Shopping Steals and Deals

I still have the tags from a pair of white Bermuda shorts (by one of my favorite designers) that I scored this past summer.  The original price (not suggested) was $120.00.  I snagged them for $32.99.  They are classic and will never go out of style.  And the fit is fabulous. (Tip:  Higher quality fabrics feel and fit divine!)   I should have bought an extra pair!  I love those shorts!

All of my family and friends know that I rarely ever pay full price for anything.  Over the years I’ve perfected the craft of smart shopping, so I’m going to share my personal tips on how to get the best shopping steals and deals.  You can thank me later!


  1. When it comes to clothing, learn what styles look best on your shape and avoid having to try on everything in the store.  Because of my years of experience, I can pretty much look at a garment and know if it will flatter my shape or look hideous on me.  For instance, I can’t wear A line dresses because I’m not pear shaped.  They add 20 lbs. to my hips.  That is not the area I need to camouflage.  Pencil skirts instantly erases those 20 lbs. and sometimes, they subtract 5 more!  Tip:  Just because a garment looks shapeless on a hanger, does not mean it will look shapeless on you!  But remember, it’s not a deal or a steal if you’re never going to wear it!
  2. Stick to the classics and just grab a few trendy pieces.  Trends come and go.  Classy is forever.
  3. When I’m shopping, the big mega malls are the last place I visit.  Why?  I don’t like helping them pay their mega monthly rent!  You want an example?  Early last spring I was looking for a dress to wear to church on Easter Sunday.  While shopping, I saw a beautiful designer dress at T.J. Maxx priced at $80.00.  It was way too revealing for me, but it was so beautiful I had to stop and look.  I didn’t find “the” dress at a few of my regular haunts, so I headed to the mall as a last resort.  I saw the exact dress in a department store for $160.00!  The exact dress!  And you thought T.J. Maxx only carried last season things?  Think again!
  4. The first places I shop are discount stores like T.J. Maxx, Stein Mart and Ross.  For years I snubbed my nose at Ross. I thought it would be a store filled with cheap clothing, riddled with holes.  And I admit, they have their fair share of junk.  And a lot of times, it’s hit and miss!  But, sometimes I hit the jackpot in the clothing and shoe department (I confess:  Shoes are my weakness)! Extra Tip:  I only buy things I love, not like!  At outlet type stores, if you love it and it’s a good price, buy it.  It will not be there tomorrow!  Trust me on this one.  I know from experience!
  5. Know your demographics!  Did you know that stores (even outlet type stores like Ross) carry different brands according to their demographics?  Stores in ritzy neighborhoods carry better brands – even mega mall department stores!  On the flip side, sometimes the better the area, the higher the cost, even on the same items at different locations, even at stores like Walmart.
  6. Shop Online!  A few years ago I bought the evening gown I wore to my daughter’s wedding at Nordstrom Rack – online!  It was such a beautiful (big name designer, not that it mattered, just giving you the facts) dress at such an awesome price, I just couldn’t pass it by.  A relative thought I had paid at least $1,200.00 for it!  As if!  It was less than 200.00!  And it was a major score.  The original price was almost $1,000.00.  And most online retailers have free return shipping in case you don’t like it  or it doesn’t fit.
  7. Online closets are all the rage!  I have a couple of friends that have joined them.  You “borrow” clothing for a low monthly price and the return shipping is free.  I’ve never tried it, but I’ve seen my friends in some of the clothing and they looked awesome!  One such site is  (No, I don’t get a thing from any of these stores or websites!)
  8. Clothing consignment shops are not my thing, but I also have friends that score big in that area!  I guess I need to come clean here:  I have this thing about wearing shoes that someone else’s feet have worn for extended periods of time.  The same with clothing.  There is probably a medical name for that, but I don’t want to know what it is.
  9. When purchasing furniture, I never pay full price!  Furniture has such a huge mark up!  My go-to places that I always check first are second hand stores (I love a good make over project), and (Home Depot’s more upscale line).  One year I was doing a major renovation and I ordered so much from Overstock that they sent me a beautiful floral arrangement for Christmas!  I scored a stainless steel under mount kitchen sink and faucet from Overstock once and my plumber said it was the finest sink he had ever installed.  The stainless steel gauge (the lower, the thicker, the better) is what you look for.  Overstock (at the time) had the best price and the lowest gauge.  Which brings me to my next point!
  10. Research, research, research!  Do your homework.  Read reviews.  Know that you are comparing apples to apples.  Make sure you know what the fabric is and what the furniture is made of.  Just because it’s cheaper (particle board, MDF) does not mean it will last like all-wood furniture.

