For readers who know T.J.Maxx, you understand the rush of finding a pair of Calvin Klein suede and snake leather sandals for $8. If that’s you, go straight into how to save at T.J.Maxx.
For those of you who’ve never shopped there, here’s how I’ll explain this store: If Target and Nordstrom had a baby, it would be T.J.Maxx. That’s because you can get Nordy stuff for Target (and sometimes Walmart) prices.
What’s the catch? No catch. For the most part, you’re getting good quality and sometimes current season merchandise…at a deep discount.
We’ve thrown everything we’ve got at this guide for shopping at T.J.Maxx, but before you dive in, download the KCL app and get ready for notifications when we find amazing deals there.
1. Shop T.J.Maxx Monday morning when the store opens.
Never shop T.J.Maxx on the weekend, if you can avoid it. Markdowns come from TJX Co. (the corporation that owns T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, Homesense, Home Goods and Sierra Trading Post) to the store only Monday through Friday. New merchandise also ships during the work week.
By the weekend, everything is pretty picked over.
My favorite time to shop is first thing Monday morning, when new shipments come and new markdowns happen in the wee a.m hours. Morning shoppers always have first access to the latest steals. But really, you can go any weekday as markdowns and shipments are an ongoing thing during the week.
2. Note what the tag colors mean and plan accordingly.
- White Tags (no sticker): Regular price
- Purple Tag: Items from The Runway collection (more on that later)
- Red Tag: Clearance price
- Blue Tag: Items with coordinating piece
- Yellow Tag: Final clearance price
3. Shop the twice-annual clearance events in January and August.
T.J.Maxx doesn’t technically do promotions, sales or coupons. The closest thing to an actual sale, which they call a “clearance event,” occurs right after the biggest two holidays of the year for T.J.Maxx: Fourth of July and Christmas.
That’s also when the retail seasons change from fall/winter to spring/summer seasons or vice versa, and T.J.Maxx wants to get rid of all of their inventory from the past seasons.
While you won’t see any percent-off sale signs about, you will see an ocean of yellow-tag and red-tag merchandise across the store.
4. Check out “The Runway” for 70% off designer clothing.
T.J.Maxx stores in metro neighborhoods have sections called “The Runway,” filled with high-end, purple-tagged designer brands, like Rag and Bone and Cèline. You can find out which stores by using the T.J.Maxx store locator and looking for the purple “R” in a box near the store name, or by doing an advanced search and checking the “The Runway” box.
This merch is not in-season. In fact, it says “Past Season” right on the tag. But, if you really want the high-end stuff for up to 70% off normal price, this is the only way to go.
For example, a Rag and Bone blue velvet blazer in store winter 2019, marked down from $650 to $175 (over 70% off!) was part of the 2018 Rag and Bone holiday collection, sold in department stores as early as Aug. 2018. (This same blazer, as of Jan. 2020, is listed on NeimanMarcus.com for $285.)
Sure, $175 for a smoking jacket is still a splurge. But, then again, if luxury brand names are your jam, this is a smoking deal.
5. Ask for a price adjustment if the style numbers on the tags match.
It’s not uncommon to find the same product with two or even three different prices dispersed throughout the store. This is either because T.J.Maxx purchases the same items from different vendors, or they missed marking it down.
They will price adjust if and only if the style numbers on the tags match. Do a quick browse through the clearance section and some of the smaller outside racks before checking out to make sure the item you’re buying isn’t there with a lower price.
I found the above sweater on the clearance rack. The one on the left had a red tag clearance price markdown of $20. Because I did a quick scan of the clearance rack and matched the style numbers on both tags, I bought the same exact sweater for $12 on yellow tag final clearance and saved an extra $8!
6. If you find a yellow-tagged item at your store in your size, buy it now!
A yellow price tag represents an item that has been marked down as low as it will ever go.
If you see a product you like, that is actually in your size, with a yellow tag, snatch it up as quickly as you can! (This is how I scored those Calvin Klein sandals.)
Let’s say the sweater you want is on yellow-tag clearance, but the store doesn’t have it in your size. You’re outta luck. T.J.Maxx can’t access their inventory through a central database. That means if you can’t physically find it in the store you’re in, you’ll have a hard time finding it at all.
You’d have to call every store in your area to ask if they’ve got that sweater in your size, then be put on hold while an associate spends twenty minutes trying to dig for it.
