Friday, January 14, 2011

Cut Costs by Shopping out of Season

I firmly believe that no one should pay full price for ANYTHING! 

During my personal quest toward an even more frugal lifestyle, I have learned that 90% of the time, there is a coupon, promo code, discount, sale, or clearance price that may be applied to an item; reducing it's full price.  If you wait long enough for this to happen, you can reap some hefty savings. 

An Item will NOT stay the same price while in circulation simply because of supply and demand.  When suppliers supply too much merchandise for an item that does not equally reflect the true demand for that item, we end up with fabulous places like  Stores like TJ Max, for example, sell dresses at least 50% off the original ticket price. 

Is the 50% off dress 50% less the quality it once was when it's price was at 100%? NO WAY!

I recently strolled through Walmart's after Christmas inventory and found everything I needed to wrap presents for next year at 75% off the original price.  Sure I'll have to store it until the time I need it, but I would much rather spend a little money now and store the item VS waiting until the week before Christmas next year and have no other choice but to pay full price. 

I have been using the "Save & Store" method for my clothes shopping with great results.

I recently moved out of my parents house.  While living there, my daughter and I shared a room and bathroom.  There wasn't room to store much of anything, so the "Save & Store" method of saving money was limited to my daughters clothes only. 

My daughter is 6 and anyone who has kids knows how fast they grow, not to mention how messy they can be.  Early in my parenting, I learned the hard way that the second you put a $40.00 Easter dress on a baby, it's the very next second that baby pukes green pees and carrots all down the front; causing me, the next second after that, to have a mild heart attack. 

It's not practical or wise to buy children expensive clothes, they will ruin them quicker than you can say "Lean over your Plate!" So what's a mom on a budget to do?

Buy your child clothes out of season when they are on SUPPER sale!

I have been buying my daughter school and play clothes this way since she was an infant.  Many retail stores like Walmart, Target, Sears, and JC Penny will drastically reduce their winter clothes in the summer and vice verse.  I have saved tons of money buying her clothes 75% - 90% off original price.  Shopping this way is even cheaper than consignment. 

If you are a newbie at shopping for clothes out of season, here some tips and hints for maximizing your savings. 

1.  Don't strike at the first round of sale items.  Be patient for the major reductions that will come later.  Retail stores will begin putting out clearance summer clothes as soon as it starts getting cold outside.  This first round of reduced price clothing is usually not where you will find your best deals.  The deeply discounted summer items will be found in the middle to end of winter.  Stores are desperate to clear out old inventory to make room for the new.  

2.  Grabbing the best deals will take a bit of pre-shopping.  When you are at Walmart buying milk and eggs, swing by your targeted area to scope out the current sale items.  There may be a whole sale rack or two.  These items may only be slightly reduced in price.  Chances are, they will be reduced even more in a few days or weeks.  Pre-shopping the same items every week will greatly increase your chances of snagging the sweet deal. 

3.  Know beforehand what a "steal" is for you.  Personally, I will only buy an article of clothing if it is 75% off or more.  Buying a $8.00 shirt for only a dollar is a "steal" for me.  You might be satisfied with buying the same $8.00 shirt for $4.00.  Know what your budget is and stick with it.  I have my daughters entire summer wardrobe already bought for less than $40.00, shoes included. 

4.  It never hurts to ask.  Places like Belk and Sears will sometimes tell you when and where a big sale on a specific item will take place.  Unpublicised mini sales go on in department stores all the time.  Next time you are in one of these stores, ask the clerk when a certain item will go on sale next, or if a sale item will be reduced even further.  Most Sales Clerks will share with you the secret you want to know.  If not, well...It didn't hurt to ask. 

5.  Try Walmart.  I buy the majority of my daughters clothes at Walmart.  She is extremely active and clumsy; the most deadly combination to a new pair of clothes.  When, and I mean when and not if, she ruins her play clothes, I will feel better knowing that only $5.00 worth of clothing was destroyed and not $35.00.  FYI - Walmart Clothes Shrink!

6.  Buy as Size Up.  You may run into problems when determining what size to buy.  My daughter is 6 years old and wears a 6 slim jean and a size 7/8 top, so it's safe to say that the preceding summer she will still be in a size 6 bottom and size 7/8 top.  I've been shopping this way for a while and I know my daughters body, so there is no doubt.  If you do however question the appropriate size to buy, ALWAYS BUY UP.  Your child will always grow into it so it is not a wasted purchase. 

Do you shop out of season for your children's clothes?

Tell us about your success or failure.  Got any additional Tips or Hints to share?

What specific stores have you discovered with the best deals?

Good Luck


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