Bonus Tip:  Children’s clothing is not an investment!  I wish I had known this fact when I was twenty something and thought that all of my kid’s clothing had to come from this one little boutique that I adored!  Children grow so fast and go through so many clothes.

Special occasions do call for a splurge, but instead of spending  a pile of money on clothing that kids will wear for a few months, invest it in their college fund and buy their everyday clothing from somewhere like Target.  Target has the cutest kids clothing!  (And if you monogram every single piece of clothing your child wears (this is a southern thing), once they grow out of that clothing, no one else can wear it unless they have the same name or initials).

Extra Bonus Tip:  You may think this is silly, but I always pray for good deals before I go shopping!

It’s your turn!  What’s your best kept secrets for shopping steals and deals?  Inquiring minds want to know!


About Alli

Southern, Morning Person, Jesus Girl, Frugal Party Planner, Writer/Blogger, Mom, Nana, Wife, Beach Bum Wannabe - Let's Have a Party!


  1. These are really great tips! I am a frugal shopper as my budget demands it. But even if I could afford to pay more, I don’t know that I would except for special occasions. I love the thrill of the hunt. This is a great collection of tips. I appreciate the furniture tips! I need some new soon and I had never considered shopping at those places.
    Amanda Smith recently posted…Creamy Crock Pot Yogurt RecipeMy Profile

  2. I love your tips! If any one wants to try it, here’s a link to Gwynnie bee Gwynnie bee free 30 day trial of 3 out at time has super cute dresses & I haven’t pd anything yet for all my cute dresses bc 2x they got behind n shipping so extends my trial 2 more wks!

  3. You are a woman after my own heart! Are you my long lost sister? We shop in all of the same places! The Stein Mart store in Macon,Ga. may not have all of the same things as the Stein Mart store in Hilton Head S.C.! We simply must go to both! If you live in a town with Goodwill stores, the smaller stores in nice neighborhoods will carry better merchandise so it will move faster also. All good tips, Alli! Thanks! Now, I’d like to go shopping 🙂
    Shirley @ Intelligent Domestications recently posted…Proven Strategies for Budget Cuts in The Home: Grocery Budget CutsMy Profile

    • Let’s go! I’m ready! When I was in my early 20’s I only shopped in mega malls. That was before I learned all the secrets on how to save money! 🙂 I thought it was great that you posted on how to save money at the grocery store the same day I posted on how to save when shopping for clothing and furniture. Great minds!

  4. Great tips. Researching and online shopping are big for me too.
    Stephanie recently posted…#excitedMy Profile

  5. Great tips, thank you! Number 2 is my way to go. That way I do not have to go shopping every season. I also find that the same brand store in a small town has better chances to get what you want, big city stores sell out quicker.

  6. That’s crazy about their rent – you can definitely find better deals by staying out of the malls. Great advice here – thank you!
    Renew Your Space recently posted…Using Desires As A Stepping StoneMy Profile

  7. I too am a thrifty shopper. Lol I always find great deals. My greatest finds usually come around Christmas. I research online and find the best deals. I buy most of my kids clothes from Target, The Children’s Place and Kohls. I buy when the clothes are on clearance and use coupons.

