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5 Tips to Save More Money at Clearance Sales

Get even deeper discounts.

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Love the deep discounts that you find when shopping in the clearance department? Read on for five easy tricks to score even bigger and save even more cash at clearance sales.

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Hand over your coupons

In the past, most retailers only allowed you to apply coupons to full-priced merchandise. But that’s changing as more and more stores (such as Kroger, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart) now allow you to use coupons on sale items, including those on clearance. In many cases, you can even apply store loyalty rewards points that you’ve earned to cover the cost of your clearance item and earn loyalty points when purchasing clearance products too!

Need to return an item you bought while it was on clearance — for example, a piece of clothing that didn’t fit? It used to be that you couldn’t return clearance items at most retailers because they’re considered “final sales.” However, stores such as Costco and Kohl’s are now allowing clearance sale returns. Simply check the store’s coupon policy on their website or ask the manager to find out their rules on returns.

Tip: Some retailers scatter clearance items throughout the shelves and on aisle endcaps, not just in the section designated as clearance. So check discounted price tags closely for the word ‘clearance.’

Use this app to find deals

Don’t have time to visit lots of stores and websites looking for a specific clearance item? There’s now an easy way to locate the best clearance deals fast: Download the free BrickSeek app (BrickSeek.com). Once you set up your account, you’ll be able to search for an item by its name or by typing its UPC (universal product code) or SKU (stock keeping unit) number from the barcode into the app. You’ll then find out which major retailers (such as Lowe’s, Target, and Walmart) have the item on clearance, as well as which store offers the lowest clearance price. Not only that, you’ll also find out which store location near you currently has it in stock so you can run over and snap it up.

Check markdown calendars

Sure, many stores have at least some items available at clearance prices year-round. But you’ll get even bigger savings when you find out your favorite stores’ clearance calendars. That’s because there are certain times of the year when retailers put far more stock on clearance racks and slash their prices even lower. For example, Macy’s hosts a “Friends and Family” sale every spring and fall, which saves you up to 30 percent on everything, including merchandise being sold on clearance. Target has a weekly clearance sale schedule where you can find new markdowns on women’s clothing, housewares, jewelry, and other merchandise on certain days of the week. And TJ Maxx marks down clearance items every Monday morning. To get the clearance calendar for the stores you frequent, simply ask a sales team member or manager.

Visit virtual clearance sales

Retail stores and supermarkets aren’t the only places you’ll find clearance deals. You can also find them on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Just type “clearance” into the search bar, then filter the results to show the type of item you’re interested in, such as jewelry or clothing. Also smart: Find more deals by typing “clearance sales” or “end of season sale” (another term for clearance) into the search bar at Google.com/news. You’ll get a list of clearance events for stores around the country — companies hosting these sales want customers to flock to them, so they reach out to websites to publicize them. Another option: Visit hip2save.com for the latest clearance sales at major retailers.

Time it right

Headed to a liquidation sale? Go early to nab deals on high demand, high-value merchandise (like electronics and designer goods) since they’ll be the first to sell. If there’s lots of inventory of other items you want (say, candles or towels), return in a week — there will likely be more left and for even lower prices. When looking for bargains on small accessory items (such as belts or electronic power cords), return in the final days. These are slow to sell, so their prices will be slashed even further.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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