Outlet shopping can be an overwhelming experience for many people. I purchase quite a bit of my clothing, shoes, and accessories from Premium Outlet stores. These are my top 5 tips to outlet shopping.
Five Tips for Outlet Shopping
- Sign up for email alerts for your favorite outlet stores. I receive emails for Banana Republic, Gap, and Coach on a regular basis. By signing up for email alerts, you will receive notification of sales and clearances, as well as coupons for additional savings!
- Go to the outlets early in the day. If possible, get there a few minutes before they open. I do not like crowds, messy displays, or waiting to try on clothes. You can avoid this by arriving at the outlets when they open.
- Only shop the clearance items in the back of the store. I never buy anything from an outlet that isn’t clearanced. Think ahead when shopping, if an item is out of “season” don’t discard it immediately. Buy timeless pieces you know you will wear next year and beyond. Every item is eventually marked down even more than the “savings” displayed on the tag and store signs. Regular priced items at an outlet are often the same as the “regular” store, which means no savings for you! The best deals will be in the back of the store, not on the cute displays in the front of the store.
- Try on everything you want to purchase. This can be timely when you have 20 + items to try on, but it is well worth your time and money. Nobody said it was easy being fabulous and frugal! Depending on the outlet, there may be merchandise that is from the “regular” store, factory merchandise sold only in the outlet, and sometimes slightly irregular merchandise. Even when you know the brand and your size, still try it on and move around. I sit on the bench in the dressing room, walk around if I can, raise my arms over my head, and hug myself to check the fit and how well made the item is. You want to check seams, buttons, and any other details that could potentially go wrong.
- Do not be fooled by markdowns and savings. I admit I have made impulse buys when I see the original price on an item and the clearance price. Just like when you buy any other item, you must ask yourself the following questions – Do I like this and can I think of at least 3 ways/places I could wear it? You might find a great snowboarding jacket, but if you don’t snowboard or spend time in the snow you shouldn’t buy it. Do I like the item as much as the deal? If not, put down that t-shirt! Have I checked my smart phone for the price of similar or the same items? I use the RedLaser, amazon, eBay, and google apps on my iPhone all the time when shopping to price check and give myself a reality check.
I recently made a trip to my local Banana Republic Outlet and made a killing on the clearance racks! I followed my own guidelines:
- I checked my email and knew all clearance items were an additional 40% off, I also received an additional 10% off by showing the email to the cashier, and finally received an additional 10% off for being a AAA member!
- I was the second person in the store that morning and headed straight to the clearance area and loaded up my son’s stroller with probably 40 items to try on, knowing full well I wouldn’t be buying everything I was trying on.
- I tried on everything, examining all of the small details for quality and fit. I then carefully looked at what fit and decided to only buy items I would wear both to work and outside of work.
- I purchased 4 shirts, 2 boat neck three-quarter sleeve sweaters, 1 floral sweater, 2 cardigans, 2 dresses, 1 scarf, and 1 pair of shoes – 13 items. With tax (8%) my total was $207.47.
- I saved $153.73 with the 40% off and the two additional 10% offs. I added up the original prices on each price tag and the total was $821. 38! I am extremely pleased with this haul from Banana Republic! Below are pictures of the other items I purchased from the Banana Republic Clearance.
My extra tip is to take the customer opinion survey that is attached to your receipt! The catch is you must usually complete the survey within 2-5 days of shopping. It took me 5 minutes to complete the survey. You give your opinion and then receive a 15% off coupon.