How to Never Pay Retail Price

5 Tips To Never (Ever) Pay Retail Price for Clothing

How to Never Pay Retail Price

Good friends don’t let friends pay retail price for clothing, especially when we are in the midst of a promotion heavy retail environment in which sales are ALWAYS happening. Because I love you guys so much, I’m sharing five tips that have helped me build my wardrobe over the past year — without paying retail price for any item.

1) Know important sale and markdown dates.

There are few feelings worse than paying retail price for an item — only to find that same item go on sale a week later. Ugh! The lesson here: know key dates for sales. If you’re completely clueless about sales periods, here’s a handy summary:

Key Sale Months and Dates
January: Winter sales start. This is the best time to buy winter coats and suits made of heavy material, like wool.
March: Spring sales start. This is the best time to buy spring clothes with major markdowns.
July: Summer sales start. This is the best time to buy spring clothes with major markdowns.
August: Back-to-school sales start.
October: This is the best time to buy jeans on sale.
November: Bookmark Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday
December: On Dec. 26th after holiday sales start. The week after Christmas is one of the best sale weeks of the year.

2) Come ready: Prepare a ‘wish list’ before shopping sales.

Shopping can be absolutely overwhelming when you don’t have specific goals in kind. Elevate that stress by preparing a ‘wish list’ ahead of time. My wish list has two categories: ‘necessities’ (for items like jeans that need to be replaced because there are holes in unsightly areas) and ‘splurges’ (like that floral midi skirt that’s adorable but so not necessary). Make sure you set a strict budget for both categories. I typically limit myself to one item in get the ‘splurge’ category. Keep these items in mind so they become priorities when you’re shopping. If you want to get really savvy, bookmark or favorite the exact items you want before a particular sale starts, so that you can go directly to those items once the sale begins. This worked very well (perhaps, too well) for me during Zara’s Black Friday sale.

3) Sign up for retailers’ email lists.

I know, I know. Promotional emails are super annoying. But they are also the best way to stay informed about major flash and seasonal sales for each retailer. Most retailers offer advanced notices for major sales to those on their email lists. If you’re like #icanteven handle sorting through tons of promo emails every day, create a Gmail account specifically for low priority emails such as these. Having a separate email account for promotional emails helps me stay informed without cluttering my other email inboxes. According to my promo inbox, here are some of the deals happening now at major retailers:

  1. Ann Taylor – 50% off entire purchase with code MERRY
  2. Ann Taylor Loft – 40% of entire purchase with code FESTIVE
  3. Club Monaco – #0% off sale + 40% off clearance with code SALEONSALE
  4. Eshakti – Site-wide sale up to 70% off + $30 for new customers
  5. J. Crew – 40% off sweaters + 30% off everything else + free shipping with code GIVETHIS
  6. J. Crew Factory – 50% everything
  7. Modcloth – 40% 100s of select items

4) Use Poshmark.

If you are unfamiliar with Poshmark, you are seriously missing out. Poshmark is a mobile app that allows users to buy and sell new and used clothing and accessories. Before I buy anything nowadays, I search Poshmark to see if someone is selling that item. Then I double-check to make sure someone else isn’t selling that item for less. You can find most items for 40-70% off retail price, AND you can negotiate to get a lower prices. Poshmark also has a fabulous community of women who are as kind as they are stylish. My closet alone has some pretty deals (maybe even too crazy). Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

5) Use coupon and price comparison apps.

If you have a smart phone and you aren’t already using price comparison apps, I cry for you because chances are you have overpaid for many items. There are many goods apps out there, but these are my top 3:

  1. PoachIt – an app that sends you texts when a flagged item goes on sale
  2. RedLaser – an app that let’s you scan bar codes to compare prices at thousands of online and brick-and-mortar retailers
  3. RetailMeNot – the supreme coupon app that is essential for anyone seeking to pay less than retail on anything
I know this is A LOT of deal-focused information to pack in one post, but I hope it is useful. Your turn! If you’re a deal-finding nut like me, what are your top cost saving techniques?

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The Comments

  • Avatar

    Yep, paying retail price for clothes is definitely the cardinal sin lol I shop clearance and sales and always try to find a promo code while shopping online. I also shop a lot of thrift stores and even Ebay. I also try to find pieces that are versatile. For example, something that can be worn spring/summer and also fall/winter. Or something that can be dressy or casual. Or a maxi skirt that can be worn with different styles/colors.

    • Elizabeth
      > Elizabeth

      Good suggestions, Elizabeth! I need to take advantage of Ebay and thrift shopping more. And I so agree with your point about finding classic pieces that can be worn in any season. Neutrals are the way to go. Out of curiosity, where do you usually shop?

  • Avatar

    I will pretty much shop anywhere I can find a good deal! lol I do a lot of online shopping too. Of course, I love thrift stores like Goodwill and then Ebay. But I also love places like Burlington Coat Factory, Beall’s Outlet, or TJMaxx. I really like Cato because they have a lot of dressier stuff and it’s not that expensive. And I also like to shop department stores like Belk, Kohl’s, JCPenney, etc. because they have a lot of dressy clothes plus they always have a big clearance. I’m gonna have to check out Poshmark!