Get Deep Discounts On Your Favorite Products

January 17, 2008 10:43:25 AM PST
The "Shop Cop" Jennifer Litwin tells us how to track down big bargains on clothing, appliances and more. Many of us think that the really good deals on our favorite items come after a holiday is over. But according to the National Retail Federation, the time leading right up to the holidays is when you can get the very best discounts. Retailers want to create sales to generate revenue, and use targeted marketing campaigns to lure in shoppers. Many of us think, for example, the price of jewelry must go up before Valentine's Day, but it's just the opposite. APPLIANCES/ELECTRONICS

Best time of year to get deepest discounts on electronics and appliances is when models change over---typically, every 6 months. When models change over you can get floor models deeply discounted or promotional pricing on new items. In July, big sales in refrigerators?more rebates, because more heat breaks down refrigeration that month. Save money year-round on energy-saving appliances that cut down on utility bills. Typically, in February, March and November there are promotions. But best day for discounts on electronics is the day after Thanksgiving.

MAKEUP/COSMETICS

For bargains, don't shop department stores, except during the holiday season when packaging gets dated quickly. The specialty boutiques offer substantial discounts on discontinued products, particularly in July, when new colors introduced, but great time to look for the classics. Specialty stores (Ulta and Sephora) offer rewards programs for free makeup. You can save you a lot if you spend more than $50 on makeup.

Department Stores: During and after the holidays is the best time to get deals on makeup in department stores: Gift merchandise from the holiday season is unloaded because stores know that the holiday packaging is not "in style anymore". Sales in makeup aren't necessarily going to mean discounts, but instead may mean complimentary makeup, free shipping, or gift with purchase. Don't discount discontinued makeup at most department stores, but specialty stores do.

Sephora: Rarely has sales. Sales only on private label items at end of holiday season. Discontinued products sales. Rewards program. So if you spend $100 you get a deluxe-sized free sample (on top selling products). Certain products within a manufacturer's line are only available to someone who is a member of the rewards program.

Ulta: After Christmas, sales on makeup. July also a good time -- middle of year, when new makeup colors are introduced into the market, special packages, rewards program (with every $50 purchase you get coupons for free gifts -- a list of gifts that you can choose from -- not stuck with some makeup that you would never wear).

LADIES/MEN'S CLOTHES

Typically sales more frequent in department stores, except a few, like Nordstrom, which only have three key sales a year. Best time to buy at a department store is when they offer a few day sale on newly introduced merchandise to see how it will do, before raising the price to full retail (Macy's). Stores like JC Penney and Bloomingdale's offer sales monthly, and are pretty decent. The best time to get athletic apparel is in May and for men's clothing it is twice a year -- January and June, right after Father's Day.

JC Penney: Deepest discount in Spring (march 5?sales)---extra 15% off if you have a JC Penney credit card, cookware included. Usually monthly sales. 70% off now on many products (after Christmas), 15% off on fresh merchandise in the Spring. Free shipping offers throughout the year, based on how much you spend (if you spend $50 or more), during the Christmas season, you get gift cards if you spend a certain amount of money.

Nordstrom: Only 3 sales a year: Have woman's and kids' half-yearly (June and November, clearance on seasonal items that just preceded that period). Men: half-yearly sale (June and December). Anniversary sale: in mid-July. Pre-season savings offered during this 2-week period. Good for back to school clothes, shoes, accessories. Men's sale: 25-33%

Bloomingdale's: Once a month sale on weekends (usually 40%), and during Christmas time, every week through New Year's. 30% off sale price on clearance, if you spend $100 you get $15 towards a purchase, if you spend $300 you get $45 back. If you have a Bloomies card, you get 15% additional off.

Macy's shoes: best sale prices: 25-75% off, right after Christmas, (week long), June (20% off), October (20% off). Before holiday sale, newer merchandise marked down for just a few days, then goes back up in price.

Paul Stuart: 2 Men's sales: After Xmas (varies on how much off), next sale after Father's Day

Athletic Apparel: Best time to buy in May, just before the summer

MEMBERSHIPS TO WEIGHT LOSS CENTERS AND GYMS

You can get the best deals at weight loss centers and gyms after Christmas when there is no initiation fees. Just prior to the summer, when you have to start thinking about putting on that bathing suit, you can also get a good deal. Fitness clubs and weight loss centers have the same sale periods.

Bally's: Free programs offered after Xmas. 70% after Xmas want to lose weight ? discounts -- free classes in January. Also free classes on Thursdays as an intro to their system. All classes free in January. No monthly payment or initiation in month of January. January free.

Crunch: Promotions: This month: work out 7 times a month and get a free month of membership -- $49-79/mo. Initiation is $49-159.

Equinox: New Year's, and beginning of the summer (dues aren't discounted, but 0 initiation fee). Initiation fee normally costs $395.

Jenny Craig: Trial deals, but different prices all year, 20 for 20 (best deal is 20 pounds for $20 plus cost of food); (Jan, Feb, Mar), (Jun, July, August): all 20 for $20.

For more information on Shop Cop, Jennifer Litwin, visit www.jenniferlitwin.com.


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