The 7 Rules of Outlet Shopping: How to Score the Best Deals Every Time

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A day spent at an outlet mall has become somewhat passé, thanks to the recent online shopping boom, but you might actually be missing out on some serious savings when you’re sitting in front of your computer and not trolling brick-and-mortar outlets.

outlet mall The 7 Rules of Outlet Shopping: How to Score the Best Deals Every Time

The experts at Premium Outlets were kind enough to share these shopping tips about how to land the best deals at any outlet mall, because you better believe if there’s a heaven in suburbia where we can score Marc Jacobs at 25% to 65% off, we’re there in a New York minute.

Plan ahead.
Be sure to check online before embarking on your shopping expedition for information that can help you determine your plan of attack. Some outlet mall stores offer discounts that aren’t advertised so if you’re curious about a particular store, call them up and ask what discounts they are offering—you may be surprised to learn that stores are offering 50% or more off of already reduced prices.

MORE: How To Score the Best Stuff at Sample Sales: 8 Tips To Know Before You Go

Dress for the occasion.
Pick an outfit that’s comfortable, but most importantly, wear layers that slip on and off easily so you can speed through dressing rooms and adjust to changing temperatures since many outlet centers are outdoors. The same goes for shoes: Choose walkable, comfy footwear that’s easy to get on and off.

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Arrive early—or late.
The best time to avoid crowds and long dressing room lines is early in the day or later in the evening–between 10 a.m. and noon, and 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. To avoid dressing room lines altogether at an outlet mall, check your size in your favorite brands beforehand, so you can grab those items on your way to the register.

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Do some research.  
Enter an outlet mall armed with some money know-how. This means doing a little research beforehand about how much designer pieces actually cost at retail, so you’ll know if you’re really getting a bargain at the outlets. Also, keep in mind that some merchandise at outlets are actually made for outlets and factory stores, they aren’t all leftover from what you saw last season in stores, so keep that in mind.

MORE: When To Get Rid of Clothes: A 10-Step Guide To Tossing Old Pieces

Double or triple up on savings when you can. 
Outlet merchandise is already discounted by 25% to 65% and many stores offer special promotions and coupons throughout the year to help you save even more. For instance, Premium Outlets has a VIP Shopper Club with additional store savings. By using all of your savings options, you can compound your discounts and get killer deals—there’s no shame in bringing your calculator or smart phone to make the math easier, people.

MORE: 101 Genius Ways To Save Money Right Now

Move from front to back.
The biggest clearance items and deepest discounts are always located in the back of the store, so be sure to start your hunt there.

MORE: A 5-Step Guide To Cutting Annoying Wallet Clutter

Buy what you love now.
Don’t wait—that Chloé midi skirt will probably be gone tomorrow. Merchandise in the outlets sells faster than in regular department stores, so don’t let a hesitation keep you from your next wardrobe must-have!

What’s the best deal you’ve ever scored at an outlet mall? Tell us in the comments below!

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