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Sunday, December 27, 2009

12 Holiday Clearance Shopping Guidelines

Please note: This is the second article (2 of 4) in a series about post Holiday clearance shopping.

Grab the keys and let's hit the mall. Not! Unless you want to spend more money, take more time and simply be more frustrated. It is time to prepare for your shop before you leave home.

Clearance Shopping Guidelines

1. Familiarize yourself with the Bargain Huntress Holiday Clearance Rules.

2. Check out Pinching Your Pennies forums. Thismust stop on the internet will help you save time and money. There are over 60,000 registered members across the country, and it is nice to have all the extra sets of eyes doing research at stores and sales for you.
*Check out the Screaming Deals around Town to see what % off savings you can expect today (and decide if you want to wait for a higher saving %).
*Check out Your State forum to see if there is a Must -Have hidden gem in your neck of the woods.
*Check out your Favorite store’s thread (Target is mine, for example) to see what deals you might have missed, but now know to keep your eyes peeled for when you hit the store.
*Check out Printing Pennies for HOT Printable Coupons that might match with a hot clearance sale item. A great example would be $1 off Emerald or Diamond Nuts. Many nut gift baskets are at low clearance prices and a coordinated $1 off coupon would make for a great double play!
*Have a particular item you are searching for? Use the Find a Penny forum to get assistance in finding that $20 Christmas tree you are searching for, but cannot find at your local Big Lots. Others in nearby cities can check out their stores for you!
*Check out Screaming Deals Online forum. Many online retailers are having clearance sales, too. The staff at PYP are the best deal finders on the net, and you don’t want to miss out on some great gifts with savings of 75% or more.

3.Go shopping by yourself, if possible. And try not to bring your children. If you bring the kids, you have added items that you do NOT want into your cart and it is very easy to get frustrated, faster.

Here's an idea that might work for you... A good friend & I trade off clearance shopping days- one baby-sits while the other shops, then the next day we trade. Our kids have fun play dates and we get a day of Clearance Shopping by ourselves!

4. Remember that there is more to Christmas clearance shopping than leftover bows, tinsel and wrapping paper. Bath sets, Desk sets, and other unique gift items that you do not see at your store throughout the rest of the store are most likely Holiday clearance.

5. Be creative when shopping Holiday sales. Have a girl friend who loves to scrapbook? Look for Christmas scrap booking items that probably are on clearance. Continue to purchase Holiday themed clearanced supplies for your friend (I would wait til 90% off) and when it is time for her birthday, you have a unique and fun present that didn’t cost you much.

6. Have a person in mind when buying non-Holiday clearance items. This will prevent you from overbuying bath sets AND maintains control over your budget.

7. Limit how many stores you will shop. This may seem obvious, but try to stick to a few stores, even one mall, to maximize your shopping time and minimize wear & tear on you. If you focus on one or two stores, say Target, you can patiently wait for items to be marked down to a lower price in a few days (as it will be. See tomorrow’s blog entry for some golden Target clearance information)

8. Check out the store’s website for any information about sales, printable coupons and rebates to add to your savings.

9. Sign up for your favorite store’s newsletter and store loyalty rewards cards. Many times, you will be the first to hear about sales and rebates and new coupons. Bath & Bodyworks do this all the time. For example.

10. Get a Store Charge Card. (Disclaimer: I am NOT advocating using credit or going into debt simply to shop Holiday Clearance sales.) Please let me start by saying that I do not have store charge cards that I use, nor carry a balance. However, store card holders can receive special coupons and discount cards/codes that the general public cannot use. Kohl’s is the best example of this.

11. Get to know Target & its Clearance system. This is a whole entry unto itself and you will see it Monday morning. (This is one of my most requested shopping secrets)

12. Get creative with cheap clearance items. This is another blog entry, too. Stay tuned for some fun & unique ideas about Christmas clearance on Tuesday morning.

If you use the above ideas while Holiday Clearance shopping, you will maximize your monetary and time investment while minimizing stress & frustration. Happy Shopping!



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