Department Store Shopping Strategies

by Kay Lynn

clothing racksMy sister and I went shopping this past weekend.  I enjoy shopping with others so we can compare bargains and get feedback on potential purchases.

We both picked up several items and still our total was only $61 with a savings of $145 over the original retail price!  There are three parts to our strategy for maximum savings.


Years ago I used to have a credit card for every department store.  They’re all gone except for one which sends monthly discount coupons.  The discount ranges from 15-30% and I try to hold off buying needed items until I get the maximum discount.

Occasionally this store also distributes coupons in the newspaper that can be used with the discount.  I had one for $10 off of a $30 purchase but it was not valid in Kansas where I was visiting.

Another way to save that I didn’t do this trip was buy a discount gift card beforehand.


It’s important to buy items that are already on sale for maximum savings.  Department stores regularly mark down clothing anywhere from 20-50% and that’s before it’s on the clearance racks.

The biggest discounts are generally the furthest away from the aisle and against the back walls.  You could just walk about the store at the back wall for the best deals.

Shop Before You Need It

Two of the items I bought  were holiday-themed shirts for my grandson.  Each one was originally priced at $12 and after markdowns and the coupon the price ended up at $1.92.  So, it made it worthwhile for me to guess what size he’ll need next Thanksgiving.

There were also good prices on winter coats as the stores move them out for spring fashions.  Buying out of season can save you a lot of money versus waiting until you need the item.

We had one more trick up our sleeves to save more money.  The store had a promotion where shoppers get $10 off your purchase coupons for a future date range for every $50 spent.  Neither one of us spent that amount so we combined our purchases at the register to get one voucher.

It was a good shopping expedition as we spent time together and saved money at the same time.  What are your tips for department store shopping?

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Squirrelers February 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm

I shop sales, or I don’t want to buy. Also, end of season or off season provides a good buying opportunity. Instead of paying full price, you can often buy for less than half the normal retail price.

All this said, it still makes sense to buy quality products. If you want you to buy things that will stay looking good for years, buy good things:) Quality will last, and what better than to buy it at a significant discount! I’ve scored some pretty good deals, and I’m not crazy about clothes shopping.

Money Reasons February 22, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Sounds like some wise shopping! I try to buy off-season, but mostly not at all. 🙂

Little House February 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I wish I could get better at buying items out of season. I see the holiday items marked down 90%, but I just can’t get myself in the mood to buy them. Oh, maybe someday I’ll learn.

Kay Lynn February 28, 2011 at 5:34 am

@Money Reasons – We try to buy buy off-season but I must confess I didn’t go out and buy holiday wrapping paper this year and I’m just about out. I’ll regret it in December!

@ Little House – What gets me in the mood to buy off season is envisioning the money I’m saving, LOL!

Car Negotiation Coach February 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Funny that you bought for next Thanksgiving…I’m the same way! I love buying stuff like a Christmas tree the week after Christmas to save big bucks!

Kay Lynn February 28, 2011 at 5:40 am

Car Negotiation Coach, three years ago we bought a $400 Christmas tree for 90% off at I would never have bought such a nice tree at full price!

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