7. Shop TJMaxx.com for a great clearance selection.
TJMaxx.com has improved quite a bit from a few years ago, when I told you all to skip it. Now, about 50% of what you see on the website can be found in most stores. If you like the deals at T.J.Maxx but don’t like sifting through piles of stuff, try clicking through TJMaxx.com clearance.
You can sort by price, starting with items $10 and under, and all the way up to $50 and under. You’ll even see a T.J.Maxx free shipping promo code on the website occasionally, along with great $10 and under clearance sales like: $7 pajama bottoms, and $10 girls’ hoodies. Not bad with free shipping!
If you sign up for the email list, you can also get a TJMaxx.com free shipping promo code.
8. The best substitute for T.J.Maxx coupons, which don’t exist — treasure hunting.
Each T.J.Maxx store gets merchandise depending on what sells the best in that area. That means if you go to fancier neighborhoods, you’ll see higher prices and more designer merch (The Runway).
So, if you really want to find some rock-bottom prices, stay away from T.J.Maxx in Beverly Hills and go bargain treasure hunting in the valley!
9. Use TJX stores gift cards interchangeably.
As I mentioned before, TJX is the parent corporation that also owns Marshalls, Home Goods, Homesense and Sierra Trading Post. This means you can use gift cards or merchandise credit from any of these stores at T.J.Maxx stores.
10. Save an additional 3% with discounted gift cards at Raise.com.
Shop discount gift card sites like Raise.com to save an additional 3% at T.J.Maxx.
Since T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, Sierra Trading Post, Homesense and Homegoods belong to TJX, you can browse all of the brands to find which one offers the best deal.
Right now at Raise, I can save up to 3% on a Sierra Trading Post gift card, which I can use at T.J.Maxx.
11. Skip Black Friday at T.J.Maxx.
In 2019, T.J.Maxx offered Black Friday shoppers free shipping on TJMaxx.com. True to their brand, T.J. Maxx didn’t advertise any sales or use Doorbusters to get shoppers in the store. They were closed on Thanksgiving but opened a few hours early on Black Friday. Then they just gave some free shopping bags to the first 300 people in the door and called it a day.
12. Ask for a discount on damaged merch.
T.J.Maxx is pretty good about marking down any item that’s damaged (as opposed to irregular inventory, which is rare.)
An irregular item will say it’s irregular on a tag, so don’t bother to point it out and ask for a discount.
A damaged item is one that may have minor cosmetic issues like a scratch or a tear. Often, the clearance section is filled with great but slightly damaged items.
If you’re okay with slight imperfection, and if the item hasn’t already been marked down with an “as-is” tag, ask an employee for 10% off. Employees and supervisors can offer a discount at their discretion.
This console at my T.J.Maxx Homegoods had a slight crack on one of the interior shelves. I asked about it and got $50 off right then and there. Boo-yah!
13. Be skeptical about the T.J.Maxx in-season merch claim.
As T.J.Maxx explains it, when Lucky Brand makes 5000 pairs of jeans for fall and the department stores only buy up 4000, they swoop in and purchase the remaining inventory at a discount.
How do they do it? TJX negotiates the discount by removing the standard buyback clause held between department stores like Macy’s and designers.
Department stores tell designers, “If these products don’t sell, we (the seller) get to return them to you (the designer) for a refund.” TJX says tells designers, “Hey, we’ll buy these remaining 1000 pairs of jeans on a final-sale basis, but we want to pay half of what you charged the other guys.”
That’s the official story. But, sales associates and regular shoppers will tell you that they often get the exact same merchandise, one year later. Most things are not actually in season, as merchandise can sit in a TJX warehouse for a while before it gets shipped out to the stores.
14. The best things to buy at T.J.Maxx are food and pet items.
Don’t let the thought of purchasing food items at T.J.Maxx weird you out. You can get some super high quality products for a fraction of their cost. I found a 33.8 ounce bottle of Redoro Italian extra virgin olive oil for $14.99, listed for $75 online! (The comparison price, as I talk about below, was under-inflated by T.J. Maxx, as it was listed for $21.)
Pet items are insane deals, too. I found a cute dog bed marked down to $29.99 that was listed on Amazon for $54.95. And CHI dog leave-in conditioner for $4.99 that was listed on Amazon for $37.50. Not that I would ever pay more for designer dog leave-in conditioner than human leave-in conditioner, or even buy dog leave-in conditioner, but there you go.
