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Seven Smashing Sales

Every day we get bombarded with ads, commercials, and coupons with the "best sale of the year!" pitch. But not all sales are equal!

Studio 5 Steals and Deals Contributor Jordan Page shares the 7 best sales of the year that you should never miss!


I have spent hours upon hours...I'm embarrassed to say how much time...let's just keep it at a lot of time calling corporate offices, visiting stores, and scouring the internet to narrow down some of the sales and steals you shouldn't miss each year. I tried to display a variety of stores, so obviously I didn't hit every amazing sale at every store. But at least you know these 7 are pretty fool-proof! Happy shopping :)

1. Bath & Body Works Annual Sale

When I posted the question on Facebook asking my friends and readers what THEIR favorite store sale of the year was, B&BW was the overwhelming #1 response. Why? Because their stuff is the bomb! Who doesn't love smelling good, and having your house smell good? Plus, they make great gifts for people.

BUT...their stuff can be pricey. That's why their Annual Sales shouldn't be missed! Here's what you need to know about the sale:

WHAT is it, WHEN is it, and what can I FIND at this sale?

· Their Annual Sale happens 2x per year, June and January.

· Their June sale is everything kept over from their last sale, PLUS warehouse items.

· Their January sale (which in 2012 will actually be the day after Christmas instead of Jan 2013, just FYI...) is anything kept over from the June sale, plus any inventory from the year that they haven't sold yet.

· Each year their sales have a different theme.

· Each sale they throw in a "twist" to make things new, different and exciting. Last year they brought back old fragrances that were past favorites. The sales always change, and even the stores themselves don't know exactly what the sale will entail until right before it happens.

· What will you find at the sale? It changes all the time, but the prices just rock! At previous sales you were able to get Wildflowers for $3, soaps for 1/2 off, lotions for $3, and more.

How can you stretch your dollar at this sale?

· You need to get on their email list. JUST DO IT! Read all about why it doesn't suck HERE.

· If they ask for your email at the register, give it to them - even if they have it already! This allows their computer to track you and your spending habits (big brother? are you out there?). That way they can tailor their coupons to the items you're interested in, and buy the most. Plus, the more you shop there, the more coupons and freebies they'll send you!· Call the 1800# found on their site to get on their mailing list. That way you'll get promotions AND coupons that others won't get. For example, they recently gave a 20% coupon plus a free travel size, no purchase necessary.

2. Men's Warehouse B1G1 sale

Ok, stop rolling your eyes, please. I know that when you hear "Men's Warehouse" you probably think to yourself, "Ew, that's where my dad and grandpa shop." If that's the case...you're wrong! MW was never even on my radar until one day my dad and hubby came home with hundreds of dollars worth of clothes for pennies on the dollar, and they were slick, handsome, savvy, and trendy. I've been a believer ever since! Now, around conference time when my brothers and dad come to town, they hit the sale together, stock up on goods, and simply split the price.

WHAT is it, WHEN is it, and what can I FIND at this sale?

Men's Warehouse (MW) has two big sales that they rotate though:

· Buy 1 Get 1 FREE sale (buy one of anything in the store, get another free...suits, ties, shirts, you name it.)

· Buy 1 Get 1 50% off sale (same as above, but 50% off instead of free.) The interesting thing about these sales is that they run ALL YEAR LONG. They trade off, and one of the two is always running. If the B1G1 FREE just ended, you can bet that the B1G1 50% off will begin on it's heels. BUT...a few things to note:

· The duration of the sale is constantly changing. It might only run for one day, or it might run for an entire month. They stores don't even know in advance, it's all based on the market and what's selling.

· You might automatically think that the B1G1 FREE sale is better than the B1G1 50% sale. Oh contraries, my friends. (See next bullet for more info...)

· What really matters are the promotions running ALONG SIDE the sales. The B1G1 applies to anything in the store, whether it's been marked down or not. So you really want to pay attention to the promotional items running in the store. For example, pants might be 30% off to begin with in October (let's pretend, anyway). So when the B1G1 50% off runs, you're taking 50% off of an already 30% reduced price! Whereas pants might be full priced during the B1G1 FREE sale, so you'd end up paying more. How can you stretch your dollar at this sale?

They offer a free rewards program that you should sign up for. Why?

· For every $500 you spend you get a $50 certificate. (And just between you and me and the person-who-shall-not-be-named at the store I talked to said that, in lieu of customer service, they will nearly always honor the cert's, even if they have expired.)

