When I was 16, I got my first summer job working at the Gap. Between 4 A.M. stockroom work shifts and a manager who was constantly on my case for not folding jeans fast enough, I had absolutely no desire to ever step foot in the Gap after that summer. It wasn’t until a few years ago, swayed by the women in my spin class who looked adorable in their GapFit workout clothes and some of my favorite fashion bloggers who were constantly raving about Gap’s legging jeans, that I ventured back into my local Gap store. On that fateful fashion day,  I instantly became a convert and now pop into the Gap a few times a week. As a regular Gap shopper, I’ve become an expert at getting great deals. Here are some of my key money-saving tips:

1. Buy full-price items using a full-price discount promotion

Since most items at the Gap will eventually go on sale, I try not to buy anything full price. However, when I do decide to buy something full price, I always try to do so with one of Gap’s full-price discount promotions. The Gap offers several different types:

Store-wide 

The Gap regularly offers store-wide, full-price discount promotions where all full-price merchandise is offered at a certain percent discount (typically between 15% and 40% off). The Gap usually offers a store-wide, “40% off full-price merchandise,” promotion every six to eight weeks. These promotions usually last for three to four days and often coincide with national holidays (e.g., Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, etc.). Twice a year, this promotion is offered as part of Gap’s Friends and Family sale.

Specific clothing

A couple times a month, Gap stores typically offer a full-price discount promotion on a specific category of clothing (e.g., the “30% off all belts” full-price discount promotion, pictured below). This type of promotion usually lasts about a week. Sometimes, the Gap will offer a one-day-only, full-price, discount promotion on a specific category of clothing, which the Gap calls Daily Deal promotion (e.g., the “50% off shorts” full-price discount promotion, pictured below).

Instagram

Some Gap stores offer a special full-price discount promotion for their Instagram followers. If you follow that participating Gap store on Instagram, you can receive a 25% discount off one full-price item in the store. To prove that you are an Instagram follower, you’ll have to pull up the store’s Instagram account on your smartphone and then show it to the sales associate ringing up your purchase. If your local Gap store does not currently have this Instagram promotion, ask the store manager to start one.

Super Tuesday

On Tuesdays, shop with your Gap credit card to receive 10% off your full-price Gap purchases. This discount also applies to sale price items.

Bright Insider email subscriber

When you first join Gap’s Bright Insider program by registering your email address on Gap.com, you will receive an email with a coupon code for 25% off your next full-price purchase on Gap.com. To sign up, click here to visit the Gap.com homepage. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your email address in the designated box. You should receive an email with your coupon code within a few minutes.

2. Good things come to those who wait: sale markdowns

The majority of items sold at the Gap will eventually be marked down on sale—typically, four to six weeks after they first arrive in the store. Most items will be marked down at least once before being marked down to their final sale price (final sale items can’t be returned, no matter what). You can tell whether an item is final sale by looking at the last digit of the lowest-marked price. If the price ends in “7” (e.g., a price tag that reads $7.97 as seen in the picture below) then that item is final sale.

3. Good things come to those who wait (even longer): sale-on-sale promotions

The Gap occasionally offers sale-on-sale promotions, which are sale promotions for additional discounts on already reduced merchandise (e.g., “take 30% off all sale merchandise” or “take 40% off all final sale merchandise”). In Gap stores, I’ve seen sale-on-sale promotions for discounts between 15 and 40% off an item’s lowest marked price. The holy grail of sale-on-sale promotions—the 40% discount—happens four to six times a year. For the most extreme savings, wait for an item to be marked down to its final sale price and then wait even longer for that item to be put on a “40% off all final sale promotion.” That’s how I got a GapFit stripe running pullover (original price: $49.99) for $3.58 plus tax. After months of waiting, this pullover was marked down to a final sale price of $5.97, and then I purchased it during a “40% off all final sale promotion.” Score!

4. How to find out about Gap sales, discounts, promotions and coupon codes

I stay abreast of Gap (and Gap.com) sales, discounts, promotions and coupon codes through a variety of sources:

  • Gap Bright Insider emails: Register for Gap Bright Insider emails to receive regular emails about Gap sales, discounts, promotions and coupon codes. Sign up by entering your email address in the designated box on the bottom of the Gap website.
  • Retail Me Not: Search for “Gap” and “Gap.com” on Retail Me Not, a coupon aggregator website.
  • Gap social media accounts: Follow all of Gap’s social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Sometimes the Gap will have special deals just for their social media followers.
  • Ask a store manager: Technically, Gap store managers are not supposed to disclose information about upcoming sale markdowns and sale-on-sale promotions to inquiring customers. However, in my personal shopping experiences, I’ve found that store managers will sometimes let these secrets “slip” if you are a regular customer who asks politely. I frequently ask the store manager at my local Gap questions, and about half the time, the store manager gives me the inside scoop.

 

4 Brilliant Ways to Save at the Gap: Part 1