15. The worst things to buy at T.J. Maxx are gift bags and towels.
T.J.Maxx has a gift wrap and stationery section that’s always a mess. The gift bags are $3 to $6, which, considering that Dollar Tree is right next door to my T.J. Maxx, isn’t much of a deal at all.
The towels at T.J.Maxx are pretty and fluffy, but for anywhere from $12 to $15 per jumbo towel, not a good purchase. JCPenney has way better deals, like $2.99 for jumbo bath towels during their Home Flash Sale.
16. Consider the TJX Rewards Credit Card.
If you sign up for the TJX Rewards Credit Card you get an additional 10% discount at the register for your first purchase.
Members earn a $10 rewards certificate for every $200 they spend. This amounts to 5% cash back, which is pretty good.
I personally limit myself to only a couple of the best store cards, and while the T.J.Maxx card ranks up there, I would say it’s only worth it if you shop there a ton.
RELATED: Best Store Cards
17. Enter the T.J. Maxx sweepstakes for a free $500 gift card.
T.J.Maxx runs a holiday sweepstakes where customers can sign up for emails through TJMaxx.com to be entered into a drawing. On Jan. 7, 2020 five winners of $500 gift cards were announced.
18. Shop with your dog at T.J.Maxx stores.
Bet you didn’t know that T.J.Maxx stores were pet friendly, did you? Bring your furry friend with you while you shop, as long as Fluffy is in the shopping cart or on a leash.
19. Use the Amazon app or Google search to ensure you’re getting a deal.
Before snatching up a deal that seems too good to be true, do a quick price comparison by using the Amazon app to scan the bar code and pull up the current selling price online.
Or, like I did with the olive oil, Google Shopping search the product brand and name. I found the website selling “Redoro olive oil” in the Google shopping carousel search results.
20. Beware. T.J.Maxx inflates the “compare at” prices to boost sales.
T.J.Maxx claims prices are 20 to 60% below other retail stores by showing a “compare at” price on store tags. However, we found that “compare at” prices are often over inflated, making the deal look better than it really is. (On other items, comparison prices are under inflated, so take this with a grain of salt.)
The “compare at” price on this bottle of Chi Shine Infusion hair shine spray at my T.J.Maxx is $20. Target, Walmart and Amazon all sell the same bottle for between $11.49 – $14.99. While the T.J.Maxx price ($9.99) still beats out its competitors, the discount isn’t as great as you may think (33% compared to 50%).
Many of our price tags include comparison prices, which are references to regular retail prices of the same or similar items at full-price department or specialty retailers. Where identical items are not available, we compare to products of a similar type, quality and style. Prices vary among other sellers and change over time, but our buying staff’s goal is always to provide you with a useful comparison based on prices at which we believe substantial sales of the same or a similar item have been made at full-price department or specialty retailers in the area or online. Our mission is always to bring you and your family exceptional value every day – it is the foundation of our business.
21. Sadly, you can’t get a price adjustment.
If you find an item you have already purchased at T.J.Maxx at a lower price a week later, don’t expect a price adjustment. Since inventory is coming and going so fast, and they have no idea when markdowns are even going to happen, the store cannot offer adjustments.
22. Take advantage of the extended T.J.Maxx Holiday Return Policy.
Purchases made between Oct. 13, 2019 and Dec. 24, 2019 may be returned through Jan. 25, 2020. The normal refund policy will apply to any purchases made on December 26th or after.
You can return anything within 30 days with a receipt for a full refund. If you don’t have a receipt, T.J.Maxx can’t look up your payment card, as it doesn’t have the technology. But, if you give the cashier your email and ask for the receipt to go to your inbox, you don’t have to worry about accidentally losing your receipt.
If you buy something online, you can return it to any store.
But, you can’t return The Runway purchases to stores without a The Runway section, as they can’t look up the current price or restock it. They’ll send you back to where you bought the item or to another store with The Runway in it.
23. Beware! TJX makes their own designer knockoff clothing!
We leave you with this last tip that Peg, in the comments, let us know. TJX manufactures its own clothing and licenses designer brand names to use their labels inside and hang tags. If you see a Nicole Miller top for $20, and think it’s too good to be true, it might be. Be sure to flip the care labels over (the long white stack of tags usually sewn into the side of the garment at the bottom) and see if the very last one has “TJX Europe, Watford” printed on the back. If it does, it’s a TJX knockoff and NOT the real thing.
Don’t scroll up! Here are all the links in this article if you want to learn more: