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 half off.
- 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 an appointment.
- Find bigger inventory: Unlike department stores, which shop by season, chains such as T.J.Maxx, Winners 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.