Monday, July 11, 2011

Belk, clearance, and coupons

As much as I love a good thrift store or garage sale, I also love finding great deals at 'regular' stores too. Don't get me wrong, finding second-hand clothing is always awesome but there is a different kind of awesome reserved for getting a brand-new something at a great deal from an actual store. That is what this blog post is about.

As you know, I love coupons and they are so easy to find and get for almost every store. Especially clothing stores. I worked my fair share of years in retail and can tell you, stores like to give out coupons for percentages off or amounts off because they know it will draw in customers. You are there to use your coupon- you are going to buy stuff, plus see other stuff you want, and make a return trip. It's all sales and that kind of stuff. It works out great for the shopper- who doesn't like to save some money especially when you were going to buy something anyways. Before you go on your next shopping trip, go to the websites of your favorite stores. Often there is a tab for coupons, or if not, you can join their mailing list. This is definitely something you need to start doing. I get at least 2 or 3 emails a day from different stores with information about upcoming sales, coupons, or online deals. A lot of times the emails get deleted because I don't use them, but they sure come in handy when I do need them. Just make sure before you do sign up for mailing list that you will be ready for the stream of emails you will receive (you can always unsubscribe to them later). Some stores grant you the opportunity to say how often you want to receive emails from them (once a week, once a month, every quarter, etc). If you are really dedicated, you might want to set up a separate email address just for this use. This also is great for restaurants as well! Oh, and make sure you put in your birthday- you often get a special extra coupon for your birthday. :)

So, here is my store coupon story for the week. My mother and a friend of hers went to our local Belk store to just walk around and see what they could find. (Belk is a southern department store- I think of it like Dillard's- higher end brands). They noticed there was a great deal of clearance merchandise and a sales associate told them that the next day Belk would be accepting coupons to be used on clearance items (an extra 15% off the already marked down clearance price). Now, here is a little side note about Belk. I love the store, but it is pricey, and the coupons that they issue in the newspapers usually do not work on clearance items. (That's another tip-make sure you always read the fine-print at the bottom of coupons- clothing stores are notorious for having several stipulations for their coupons- can't be used on clearance, sale items, certain brands, even maternity wear is often excluded from coupon use). So, the fact that Belk was issuing coupons good on clearance items was a big deal.
My mother and her friend decided to wait and come back the next day-but they still weren't sure how they would get their coupon. Since I get the newspaper, I knew I would get a flyer with the coupon. But I wanted to make sure they would be have a coupon too, so I went to the Belk website and sure enough there was a tab linking me to the coupon- and get this, the online print-out for the coupon started a day earlier than the one in the newspaper! If only I would have looked at the site the day before, then we could have gotten to good deals even sooner- oh well.
So, Friday, the three of us went in with our coupons in hand. I focused on the 75% off clearance racks (there were also several 50% off racks). I couldn't believe the great deals. Of course the racks did hold lots of 'winter' type items left over (3 quarter length shirts and sweaters and jackets) but they also held the spring and early summer items. Here is another little side note about clothing stores- to them the 4th of July is the end of summer. That is when all the summer items start getting marked down and put on sale, and slowly, for the start of the new school year, the fall clothes start rolling in. But like I say, you can always buy out of season, especially when it is a good deal. Take the great finds I stumbled upon...

This is a Lucky Brand hoodie. The original retail price was $99.00 (ouch! That hurts me even to type it), it had been marked down to $48.99, then again to $23.98. I saved $75.02! Since this was a 'name brand' item my 15% coupon didn't work- but that is still a great find.

This sweater is navy with silver weaved through it and has gorgeous diamond buttons. It is Jones New York Collection and was originally priced at $109. It was marked down to $23.98 plus 15% off- I got it for $22.93. I saved $86.07.

I love this black LRL (Lauren Jeans Co, Ralph Lauren) top with the lace sleeves. It had been $58.50 marked down to $28.99, then marked down again to $13.98. Again, since this was a 'name brand' item my coupon didn't work- but still a great deal since I saved $45.52.

I love this dress and can't wait to wear it! It a Kim Rogers dress and the original price was $86.00 then it was marked down to $42.99, then again to $20.98 plus my 15% off and I bought it for only $17.83. So, I saved $68.17.

In total I saved $292.78! I say that made for an awesome trip!

Just remember when using coupons for clothing to always read the fine print, and make sure it's a true deal. Go to your favorite stores websites and look for their mailing list tab- you can always unsubscribe later if you don't like the coupons or don't use them. Who knows, your savings could be monumental!
I hope this inspires you to go look for your own great finds. Happy hunting :)

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