  8. Thanks for the great tips Allie! I am thrifty but I always need to be reminded of how to shop smartly!

  9. Love those tips. I am always looking for the sales, too. I spend much time reviewing items online before I buy them. And I do buy a lot from online now, too. The only downfall, sometimes when the items arrive, they are look different that online. Thanks!
    zan recently posted…Reviving Old Blog PostsMy Profile

  10. How much fun was this?!! Love your tips. I love Stein Mart but have never been a TJ Maxx fan…I know! My friends think I’m nuts but I just do not like the store. I still go occasionally since The Sweetheart and I travel so much with our ministry. I have found a couple of things but never anything I am crazy about. True, I am not a size 6 either 🙁 lol, so that might make a difference! Following you for more good “stuff”! ♥
    Nannette and the Sweetheart recently posted…Rasputin, False Prophets & Snake SalvationMy Profile

    • T.J. Maxx can be a hit or miss kind of thing, but I love their home department. I have bought lamps, curtains and even imported extra virgin olive oil that has been amazing and great deals. My daughter finds more things in the clothing section than I do.

  11. ak! i always forget about tj maxx! these are great tips! i’ve also gotten to know my figure pretty well, and will know right away if something will look decent. sometimes i still have some hope, though. 🙂
    roxy recently posted…What I Wore: Belated RedMy Profile

  12. I need to go shopping with you! 🙂
    Shashi @ RunninSrilankan recently posted…Hummus Sauce!My Profile

    • Come on, let’s go! We have a Valentine Banquet to attend Friday night because it was postponed due to the snowstorm last week. I got my formal dress for $40.00. I sure do love deals and steals!

  13. Great Tips! Number 6 is my favorite 🙂 Shopping in my pj’s, a nice warm cup of coffee, AND saving money… LOVE!!

    Have a beautiful week,
    Amber Ravatsaas recently posted…Capture Your Journey- Week 3 Link Up Party!My Profile

    • I’m with you! Shopping in my pj’s is where it’s at. I do most of my Christmas shopping online – no long lines, no crowds, no hassles. 🙂

  14. We love Target too. Also, all of us including my husband and I have a lot of hand-me downs. I mean if our friends and relatives want to spend a lot of money on clothes and then get rid of them when they are still in good condition why should we get the benefit of that?
    Jeryl M. recently posted…Tips for Tuesday – Misc.My Profile

    • I always handed my kids clothing down to my sister. It just so happened that her son was a couple years younger than mine and her daughter was a couple of years younger than my daughter. It worked out perfectly. A few months ago she sent me a dress that she had saved from when my now 25 year old daughter was a year old. It was still in perfect shape after being worn by 4 cousins!

  15. I love shopping online and getting what works for my shape. Thus why i have a few different kinds of 50s dresses lol. It has become quite the thing with me 😀
    Eschelle Westwood recently posted…The #VAUpClose tour at the Vancouver AquariumMy Profile

  16. Wow! I can at times be a disaster to shop with. It doesn’t help that my sewing background gives me more insight than I sometimes care to have into the outfit (that seam won’t last, that material is super cheap, etc). But, these are some fantastic tips! Especially since I have my first little one on the way, I am learning to love hand-me-downs from friends.
    Megan Bailey recently posted…Time to Workout!My Profile

    • I wish I could sew! I did get a sewing machine for Christmas. Now, if I can just figure out how to thread that bobbin, I may be in business! 🙂

  17. Great read! I am a huge fan of shopping….who isn’t?! 😉 but I am also a huge fan of coupons.
    I love how you say you buy what you love..not just like. I have a bad habit of doing that so I love that tip!
    Carie Spence recently posted…Maple Bacon Walnut BarkMy Profile

    • I like coupons, too. I tend to use more of them when I can use my phone to scan them when I’m checking out instead of clipping. I’m lazy that way. 🙂

  18. Great tips on shopping. LOL. I totally agree that children clothes are not INVESTMENT. They grow so FAST!

    • Yes, they grow too fast. I remember when my now-grown children were babies and how they skipped right over some of those darling little outfits I had bought them because they were growing so fast.

  19. Thank you! I sometimes hate shopping because of the $$$$. But, I have found T.J. Maxx and Burlington Coat Factory can be great places for deals! If I go, I try to go without the kiddos, because it is too exhausting, and I am more likely to leave something I love or buy something I don’t need because I am in a hurry!

