Did you know that women spend about 399 hours of their time shopping every year? 100 of those hours are spent on shopping for clothes alone!
If 50% of the population is going to spend this much time shopping, they should definitely spend that time in the clearance section.
Clearance shopping is an art that takes practice and learning some tips and tricks is a must before embarking on the journey to save some serious cash. Keep reading to learn about our tips for going from beginner to pro clearance shopper!
1. Set a Shopping Budget
Setting a budget is all about figuring out how much you can spend on shopping and sticking to that number when you get to the store. Planning ahead is especially important when shopping in clearance because you’ll get what you need and save money in the process. So decide how much you’re able to spend on particular items before making your way to the store or mall.
Part of setting a budget is also knowing that we may, at times, go a little over that budget. After every clearance sale, it’s important to review your receipts and return any items that you think you won’t actually need.
Don’t forget to check your clearance sale’s return policy; some of those sales offer in-store credit on returns, but others are final!
2. Know the Season Sale Cycles
Every clearance sale is part of a repeated cycle. Whether there’s a sale on toys or back to school supplies, these sales are always during a specific time period every year. It is important to be aware of these sale cycles in order to shop for what you need when it goes into clearance.
Seasonal items tend to go on sale right after the holiday, so get ready for half-priced Halloween and Christmas decorations after those holidays have passed. Stores typically do this because they want to empty their shelves and make room for the next holiday items. The same goes for seasonal clothes; winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter will always be on sale.
Retail store items tend to move to clearance after 6-8 weeks because stores have to make room for new merchandise, so keeping track of these changes is important for any clearance shopper. Thursdays are also the best days to shop, as those are the days when new merchandise will be added for the busy weekend ahead.
3. Choosing the Best Places for Clearance Shopping
When picking shopping destinations, it’s best to do some research first. Taking into account your budget and what you need, you can start by searching which of those items are on sale and where you can find them for the cheapest price.
If you’re shopping at a big chain store, chances are, the clearance items are the same at every location, but not all chain stores follow that rule. Visiting the same location of a store often will help you figure out the type of merchandise they carry and when they have their clearance sales.
4. Pay Attention to Price Markdowns
One of the most important things to know in order to become a successful clearance shopper is how items get marked down. Most items get marked down anywhere from 30-70%; seasonal items can go down as low as 90%! Food items typically get marked down a day before their best if used by date.
It is important to know about normal prices vs. clearance prices. Clearance prices tend to end in 0 while normal prices can be any number. Comparing the clearance price against the original will help you determine if the savings are good enough to make the purchase.
5. Head to the Clearance Section
Clearance shopping is all about going straight to the savings and heading directly to the clearance section when you get to the store! A back end-cap is the display placed at the end of an aisle. While some clearance items are placed throughout the aisles, most of them can be found on the back end-caps.
Some stores have complete sections dedicated solely to the clearance items. This is where you’ll find what you’re looking for. These sections will usually be at the back of the store.
6. Rely on the Sales Associate
Along with your own research, asking a sales associate for more information on items in clearance will always make you a smarter shopper. It won’t hurt to ask a store employee about the cost of unmarked items and whether they need a price markdown; you might snag a great deal.
If you find a great deal on clothes but can’t find your perfect size, ask an associate if they have the item at another location. Most times, the clearance items at the store are the only ones left, but sales associates will always try to make the sale and help you figure out if the item might be available elsewhere.
7. Stay Connected Online
Follow your favorite stores on social media and download their apps to stay up-to-date on their latest clearance sales. By joining your favorite stores’ email and text lists, you’ll be the first to know about any sales. Some stores might send you exclusive discounts for being a member of these lists.
Don’t forget to try online shopping during clearance sales as well. Sometimes, they’ll even throw in free shipping!
Follow These Tips to Get the Best Sales
Clearance shopping is no easy task. We hope these tips will help you become a successful and savvy shopper.
Contact us for more tips on how you can save big during every clearance sale!