We cannot all afford to shop at the high-end department stores, but let's face it -- they carry goods and brands that are just not available at most discount stores. With careful planning and shopping, you can get great deals at the high end department stores with prices equivalent to those you find at discount stores.
Have a long-term plan. Use the calendar to write events for which you will be buying gifts or particular items. If you wait until April to buy swimsuits for your family, swimsuit prices will be at their highest. Winter coats and gloves cost the most in October.
Take an inventory of what you have. Anticipate what you and your family will need in the upcoming year. Stores take advantage of impulse shoppers. If you wait until the day before the prom to buy your daughter's prom dress, plan to pay the highest price.
Think about when you spend the most money on clothing. For many families, it's just before school starts. Maybe it's Christmas time, or at the beginning of summer. If you watch the newspaper or internet store ads, you can get great deals, but typically, the best deals are on off-season merchandise. Shortly after the new year begins, stores start putting out swimsuits and shorts. They have to get rid of the coats and sweaters to make room for these summer items.
Exercise patience when buying off-season merchandise. You don't have to buy a winter coat when it is advertised at 25 percent off. In a week or so it will be marked down further. Look for sales that say 50 percent to 90 percent off already reduced merchandise. A $200 coat that has been marked down 25 percent costs $150. If it is marked down 90 percent of its already discounted price, it now costs $15! If you are a careful shopper, you can get summer items in October for almost nothing.
Don't be shy when asking about upcoming sales. Talk to the department manager. Ask if the items you are looking for will be marked down further in the future. Often, they will tell you when the items have to be gone to make room for the next season's merchandise. Tell them that you live out of town and ask if you can get the discount today. You would be surprised how often you can get the discount.
Don't forget Black Friday sale ads.
- AnaAdo/iStock/Getty Images