    • That’s a great tip. All of my kids are grown so I love shopping with my daughters. I totally agree – it’s exhausting for the mom and the young kids.

  20. Alli! Great to see you in Group C. I love your blog; content is fresh and cleanly displayed! But now lets talk about your post . . . simply put . . . FANTASTIC! Just the tips I needed to kick off spring cleaning my worn out wardrobe. And I’m with you on wearing someone else’s shoes – guess it goes back to school days when we were forbidden to wear anyone else’s hats – and shoes? – eeuw yuk gross. Just sayin’. Love the tips – all of them.
    Kathleen Kidder recently posted…Challenges Come In Many FormsMy Profile

    • I’m glad I’m not all alone in the shoe wearing department, Kathleen. Maybe it does go back to our school days. Group C is filled with awesome bloggers!

  21. From the time I was 16 until I was 26 I worked for a retail clothing outlet similar to TJMaxx. I started in the warehouse while in high school and worked my way through Asst. Manager until I received my associates. I then ventured into the world of accounting, until a few years ago when I pushed myself through a BA and MBA in 5 years while writing about accounting. I’m glad I learned to be frugal at such a young age because I wouldn’t know what to do if I had to shop retail while trying to start a freelance business career and work through school. While I do shop at discount outlets like TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshalls, I am not afraid of clearance racks at Kmart or Walmart. Our local Targets donate their clearance to Goodwill so I can shop brand new, with tag items for pennies on the dollar. I live by an outlet mall, but there prices are far from outlet style these days.
    Chrystal @ YUM eating recently posted…DIY Coffee & Tea Mug GiftsMy Profile

    • And that’s exactly why I generally stay away from the big outlet malls – their prices ARE usually far from outlet style. Clearance racks (where ever they may be) are a good thing.

  22. I am totally guilty of buying something that doesn’t really flatter me or isn’t really my style just because it’s a “steal.” And then, not surprisingly, it hangs in my closet for who knows how long until I end up getting rid of it. I’m vowing not to purchase anything unless I can name at least 5 places/ways I will definitely wear it.
    Katie @ Pick Any Two recently posted…7 Ways to Stop Emotional EatingMy Profile

    • That’s a great tip about naming at least five places/way to wear it. I’ll have to remember that one! It’s not a steal if it just hangs in the closet (been there, done that).

  23. and if you can use coupons – even better!! 😀
    andi recently posted…Big Fish Games Giveaway!My Profile

  24. Great tips! I have been losing weight for some time (off and on). As I lose weight I give all of my previous sizes to charity. This makes for a very small amount of clothing in my closet. I refuse to add very many articles to the closet because I don’t want to waste money on something that isn’t going to fit for very long. I am really looking forward to reaching my goal so that I can renew my wardrobe. I will use your tips when I do.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Regina Partain recently posted…Yorkshire Pudding and CommentathonMy Profile

    • Congrats on your weight loss! I did the same thing when I lost weight a couple of years ago. I gave all the clothing to charity and my closet looked pitiful for a while.

  25. I have bought/found so many great things at both Marshalls and TJ… but you DO have to go often to find the deals! Unfortunately, where I live now it’s a good 30 min. drive to either one, and not a route I often take. I’ve noticed my good deal clothes and accessories have gone down radically!

  26. So true that children’s clothing is not an investment. That’s why we stick to hand me downs!
    Jenn recently posted…I could Never Let Them Go! {objection to foster care}My Profile

  27. Excellent tips! I also love deals and discounts. Truth be told I also don’t buy my clothing at full price. For myself I always seek sales and discounts. I also haunt bazaars and thrift shops. I’ve been overweight since giving birth to my 3 year old but hopefully my Zumba classes will help me lose this weight so that i can finally shop online. There are so many affordable and wonderfully priced clothing online. It’s difficult to shop though when you’re not sure if it’ll fit!
    Louisa recently posted…My Quest for an Office ChairMy Profile

    • I’ve always wished that clothing sizes were universal. But the same size by different designers can be so different. I took a Zumba class a few months ago and had a blast! It took me several years to lose my baby weight, too. I was not one of those girls that fit back into their clothing after 2 weeks (sigh).

