Your Ultimate Retailer Clearance-Markdown Cheat Sheet
Timing is everything when it comes to getting the best deals at your favorite retailers.
To save the most while shopping the biggest selections, mark your calendar or tell Siri to remind you when to head in.
1. Get TJMaxx’s biggest selection on markdowns on Wednesday mornings.
Besides Wednesday morning markdowns, TJMaxx also offers two annual sales to keep the cash inside your wallet!
- Wednesday morning markdowns: Get in there first thing Wednesday morning for the biggest selection. Most discounts are made after store hours or before store opening, so morning shoppers always have first access to the latest steals.
- Annual sales: The closest thing to an actual sale occurs in July and January. That’s when the focus shifts from winter and summer seasons, so they’re actively getting rid of any inventory for that past season. Scout out yellow tags for the biggest discounts.
2. Buy Target’s kids’ clothes on Mondays.
Yes, Target marks down their discounts five days/week for different departments. . . which means you have a valid excuse to wander the aisles every day. (You’re welcome.)
Shop the first day that items in each department are marked down for the best selection:
- Monday: Girls’, Boys’, Infants’, Electronics
- Tuesday: Women’s, Juniors’
- Wednesday: Men’s, Food, Stationery, Health, Laundry
- Thursday: Sleepware, Athletics, Paper, Shoes, Housewares
- Friday: Domestics, Auto, Scarves, Jewelry, Beauty
3. Ask for an extra 20% off patio furniture in August at The Home Depot.
- Floor Model Sale: Try asking for an extra 10-20% discount on floor models when it comes to lawn equipment, grills, or patio furniture in August when the major selling season has ended and everything is already discounted.
- Holiday Weekend Paint Sales: The biggest discounts are applied during any three-day weekends like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day. Plan ahead to save around $5/gallon!
- Post-Holiday Clearance: Find some killer deals on holiday decor next to the Contractor Services desk — especially following Christmas and Halloween.
- Kitchen & Bath Event: This DYI-er’s dream sale runs from mid-January to mid-March. You’ll see up to 40%-off everything you need to renovate your kitchen or bath.
- Spring Black Friday Event: This huge landscaping sale usually kicks off in April, so look for deals like five bags of mulch for $10, packs of annuals for $1, and gas grills for under $200.
4. Get 50% off Hobby Lobby home decor every four weeks.
You have to practice self-control when you know our Hobby Lobby shopping strategy.
Knowing the best time to buy virtually everything they offer will help you know when to pull the trigger, and when to pull the reigns.
5. Stock up on hair products at Ulta’s annual sales.
- 21 Days of Beauty Sale: In March and September, this sale offers one item at a DEEP discount for one day only, and they feature a new item every day for 21 days (three weeks!). Most of the featured items are 50% off.
- The Liter Sale: Happens in January and July, and most major professional hair care brands have their liter sized shampoo and conditioners on deep discount.
- The Gorgeous Hair Event: Happening every year in May and October, this event allows you to get deep discounts on hair products. Remember, if you have a coupon, you can stack it with this sale!
- Christmas Gift Sets: Prestige brands roll out lots of bundled (and discounted!) product gift sets around Christmas. Not only are they a great value on multiple products, but it’s the best way to get a deal on brands that rarely go on sale (BareMinerals I’m looking at youâ¦)
6. Shop summer clearance at Macy’s on July 1.
- Semi-Annual Sales: Get 40-75% off clearance prices throughout the store using a promo code in January and August.
- Friends & Family Sale: Save 25% on everything (including clearance) during the Friends & Family sale in April and October.
- Off-Season Sales: In general, the best time to buy items are when they’re out of season. And Macy’s marks down their in-season inventory sooner than competitors like JCPenney and Nordstrom.
Seasons at Macy’s are defined as follows:
- Spring (February-April)
- Summer (May-July)
- Fall (August-October)
- Holiday/Winter (November-January)
That means the best times to stock up are:
- Spring clearance: April 1
- Summer clearance: July 1
- Fall clearance: October 1
- Winter clearance: January 1
Additionally, when you see a sign that says “Lowest price of the season,” it refers to the three-month period listed above.
7. Buy shorts four weeks after they arrive on the shelves at Gap.
Shop Wednesday mornings around four weeks after seasonal apparel arrives to snag a few great deals!
- Wednesday markdowns: Markdowns always happen mid-week, so get there first thing Wednesday morning to see the best selection.
- Shop four weeks out: An item’s first markdown (the little orange sticker) is placed about four weeks after it arrives in the store. Most items will be marked down at least once before reaching their final sale price.
8. Shop Friday evenings or Saturday mornings at Kohl’s.
- Power Hour: The best time to shop is 3PM Friday to 1PM Saturday to save an additional 10-25% both in-store and online. These in-store and online markdowns come around a couple times per month and will be advertised in your local paper and online.
