over the past few years, many brands have begun producing cheap imitations of their clothing that will only be sold at their outlets. Hence, that J. Crew $15 cardigan is not as well-made as the $60 one at the store! Although, to J. Crew’s credit, they now carry their factory store merchandise online on the weekends, so if you are in the mood for guilt-free cyber-browsing, that’s your best bet!)
I’m talking about discount stores like T.J. Maxx, Filene’s Basement, and Marshall’s. If you know how to tackle them effectively, you can save a substantial amount of money.
Here are my discount shopping tips:
- Don’t go in looking for a specific item. A type of clothing (think “pants”) is fine, but the likelihood of finding a pair of white skinny jeans in a size 8 is slim. It could happen, but you are unlikely to find the same item in every size.
- Scope out the labels you know and trust. An easy way to sift through the loads of merchandise at these stores is to quickly scan for items from familiar brands. That way you wont have to examine the quality of the stitching or wonder if that t-shirt will shrink two sizes after you wash it. Go with what you know, unless it’s cheap enough that you’re willing to take a risk on it.
- If you are pressed for time, skip the clearance racks. Think about it. It is likely that these items have been rejected by many store buyers and customers. Despite a reduced price at the discount store, the store is still having trouble selling it. Thus, not only is the item likely to be a questionable style choice, but it is possible that it has a rip or hole that you do not see. That being said, two of my favorite most recent purchases were a pair of kate spade rain boots and a long black coat from Kenneth Cole. Both from the clearance sections!
- Check out the bathing suits and the kitchenware. If you are like me and only wear bathing suits a couple of times a year or just during the summer months, they can be ridiculously expensive if you pay full price. My favorite bikini is one that I bought while I was in the seventh grade (Yes, for better or worse, I sometimes feel like I have the same body I had in middle school!). At Marshall’s. And it couldn’t have cost more than $20. The kitchenware? For some reason, these stores always seem to have a plethora of pots and pans in a wide array of colors. Have a difficult kitchen decor to match? Try one of these stores!
- If you are looking for labels and want to be time efficient, don’t bother scouring through the long racks of clothes. Many stores have new arrivals sorted by designer on racks towards the front of each section so you can easily scan for the ones you like.
Enjoy bargain hunting!