Where to shop
I’m often asked where I shop. My answer is “it depends.” It depends on what I’m looking for, how far in advance I have before I need the item, if I can be flexible with what I need, and if I have any coupons for the item. All this is assuming I’m shopping in person and not online. Here’s where I start:
Clothes- I get most of my great fashion finds at irregular or overstock stores like T.J. Maxx or Rugged Wearhouse. It’s a risk if you’re looking for something specific, but if you’re flexible you can get some great deals. I also shop at department stores in the clearance racks. Often that means buying sweaters when it’s 80 degrees out, so the down side is that you can’t enjoy your off-season merchandise right away, and I’ve been known to talk myself into something I didn’t need for next season just because it was a great deal.
Food- Your big chain grocery stores are the best bet. If you’re couponing, go with name brand items and pair your coupon with their sale to save 50% or more. If you aren’t couponing, check the store brands and lesser known brands. It’s important to know your store’s coupon policies so you know what they will -and won’t- accept before you get there.
Home Decor- I’m back to the irregular and overstock stores. They often have lots of seasonal merchandise that national chains ordered too much of. Their loss is your gain as you score them for less. If you need a red bowl with a white paisley pattern on it you’re better to shop at your big all-in-one retailer for a greater selection, but if you just need a bowl with some red in it you’ll probably find what you need and save.
Toys- The national all-in-one stores are probably your best bet. Compare sale prices and look for manufacturer’s coupons online and in your Sunday paper.
Over the counter meds, baby items, and household cleaning items- head to your national drugstore. Most of the coupon match-up websites include sales with matching coupons from the drugstores. Combine that with the rewards programs they often have and you can really cash in.
I hope this helps point you in the right direction. Happy savings!