Clearance shopping is probably my favorite type of shopping. I love getting a good bargain, and deeply discounted merchandise really appeals to my frugal side!
Fortunately for myself and other clearance superstars, nearly every retailer offers chances for a little clearance shopping, including local grocery stores. The deeply discounted goodies are sometimes hidden in out of the way alcoves, but a little digging usually unveils them.
Actually, finding the clearance goodies is usually the easy part. Knowing when to stop stuffing your cart can be the hard part. It can be so easy to just toss clearance items in your cart one after another and go on your merry way. After all, it’s on clearance, so it won’t add up to much, right?
Yikes! I’ve made that mistake more than a couple of times when clearance shopping. I finally figured out that all of those little price tags can add up to big bucks at the register.
Here are a few clearance shopping tips to help you from going overboard…
1. Inspect Everything
Most items hit the clearance items because they’re nearing an expiration date or they were seasonal goods. However, some items are there because they have been damaged or returned. Always inspect any items your considering purchasing during your clearance shopping spree. Buying damaged or unusable items is nothing but a waste of money, even if it was only a couple of dollars.
2. Do Your Research
It’s not uncommon to run into some smokin’ deals while clearance shopping. However, some items may be on clearance for a reason. If you run into a large purchase on clearance, make sure you do a little research first. Check for product reviews online before making the purchase. There’s a chance that the item may have been put on clearance because it has some serious flaws. In other words, there may be a good reason it’s on clearance.
3. Look for Additional Savings
Every brick and mortar store that I know of will allow you to use manufacturer coupons on clearance items. Before completing a big clearance haul, you may want to check to see if there are additional savings to be had. You may even be able to grab some freebies by pairing a coupon with a clearance sale price!
4. Price Check
If you’ve been clearance shopping for a while now, you probably already know that the price you see on the shelf isn’t always the price that rings up at the register. Sometimes this is due to customers misplacing merchandise, but it can also be attributed to sneaky store tactics. To avoid paying more than you bargained for, always double check the price of your clearance items with a scanner in the store. If you can’t find a scanner, you can also usually ask a store employee or keep a close eye at the register.
5. Hit the Clearance Aisles FIRST
The clearance aisles are usually my very first stop when I go to the store. Not because I’m super excited to snag a good deal, but because it gives me a chance to think over my clearance purchases before I check out. While I’m doing my other shopping, I’m also deciding whether I really need the clearance items I found and if I really have someplace to store them. More often than not, I usually change my mind and end up returning at least a few items to the shelves.