I’ve got tons of ways to help you save on your next shoe spree, including how to get free cash at DSW and how I save at least 70% every time.
Is a shoe addiction considered a “problem” if you’re saving money? Asking for a friend. . .
1. Join DSW VIP for free and earn up to 10% cash back on your purchases.
DSW’s loyalty program is called VIP Rewards and it’s the queen of addiction enablers because the more you spend at DSW, the more perks you get. For starters:
- Get 1 point for every dollar you spend and a $5 reward when you spend $100 (5% cash back).
- Earn an extra $5 reward on your birthday.
- Get free ground shipping.
Spend at least $200 in one calendar year and you’ll earn Gold Status — and an additional two days per year to earn double points.
Spend over $500 in a year, and Elite status earns you 2 points per dollar (10% cash back) and a few more perks.
2. Get a coupon for $10 off a purchase when you sign up for emails.
3. Donate two pairs of shoes and get a free $5 reward.
DSW accepts any size of gently worn shoes for charity, and DSW VIP members get 50 reward points for each donation — halfway to a $5 reward.
Since you can donate one pair of shoes per day, plan to stop by DSW two days in a row with two pairs of shoes in order to get a free $5 reward.
4. Reach Gold status without spending any money — donate four pairs of shoes!
Free shipping and two days to earn double points every year all for the cost of some shoes my family doesn’t wear? Sign me up.
5. Use up to three $5 rewards per transaction.
You can earn up to (50) $5 rewards in one year, and you can stack three in one transaction.
6. Return online purchases to the store and save yourself $8.50.
Unless you’re Gold or Elite status, because if you are, free returns are a perk.
7. White tags indicate full-price items.
You’ll find these in the middle, main section of the store.
8. Purple tags indicate an additional 20% off clearance in stores.
9. Red tags indicate an additional 30% off clearance in stores.
10. Blue tags indicate an additional 50% off clearance in stores.
11. Green tags indicate an additional 60% off clearance in stores.
12. Yellow tags indicate an additional 70% off clearance in stores.
13. Online clearance and in-store clearance are different.
Online clearance prices coordinate with in-store colors, but that’s the only similarity.
This is because online discounts are actually a percentage range, compared to a full percentage off. Look:
- Purple tags indicate up to 20% off
- Red tags indicate 20-30% off
- Blue tags indicate 30-50% off
- Green tags indicate 50-70% off
- There are no yellow tags online
14. Don’t bother trying to price match the website with the store price.
DSW won’t price match with their own site or their own store.
They claim it’s totally different inventory. (Even though I can usually find the same shoes in store and online.)
15. Shop in store to get the lowest prices on clearance merch.
In my experience, online prices are rarely cheaper.
Even though a tag is “red” online, you may only be getting a 20% discount, instead of the full 30% off you’d get with a red tag in the store. Here are a few comparisons:
Tommy Hilfiger men’s sneakers, regularly $59.98
- In store: $41.99 (after red 30% discount is applied)
- Online: $44.98 (only a 25% discount)
Steve Madden women’s sandals, regularly $69.98
- In store: $55.98 (after purple 20% discount is applied)
- Online: $59.98 (only a 15% discount)
Olive & Edie girls’ dress shoes, regularly $29.98
- In store: $20.99 (after red 30% discount is applied)
- Online: $24.98 (only a 17% discount)
16. Shop online to get the best selection on clearance shoes.
There is one good reason to shop online: Selection!
For example, there was one small rack for size 10 men’s shoes in the store (maybe 40 pairs), compared to 577 pairs I see when I sort men’s clearance shoes by size 10 online.
17. Sort online items “by discount” and you won’t even see shoes you can’t afford.
When you’re shopping online, tap “clearance,” and from there you can choose to sort based on shoe discounts on the lower right-hand side.
Do this instead of going straight to “women’s clearance” to look for a pair.
18. Shop online on Wednesdays — the day DSW posts new markdowns.
You can sort by “New Markdowns” under “Clearance” on the site. Shop Wednesdays when inventory is best.
19. Peruse full-price aisles in the store and get rewarded with a hidden clearance hotspot.
Take this with a grain of salt, but sometimes you can find clearance items mixed in with full-price items.
Only do this if you have enough self-control to pass on everything that’s full price!
20. Hate math? Use the Clearance Calculator inside the DSW app.
When you’re shopping in the store, tap on “Shop” and you’ll see the Clearance Calculator.
Enter the price you see on the tag and then select your savings margin to find out what you’ll pay.
21. Aim to save 70% on everything you buy.
Since most items in the clearance section are marked down before you apply the additional clearance discount, it should be easy to reach this savings margin.
You might even get up to 85% or 90% off some items, because you get to take an extra percentage off the lowest marked price.
22. Save another 17% when you pay with a discounted DSW gift card.
Imagine the savings — you find a pair of shoes with an additional 70% off clearance price (yellow tag).
And you’re already getting 5% back in loyalty rewards because you’re a DSW VIP.
Then you pay with a Gift Card Granny discounted card, which saves you another 17%. You can purchase discounted gift cards at a lower price than the face value, giving you instant savings.
Give me all the shoes right now.
23. Best things to buy are rarely-discounted brands like Frye (when you have rewards to spend).
Hoarding your $5 rewards and spending them on an expensive brand of shoe (or boot!) is the way to get the best value from DSW.
If you can combine your rewards with a clearance price, even better.
24. Worst things to buy are brands like TOMS, Converse and Nike — get them cheaper elsewhere.
You could use your rewards on these, too, but there’s really no need. Look for TOMS and Converse at 6pm.com, where you can find them up to 75% off.
Get Nike at the Nike Factory store during big savings events like the Friends and Family sale in February and July.
25. Justify buying purses and accessories only if you’re saving at least 70%.
Since you can often find these items cheaper at a store like Nordstrom Rack, don’t bank on getting a great deal on purses and other accessories at DSW.
But definitely paw through clearance racks to see if you can find something extremely discounted.
26. Need your shoes today? Shop online and pick up in store for free.
If you want shoes today but you want to shop online, the solution is simple — opt for free in-store pickup.
While this service isn’t available for every item or every store, if you’re busy and can make your stop to DSW a quick pickup instead of an all-day affair, it’s a win.
27. Take advantage of the free shoe-sizing service for kids.
DSW will size your kids for free and help you find the perfect fit when you’re in the store shopping.
TIP: Save by buying kids’ shoe sizes that look and fit like women’s.
28. Watch for an extra 25% off brands like UGG and Under Armour during Black Friday.
DSW doesn’t have earth-shattering Black Friday sales, but last year we saw an additional 25% off the lowest-marked prices on brands like UGG and Under Armour.