· They will email you the promotions coming up, so you can see what promotions are running along WITH the B1G1 sale currently running.

· They will email you coupons not available to others.

· Keep your eyes peeled for the year-round fabrics that you can wear all seasons to get more bang for your buck, rather than buying specific colors or styles for specific seasons.

3. The Children's Place Monster Sales

Anyone with kiddos probably knows by now that The Children's Place has some great stuff, at great prices (when on sale especially). Their PJ's are to die for. Not even kidding. This is the sale you need to keep your eyes peeled for so you can stock up on clothes for those kiddies that just grow waaaay too fast!

WHAT is it, WHEN is it, and what can I FIND at this sale?

These sales aren't always called Monster sales, but many times they are. They are also referred to as "summer clearance" and "winter clearance" sales. Here's what you need to know about them:

· They run in January and June or July.

· January = clearing out their winter merch, gearing up for the new spring stuff.

· June/July = clearing out spring/summer to make room for the new fall stuff.

· As for what you can find, once again it varies with every sale. You could see 30% off everything, 2 for $1 accessories, etc. However, I've made out like a bandit with their entire racks of clothes that are marked down to $2.99, $1.99, and....wait for it...yes, even $0.99. Not for a sock, or a glove...a shirt. Or pants. Or vest. Or, not even lying, an entire snow suit! Beats the Wendy's dollar menu if you ask me.

How can you stretch your dollar at this sale?

· Sign up for their emails. (Do I sound like a broken record yet?) They tend to ask you every time you're at the register to put in your email. I have been told multiple times by multiple sales people, "each time you put in your email you get better coupons." I called KAPUSH! on that one, turns out I was right. That's false, just a tricky line to lure you in. However, the benefit of putting your email in each time is that it keeps you active in their system; lets you know you're still interested in getting the special coupons and promotions.

· Buy ahead. Right now their denim is only $10. Seeing as how August just ended, it's still a bit warm for jeans. But remember, the next sale isn't until January. So for heaven's sake, buy ahead! Don't let your little one's legs freeze to death, please! (And don't even think about running out and paying full-price because you didn't plan well enough.

· Their online store is different than their store-store. Sometimes their sales can be better online, and vice versa.

· Shop outlets! This is the case for many of the stores on this list. But their store at the Tanger Outlets in Park City, UT for example always carry killer deals. They often times carry the same merchandise as their non-outlet stores, only for cheaper. No brainer.

4. Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale

We've all seen the commercials...and covered our husband's eyes...then vowed to throw away every chocolate cookie stashed in the pantry after seeing their rockin' bodies. Commercial aside, Victoria's Secret semi-annual sale is their biggest sale of the year - by a landslide - and really is a great time to stock up on some basics...or not-so-basics-but-still-really-fun-to-have.

WHAT is it, WHEN is it, and what can I FIND at this sale?

· The sale happens 2x per year, in June and January (shocking, I know).

· At the S-A sale, nearly 1/2 their store is discounted. Which, if you ever shop at Vickies, you know is rare. (Like, only 2x per year, rare.) It's their seasonal merchandise that's been marked down, making room for the new stuff coming in.

· Once again, every sale is different. But one thing to know is that each STORE is different, too. One bra may sell well in New York, but may be a total flop in Minneapolis, MN. So each store (even within the same state!) may have completely different inventory, and even different promotional items.

· That being said, there's no saying as to what you'll find from one location to the next. But in the past you've seen things at the S-A sale such as bras for $19.99 or $29.99 (about 1/2 of what they run normally), all their bras on sale, lotions and body sprays 3 for $14.99, etc.

How can you stretch your dollar at this sale?

· You can't use coupons on clearance items, so they won't do you any good at the S-A sale, unfortunately.

· If you have an Angel's cardit card. You get early access to shop, allowing you time to score the best deals. You can also get 2x or 3x the rewards points during the S-A sale.

· If you get on their email list they will let you know when the sale is, so you don't have to sit by your TV like a hungry kitten waiting for the infamous commercial.

· The sale gets better the longer it runs. It's typically a 2-week sale, but after 2 weeks the leftover merch gets marked down even more. So, patience pays off here. However you do run the risk of having less inventory (and sizes) to choose from. But really, patience is a virtue.

