Sunday, February 19, 2012

Making the Most of End-of-Season Sales

A week ago, the zipper on Big Brother's winter coat broke.  With at least one more month of winter, I needed to find a way to repair or replace it.  When I found out the cost to replace the zipper through a local seamstress was $20.00, I decided it was best to find a new one.   Luckily, I was able to find some time yesterday to run into our local Bergner's and shop the end-of-season sale. Boy, was I happy that I did!  I was able to purchase 1 winter coat (hat included), 7 long sleeved t-shirts, 2 hooded sweatshirts, 2 pairs of leggings, 1 pair of jeans, 1 pair of athletic pants, and 1 pair of pajamas for $74.10.  The brands included London Fog, Osh Kosh, Carters, and Ruff Hewn.  All of the items will be good for next winter with the exception of one of the outfits for Baby Sis, which she will start wearing right away.  I was thrilled!!!  By shopping at the end of the season, I was able to save over $200! Ready to do some bargain shopping?  Read these tips first: 

1. Shop at the Right Time.  Most stores do their markdowns on Wednesday.  Most sales start on Thursday.  So ideally, the best time to shop would be Thursdays.  Also, if you like buying ahead for your children, the best time to get super cheap winter clothes would be end of January/early February.  I likely missed out on some things, but luckily I was able to find what I needed.  For summer, usually late July is best. 

2. Ditch the Kiddos, or enlist in help.  We all have had the screaming child in the checkout line.  Well, if you want to do any bargain shopping, it will take some time and children usually aren't very patient.   Find a "free" sitter, either Grandma or Grandpa, or make hubby stay home with the kiddos.  If that doesn't work,  bring the kids, but find a friend to come along and help out with the little ones.  In my case, I was able to leave the boys home with Dad and took Baby Sis along.  I also had help from my mother who was my shopping buddy.

3. Ask for a Price Check.  It never fails, there is always an item or two on the rack that is not priced.  Instead of assuming it was placed there on accident, get a price check.  I found a pair of Osh Kosh athletic pants on the 70% off rack yesterday without any price.  It was the only pair on the rack, so I started assuming that they were misplaced.  However, I asked for a price check and found out that they were $4.80.  Score!

4. Compliment Your Salesperson. Whenever you ask for help from a salesperson, make sure you compliment them.  "Wow, you have been really helpful." or "I really appreciate your hard work."  or even a personal compliment works.   When the salesperson knows that they are appreciated, they will be more willing to keep helping you. If you had a really good experience, do the online survey and mention the salesperson's name or talk to a manager and let them know how helpful that person has been.  Just like people remember rude customers, they will also remember especially grateful ones! 

5. Check the Displays.  Even though the product lines may have changed, a lot of the times the displays have not been updated yet.  Therefore, the displays may contain items that are on sale.  Yesterday, I was so bummed when I checked the entire boys section for a winter coat and nothing came up.  Then, I let me eye wander up and I saw one lonely winter coat on display.  It looked like Big Brother's size, so I called over my new favorite salesperson and she was happy to get it down for me.  As I hoped, it was a size 5/6...exactly what I was looking for! 

6. Don't be Afraid to ask for Discounts or Coupons.  Sometimes the lowest price really isn't the lowest price.  If you don't have any coupons, ask your new favorite salesperson if there are any coupons available.  I was able to get an additional 20% off the already 60% off winter coat.  I also was able to get 10% off because it was used as display.  The $52 coat ended up being $14.97 in the end!  In addition, I noticed a small spot on one of the shirts.  I asked the salesperson if she thought I would be able to get it out when I washed it and she immediately gave me an additional 10% off. 

7. Stick to Your Budget.   Even though some of the deals may be too good to pass up, you need not overspend.  I had $50 cash and a $25 gift card to Bergner's.   I actually picked out two more outfits for Baby Sis, but I ended up putting them back because I didn't want to go over my budget.

8.  Celebrate your great deals!  

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