1. Be patient—almost everything goes on “sale markdown” at J.Crew.
With the exception of a few “hot” items” (e.g., a leopard print J.Crew cardigan worn by Michelle Obama for a public appearance) that sell out at full price and thus never go on sale, most items at J.Crew will eventually be marked down. Seasonal items usually remain at full price for four to six weeks before their first sale markdown. On the other hand, basic items that J.Crew generally carries year-round typically remain at full price for six to twelve weeks before their first sale markdown. Depending on the item, there may be multiple sale markdowns before the item reaches its final sale price.
Better sale markdowns: J.Crew or JCrew.com?
Usually J.Crew. The general consensus among frequent J.Crew shoppers is that compared to JCrew.com, J.Crew stores typically mark down their full price merchandise faster, mark down more styles, and have lower sale markdown prices. At both J.Crew stores and JCrew.com, an item is usually marked down one or two times before its final markdown price. If you have a J.Crew store near you, make sure you always price compare an item’s store price with its online price before making a purchase.
2. For the deepest discounts, be even more patient and wait for “sale on sale” promotions.
Sale on sale promotions are sale promotions for additional discounts on already reduced merchandise (e.g. “take 30% off all sale merchandise”).
Better “sale on sale” promotions: J.Crew or JCrew.com?
It depends. Sale on sale discounts at JCrew.com normally begin at 25% (off sale items) and then get increased over time to 30%, then 40%, and then occasionally 50%. Sale on sale discounts at J.Crew stores usually begin at 30% (off sale items) and then get increased over time to 40%. I’ve never seen a 50% sale on sale promotion at J.Crew stores; however, keep in mind that when the 50% sale on sale promotion is offered on JCrew.com, it’s always for final sale items that can’t be returned. You’ll also have to pay for shipping at JCrew.com.
3. Can’t wait for sale markdowns? See if there’s a full-price discount promotion for your desired item.
Before buying an item full price from J.Crew or JCrew.com, check to see if they’re running a special promotion where select, full-price merchandise is offered at a discount. The average promotion is usually 25-30% off the item’s full price. Sometimes, J.Crew and JCrew.com offer the same full-price discount promotion on the same select items at the same time. Other times, a full-price discount promotion may be available only at J.Crew or only at JCrew.com. The following is an example of a full-price discount promotion that’s only available at JCrew.com (5/10/14 – 5/15/14):
Better full-price discounts: J.Crew or JCrew.com?
It depends. From my personal shopping experiences, I’ve found that JCrew.com offers more full-price discount promotions than J.Crew stores. However, if free shipping isn’t included with the online, full-price, discount promotion, you need to do the math to see if it’s worth it to make the purchase online rather than in-store. Also, keep in mind that an item that is full price online may already be marked down in J.Crew stores since J.Crew stores tend to mark down their full-price merchandise faster than JCrew.com.
4. How to find out about J.Crew sales, promotions, discounts and coupon codes.
If you never want to miss a J.Crew or JCrew.com sale, promotion, discount or coupon code (coupon codes are only used for JCrew.com), you must do your due diligence and check multiple sources. Here are the five sources that I regularly use:
- Subscribe to emails: Get email alerts about coupon codes, promotions and discounts. To sign up, enter your email address in the designated box in the bottom right-hand corner on the J.Crew website. Note: You’re going to get about four emails a week, so you may not want to use you main email address for this.
- Use Retail Me Not: Search for “J.Crew” and “JCrew.com” on coupon aggregator website, Retail Me Not.
- Google it: Do a Google search for whatever type of sale you’re looking for (e.g., “J.Crew Coupon Codes”, “JCrew.com sale markdowns” or “J.Crew free shipping code.” Select “Search Tools” and then restrict your search date to “past week” or “past month” to find the most current search results.
- J.Crew Aficionado: I regularly check the blog J.Crew Aficionado, which is unaffiliated with J.Crew. On the blog’s home page, there’s a regularly updated section in the upper right-hand corner called “Coupon and Promo Code,” which lists current coupon codes for J.Crew/JCrew.com, Madewell and J.Crew Factory. For even more detailed news about online and in-store promotions, make sure to read each blog posting (the blog author posts about twice a day).
- Social media: For insider discounts and codes, make sure to follow all of J.Crew’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Twitter). Just click on the appropriate icon on the right side of the JCrew.com homepage to get linked up.
5. For additional savings, buy discounted J.Crew gift cards online.
If you’re a regular J.Crew shopper or are confident there’s something you want to buy at J.Crew, save money by purchasing a discounted J.Crew gift card from websites like Cardpool.com, GiftCardGranny.com, Raise.com and GiftCardRescue.com for an average of 5-15% off the gift card’s face value. The best time to buy discounted gift cards is in January because inventory is highest on the sites after the holidays. When supply is high, competition increases among the sites and prices are driven down. This past January, I bought a $200 J.Crew gift card for $175.60 (a 12.2% discount) and therefore get the equivalent of a 12.2% discount off whatever I purchase at J.Crew/JCrew.com with this discounted gift card.
4. For additional savings, use the 15% college student/teacher discount.
As stated on the J.Crew website, here’s the official “J.Crew Teacher and College Student Discount Policy”:
An example of one of my J.Crew sale hauls
I bought a $72.50 J.Crew popover shirt for $13.42 at my local store. I achieved this “cheaper than Old Navy” sale price by waiting for the item to be marked down twice from its original price and then waiting for the store to offer a “Take 40% off final sale price.” I also used my 15% college/student discount and bought the item with a J.Crew gift card I bought online for 12.2% of its face value.
Item: Classic Popover Shirt in Pale Aloe
Original price: $72.50
Place of purchase/date: J.Crew retail store on 5/6/14
1st in-store sale markdown price: $49.99
2nd and final in-store sale markdown price: $29.99 final sale price
In-store “sale on sale” promotion on date of purchase (“Take 40% off final sale price”): $29.99 x .40 = $12.00; $29.99 – $12.00 = $17.99
Used college student/teacher 15% discount: $17.99 x .15 = $2.70; $17.99 – $2.70 = $15.29
Used a J.Crew gift card that I bought online at a 12.2% discount: $15.29 x .122 = $1.87; $15.29 – $1.87 = $13.42
My final purchase price: $13.42
My Savings: $59.08 (81% savings)
Even more ways to save
There are so many ways to save at J.Crew stores/JCrew.com that I couldn’t fit all them all in this article. Be on the lookout on the KCL website for the soon-to-be-published “Ways to Save at J.Crew:Part 2”.