You walk into a store and immediately your eyes are drawn to a big red display reading 75 percent off. Does this scenario sound familiar? Do you forget what you went into the store for and head straight to the clearance section?
Shopping the sales rack can save you a lot of money in some instances. And as someone who used to regularly pay retail prices, clearance shopping has been a recent fun and enlightening experience for me. After becoming debt free a couple of years ago, I purchase merchandise at deep discounts when possible to help me stay that way. However, shopping clearance requires some skill. While scanning the racks for deals, I’ve learned a few easy ways to save.
Resist Impulse Buying
Clearance shopping can save a consumer a lot of money. Unfortunately, this type of shopping can also cause consumers to waste a lot of money as well. When shopping merchandise marked at rock bottom prices, beware of the impulse purchase. Don’t purchase a multicolored sweater with a picture of a clown on it simply because it is in your size and costs $2. You will never wear the sweater, and your money will be wasted. Sometimes, a consumer’s zeal for a deal clouds his or her better judgment. Before making a purchase, ask yourself if you really like the item and have a use for it. If not, leave the item on the rack and keep your money in your pocket.
Look Through All Merchandise
If you’re a regular at shopping clearance, you know that this type of merchandise often gets moved from its original position. For instance, a sales rack labeled as having size large merchandise may have as many items sized small or sized medium as it does large. A clearance bin filled with Barbie dolls may have misplaced discounted Christmas ornaments in it. For this reason, it is important that a consumer scans through all sales merchandise before making his or her purchases. I’ve found some great deals on clothing in my size when looking through clothing racks that were marked a different size. If you take your time shopping and keep an open mind, you will be surprised at what you can save.
Stock up on Staples
As previously mentioned, clearance shopping can be wasteful if you purchase items impulsively. Buying items that you do not need or won’t use will end up hurting your finances in the long-term and prevent you from saving money. However, purchasing staples that you regularly use on clearance can be a great way to save money. For example, you find your favorite brand of jeans at an unbelievable price. If you know that you will wear the jeans, you can save more money by buying more than one pair. But be sensible. Don’t buy more than you can reasonably use and store in your home. Also, be cautious when purchasing multiple items that are the current hot trend or must-have item. The hot new trend of today may be out of style next month.
Look at Prices
When an item is placed on clearance, one probably assumes that it is at its rock-bottom lowest price. However, this assumption may not be the case. For this reason, consumers should calculate percentages and study prices in order to make an informed decision when purchasing discounted items. I have seen clearance items priced higher than they were priced on a regular sale. Also, some stores vary their sales percentages and prices regularly. My favorite clothing store always has merchandise on clearance, but the percentage marked off is rarely the same from visit to visit. I have seen this store’s discounted merchandise marked as low as 50 percent and as high as 90 percent. By studying a price before making a purchase, you will not get swept up in the moment and make an informed and money saving purchase.
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