July means BBQs, pool parties, and summer concerts, but let’s get real, what we all really look forward to during the month are the summer of end-of-season sales. By July, stores need to clear out their inventory for fall, and that means you have the opportunity to get an amazing deal on that Alexander Wang clutch you’ve been eying for months, but until now has been way out of reach.
As great as sales are, who among us hasn’t gotten caught up and bought something totally unnecessary just because they were 80 percent off or a dress that didn’t quite fit right because the deal was just too good to pass up?
If you want to get the most of the end-of-season sales—which are happening right now—without ending up with a case of buyer’s remorse, read on for 8 useful tips. Now, get to shopping!
1. Bring a trusted friend to sales.
Chances are, your worst shopping decisions have happened during sale time when you were blinded by discounts. Combat the act of buying things you’re on the fence about by bring a friend who you trust, and who won’t let you out of a store with that ill-fitting Alexander McQueen dress just because the price seemed to good to pass up (after all, an ill-fitting dress is an ill-fitting dress).
2. Go on the hunt for items you know you wear.
Use the end-of-season sales as a time to scoop up designer items that rarely go on sale like Manolo Blahnik BB pumps, or designer versions of items you know you wear often like jeans, blouses, or black pencil skirts. The discounts might not be as steep as they are on trendier pieces, but these are the items that won’t scream “sale rack” and will get plenty of play.
3. Shop pieces that work year round.
When you’re shopping end-of-season summer sales, keep in mind that fall and winter are just around the bend so that crochet maxi dress is only going to take you so far. Instead, look for pieces in darker colors and fabrics that work year round to avoid only being able to wear your great sale find for a few more weeks.
4. Compare prices at multiple stores.
Just because that handbag you’ve been eying is 50 percent off at one store doesn’t mean that it isn’t being offered at an even steeper discount somewhere else. Use sites like Shopstyle.com and apps like Amazon Price Check to see if there might be a better deal being offered.
5. Ask sales associates for some extra help.
Just because you don’t see a particular item you’re gaga over on the sale rack in your size, doesn’t mean it isn’t available. Make sure to check with sales associates during sales to see if there are additional items in the back of the store, or to see if the item might be available in your size at a different location. Have something you’re particularly smitten with that’s on sale, but it’s still a little outside of your budget? Ask someone in the store to keep an eye on it for you in case the price on it drops even further.
6. Check with stores on when their final markdowns are.
The very best deals during sale time happen during final markdown, the holy grail of sales. Call your favorite stores to find out when their final markdown period begins so you can be sure to be there, and watch out online for words like “last call,” the buzz word for this is as good as the price is going to get.
7. Don’t forget to browse online.
Don’t forget to check both prices at brick and mortar stores and online (they can often be different). Besides browsing for deals online at your favorite e-commerce stores don’t forget to check discount online retailers like Yoox.com and TheOutnet.com, which also host end-of-season sales.
8. Remember this for the next round of sales—price adjustments are your friend.
It’s too late for this season, but keep this in mind for the next round of sales: many stores offer price adjustments, which means that if you buy a product at full price, then within a given time frame, that product goes on sale, you can be refunded the difference. Often, price adjustments can also be had 13 days before a sale starts. Make sure you know the date discounts start and exactly what will go on sale, which means it’s pretty important to make friends with someone who works in the store.