5. Nordstrom Anniversary and 1/2 Yearly Sales

Nordstrom...when I think of the name, I think "posh". Not sure why, I guess it's because their clothes are the trendiest of trendy, but also priciest of pricey. Luckily they have a few sales each year that makes it a little easier on our wallets so we can enjoy the luxury and trendiness of good ol' Nordy's!

WHAT is it, WHEN is it, and what can I FIND at this sale?

They run 3 sales each year - two half-yearly sales, and an anniversary sale.

· May & November: Half-yearly sale for women/children clothes (clearance of season prior)

· June & December: Half-yearly sale for men (clearance of season prior)

· July: Anniversary sale for men/women/children (brand new fall merchandise at pre-season savings)

With the anniversary sale they take their new merch, bring the price down for two weeks, then mark it back up to regular price. So this sale in particular is great for those wanting the freshest new looks and/or to get their favorite designer brands at a reduced price.

How can you stretch your dollar at this sale?

· Once again...I DON'T recommend getting one, but if you happen to have a store credit card then you get to shop early, thus getting first dibs on the best deals.

· The gentleman at Corporate gave me the coolest tip. Ready for it? Make friends with a favorite salesperson! They work on commission and their customer service is awesome, so they are more than happy to alert you when your favorite brand gets marked down, or when something you're needing goes on sale.

· Also, they offer FREE (yes, free-99) personal stylists. So you can tell them what you're looking for, your budget, brands you like (if you're into that sort of thing) and they will help you find it...no minimum purchase required. Might as well, right? BUT!!!!!! You'd BETTER not feel obligated to buy anything! Just because someone is helping you doesn't mean you have to buy. If that will be hard for you, avoid this tip altogether.

6. Macy's One-Day Sale

We all know Macy's, and beyond the killer Thanksgiving Day parade, we may or may not love Macy's. Some people are diehard, some people have never stepped foot inside. My husband and I, personally, have found amazing deals at Macy's, especially in the men's department! Their 1-day sale is great for the fans OR newbies to Macy's. Here's why:

WHAT is it, WHEN is it, and what can I FIND at this sale?

Macy's runs a 1-Day sale every month actually (bet you didn't know that!). Their purpose isn't to flush out seasonal merchandise per say, it's mostly to simply give their customers the best deal for the month, in one formal sale. Here's what you need to know about it:

· They simply mark down their inventory to give the best deals for the month on certain items. So really pay attention to what that particular sale that particular month is focusing on.

· The name is somewhat of a misnomer, because the sales actually run Friday AND Saturday (yes, your math is right...that's actually two days). BUT, Friday is more of a preview day and Saturday is the big, "real" sale day, so I guess it's all perspective.

· The sales vary month to month, you won't find the same promotions each time.

· Facebook is a good way to know what the events and promotions are for that month.

How can you stretch your dollar at this sale?

· Macy's cardholders get information and coupons in the mail that others don't, plus added discounts at the register.

· The best time to shop is in the morning. They run morning specials on both days where they offer the best deals.

· However coupons can't be used during the morning specials, so just be aware of that.

· You can find Macy's coupons in the newspaper.

7. TJ MAXX Every Day Non-Sale

Ok, ok, ok, I get it...I'm totally cheating with #7. Why? TJ MAXX doesn't actually run any sales throughout the year! But I wanted to highlight it to remind you all that TJM is a great place to get literally the SAME ITEMS that you can get at many of the stores above, at a discount. Here's what you need to know about TJM:

· They don't run any big, formal sales like the stores above do. However, they will put their seasonal items "on sale" or clearance at the end of the season. Anything not sold gets donated to charities.

· The items they carry are items that you might find in a department store...on the same day even! It's true! (But for much less.)

· Why? TJM is an "off-price buyer", meaning, they buy mistakes made by mainstream retailers such as too much inventory, overproduction of an item, more fabric than they needed leading to more items than originally needed, etc.

· They won't buy any inventory that they can't offer for 60% less than retailers.

· They get 3 or 4 shipments per WEEK, so their inventory is always changing. If you don't have luck at the store one day, don't give up! Just keep checking back.

· Contrary to popular belief, only a small percentage of their store is damaged or messed up items. So you see, you might not need to wait for a 1/2 yearly sale to take advantage of great prices.

WHEEW!

So there you have it. Hopefully that helps you plan out your year and stocking up on your favorite items at your favorite stores. Happy shopping to you!


Jordan has even more ideas on how to save money and live frugal. Check out her blog, http://www.funcheaporfree.com/

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