  28. I’m not from the States but sine moving here 4 years ago I’ve learned a lot about smart shopping! A couple of things that help me is always know your prices so you can identify a good deal, always shop the clearance rack first, sometimes you find brand new stuff at second hand stores for a fraction of the price it’s worth looking, Ann’s last but not least used is NOT always cheaper if your know where to look! Thank you for your tips!
    Paulina recently posted…Two (among many) things I’ve learned since having our rainbow babyMy Profile

  29. These are really great tips on shopping on a budget. I felt the same way about shopping at discount stores like Ross and TJ MAXX until the birth of my two children. I had bad experiences as a child when we would shop at outlet stores. I remember in Middle School I bought a pair of acid washed jeans and the jeans were so defective that I could not wear them to school the next day. I vowed that I would only shop at major stores and boutiques after that day, and to only shop downtown with my mother in those days. However, moving to Atlanta and starting my family I have changed my shopping habits in so many ways and I like to give to other mothers that have done the same for me. I enjoy finding good deals at Marshall’s, TJ MAxx, Target, and sometimes Ross.

  30. A woman after my own heart. 🙂 I am a discount shopper. I have to admit I’m getting better about only buying things that fit me now, not when I lose 20 lbs. They have to fit and look good now. 🙂

    My biggest tip is buying offseason. A friend was laughing because I bought next year’s Valentine’s cards this week. I know my son will still be in school and 90% is just fine for pieces of paper he’ll give his friends.
    Kendra recently posted…How 1/2 mile and 10 years Led to a Full Circle MomentMy Profile

    • Buying off season is a great tip! Our Valentine Banquet was postponed until tomorrow night because of the snowstorm we had last week. I couldn’t get out in the snowstorm (all of the south closes down) before the banquet. I was secretly delighted because it meant at least half off of all the decor.

  31. I have recently discovered the joy of shopping online. It’s amazing. These are great tips all around. Thank you for sharing.
    Lisa recently posted…My Man’s Cinnamon Roll RecipeMy Profile

  32. These are such good tips! Especially the clothes-shopping ones! I need to pay better attention to Ross! It’s definitely worth the try!!! I always forget to go there!

    I don’t know my shapes well enough to be able to look at something and know if it would be good or bad on me, but I would love to be at that point someday!
    paula recently posted…Can I Read a Kindle Ebook Even If I Don’t Have A Kindle?My Profile

    • I’m doing a guest post in a few days about knowing your shape. Ross is a real hit and miss, but I’ve scored some of my best deals there.

  33. Thanks for the tips. I rarely pay retail, always look for sales and Goodwill is my best friend. Although sometimes hard, I also know that second hand stores typically knock down the price, often by 25% each week it’s in their store. I’m waiting patiently for this dining room table and server to go on sale! Thanks for the tips. I’ve never heard of
    April recently posted…Shhh…I Have a Secret Talent {with #FTSF}My Profile

    • I always make sure I click on the outlet tab at From what I’ve observed, when there’s only a few of the items left, the price goes way down.

  34. Great tips! One purchase we made was at Marshall’s. We found an entire bed set for about $60.00 in great condition, and super soft, too!

    I never thought about different stores having different items based on the demographic. I’ll have to remember to try different places when I go looking for something.
    Sarah recently posted…How to Organize Your CouponsMy Profile

    • I learned about the demographics from a saleslady at Dillard’s years ago. Then when I had grand kids and was trying to find a ride on toy for one of them and my local Walmart was sold out, I found it at a different Walmart for a much higher price. I figured they would match my (lower) local Walmart’s price. Wrong! They don’t do that. Live and learn, right?