9. Shop Sunday, Monday, and Thursday for the best Old Navy steals.
Every day seems like a great day to shop at Old Navy, but certain days totally nail it.
- Sunday and Monday: New markdowns come out every Sunday, but depending on a variety of factors, markdowns may not be complete until close on Monday.
- Thursday: Shop temporary price cuts starting Thursday. Thursdays are “Signage Days” at Old Navy. This means that most of the advertised signage and sales switch in preparation for the upcoming weekend’s sales.
- Mid to End-of-Season Sales: The best time to find store-wide sales at Old Navy is between seasons.
Did you know that by the time summer officially arrives on June 15th, your local Old Navy store is receiving its first shipments of fall apparel?
A month later, the store will begin to clearance out summer apparel, making it the best time to buy for next year.
See the following list of best times to buy for each season:
- Spring: April 15 â June 1
- Summer: July 15 â September 1
- Fall: October 15 â December 1
- Winter: January 15 â March 1
10. Find your new bedding at JCPenney on Fridays.
Stack this monthly tip on all the other best-kept JCPenney secrets (then get ready to brag.)
- First and third Fridays: The stores roll out new markdowns on the first and third Friday of every month. You’ll notice the biggest sales tend to start right before the weekend. That’s when you’ll see “Super Saturday” sales and doorbusters.
11. Go in the exit (instead of the main entrance) to shop IKEA’s As-Is section on Mondays.
If you’re alright with a few dings, head straight for IKEA’s As-Is section to save.
- Mondays in the As-Is Section: This is where you’ll find returned, damaged, and previously displayed items marked as much as 50% off original prices.
Shopping in this section is the absolute best way to score a deal at IKEA, and it’s the most full on Monday mornings!
12. Get up to 80% off seasonal decor after a holiday at Michaels.
Michaels doesn’t shy away from 50% off sales or clearances, but you gotta know when to go:
- Holiday Decor Sales: Holiday decor hits as much as 60-70% off two weeks before a holiday, and up to 80% after the holiday.
- Annual Tree Sale: Bookmark the week before Thanksgiving: Michaels’ annual tree sale features 50-60% off artificial Christmas trees, and free online shipping for those over 6 feet.
- Home Refresh Sale: Refresh your home in January with frames up to 65% off, BOGO or 50% off home decor, and personal planners marked at least 50% off. Spring floral is discounted 40% off (through February), and 50% off home/craft storage.
- Home Fragrance Sale: After you get your home spiffed up, shop in February to make it smell as good as it looks!
13. Buy golf equipment in March at DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Seasonal sales at DICK’S Sporting Goods can save you up to 50% on things like golf equipment and apparel if you know when to shop:
- After Christmas Clearance: Score up to 50% off sports equipment and apparel (think “giftable” items).
- Spring Outerwear Sale: Get 40-50% off Columbia and North Face outerwear in March.
- Spring Golf-A-Thon: Look forward to 50% off or BOGO discounts on golf apparel and equipment in March and April.
- July Biking Sale: Check for up to 50% off bikes and biking equipment in July — especially over the Fourth of July weekend!
14. Shop Bath & Body Works’ semi-annual sales for up to 75% off.
Wait a few weeks to buy that lotion, and you could save enough to stock up for the year.
- Semi-Annual Sales: January and June are Semi-Annual sale months at Bath & Body Works (AKA stock-up seasons!). If you want the best selection, shop at the beginning of the sale and you’ll still score up to 75% off.
But, if you’re looking for the best discount and you don’t care about selection (I’m talking up to 90% off), hold out until the end of the sale.
15. Shop H&M’s nine discount seasons.
H&M has nine seasons (what?!). Learn how to shop to save year-round:
- End-of-Season Sales: A quick look at the price tag will tell you what the current H&M season is. If most of the clothes are in season four, and you find a season three item, odds are good it will be marked down soon.
The season is the seventh number in the first line of numbers under the bar code. You’ll see the tag above is for a season two item.
16. Get your Victoria’s Secret swimwear in August or September.
Everyone knows about VS‘ amazing semi-annual sales, but why wait?
- Friday Fever: Victoria’s Secret Fever Friday sales like this “Buy 2 bras, get a free tee (worth $29.50)” offer are a great reason to head in-store on Fridays.
- Semi-Annual Sales: Once the January/May semi-annual sale dates are released, plan to be there on that day as soon as the store opens. There will be a lot of other shoppers doing the same, trust me. Or, wait until the end of the sale when discounts go as high as 75% off.
- August & September Swimsuit Sale: $9.99 is the magical number when it comes to swimsuits. It’s typically the lowest price you’ll see (except for during the Semi-Annual sale). Shop late summer to find the biggest markdowns.
- Buy fragrances in January: Victoria’s Secret had a whole display of fragrances marked 75% off in mid-January.