  35. This is very helpful Alli! No. 10 is a must for me especially if it’s a big buy! It feels good too if I end up buying quality items at the best price! I enjoy reading your blog! Keep on writing! 🙂

  36. great tips, I have the urge to go shopping right now!
    Jeannie recently posted…Night lightsMy Profile

  37. I completely agree about your thoughts on children’s clothing. All of my kids’ clothes are either hand me downs or come from consignment sales. They don’t know any different at their ages and it saves our budget!
    LeeAnn G Taylor recently posted…God Specializes In SmallMy Profile

  38. Oh I love these tips!!! I also don’t think I would ever try the online closets or consignment… Too much of a germaphobe but love the rest!! I am on a budget and here we have a store I just found called Plato’s Closet!! Brand new clothes for a used price!! Lol! I love it! Other than that, I go to Goodwill!! Thanks!!
    Felicia recently posted…Transparent MarriageMy Profile

  39. These are really great tips! I honestly avoid clothes shopping at all costs simply because of how expensive it can be. It really is a rip-off with how much bigger stores and malls will hike up the prices when you can find the same thing cheaper somewhere else. I’m going to need these tips soon though, I’m sure I’ll have to start shopping for spring sooner or later!

  40. My husband always prays for a close parking spot when shopping! Great tips–and I have no problem wearing someone else’s clothes as that was the only way we had clothes when I was growing up–but I don’t always look that “in” either.
    Tammy @ recently posted…Scattered Saturdays: A couple weeks in review!My Profile

  41. Great tips. I love to go to TJMax and I hate the crowded overpriced malls so we have that in common. 🙂 I didn’t know about the demographics tip but I will keep that in mind.
    Becka recently posted…Candy Melt Heart Shaped Valentine GiftMy Profile

  42. These are such great tips! I also love TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I also love discount flash sale sites like Hautelook for extra savings on high end items.

  43. Thanks for the great tips Alli! I haven’t heard about online closets. Now I’m intrigued… going to check the site you suggested, thanks!

  44. Fantastic ideas! I like what you said about knowing what the cut of an article of clothing will look on you. I’m this way about color and fabric. I know what I find “itchy” and it doesn’t matter how gorgeous it is, I won’t wear it.

    I also pray for deals 🙂

    • I can’t wear anything itchy or beige. Beige washes me out to the point that you can’t tell where the beige top ends and my face begins!

  45. I never pay full price either. My fiance says when I see sale sign i go crazy which is true. You have a wealth of knowledge in the shopping arena. I’m jotting down your tips!
    Tomes Edition recently posted…Flexi-Rods @ 4 Weeks Post…My Profile

  46. I didn’t know about the “closet’s”….I’m going to go devour that tid-bit!

    Your suggestions were spot on in my experience about the T.J. Maxx, Ross, etc. stores. It is worth driving 10 extra miles to a “nicer location” because you will be pleased with the quality of items available.

  47. You game me and my wife some great ideas, especailly shopping on a budget. I know we always start at Ross or TJ Max when we do go shopping. Sometimes we will go to a JCP or Kohls. Those are usually cheaper!

    I always fear shopping online for sizes but i suppose if it it saves money and you can return it with free shipping might as well purchase where it is cheapest!
    Kyle Nelson recently posted…My Thoughts On The Success IndicatorMy Profile

    • I just love the thrill of the hunt when it comes to bargain shopping! Glad I gave you some good ideas. Usually when I go to department stores, it’s an end of the season sale or I have coupons. 🙂

  48. Ok, I guess I am too much of the typical male. I just don’t do shopping for clothes much. Each year at Christmas I get something to replace that item I wore out during the year. However, as a Pastor I have to have suits that I cannot afford to buy at one of the suit places. I have been able to piece together a good suit at multiple Goodwill stores. Thank for sharing such a thorough and efficient post. Blessings.
    Chuck Taylor recently posted…Why Men are Lazy & Women are Mean!My Profile

  49. I love what you guys are usually up too. This sort of clever work and coverage!
    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you
    guys to blogroll.
    twitter recently posted…twitterMy Profile

  50. Thanks for the tips. I am on a mission to finding more girl friends that like to go shopping for deals and love to talk. I have been so consumed with raising my kids and fishing with my hubby that I didn’t realize that I had neglected my friends so bad that they disappeared….. anyway love the tips and your blog!!

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