Every frugal clotheshorse knows that the best way to find inexpensive fashion is to frequent off-price retailers for huge savings. Top of the list of those affordable stores? TJ Maxx! So if we buy our clothes there often, we’re guaranteed to be saving money and can call ourselves “maxxinistas” with pride, right? Wrong! There’s actually a way to maximize our Maxx savings, and it all comes down to shopping smart with some fantastic tricks. The Krazy Coupon Lady recently opened our eyes to all we had to learn, and of course we had to pass on these tips to you. Read on to learn how to get the most out of your TJ Maxx trips.
- Check every section section for further markdowns . . .brownpau via flickr
Find something you love right off the bat? Take a quick run through the other sections – especially clearance – before you buy it. Sometimes items miss a markdown, and you can find identical ones in clearance for an even lower price.
- . . . and imperfect merchandise.
Some people think the discounts at TJ Maxx are priced so low because they’re damaged, but that’s not true! Only about five percent of their stock is “imperfect,” and often it’s considered so because of small cosmetic reasons, like a tiny scratch on a piece of furniture. If you can live with those imperfections, you can net big discounts. Just look for tags marked “as is.”
- Try haggling.londondeposit via Deposit Photos
Find a piece of imperfect merchandise that isn’t marked “as is”? Point it out to a member of the sales staff and haggle that price down! You can usually get at least a 10 to 20 percent discount.
- Always check with the sales staff.
Even if you’re not haggling, it’s good to have a member of the sales staff scan your items before you head to the register. That way, if you happen to have an item that was supposed to marked down further but was missed somehow, you’ll be sure to get the lower price you deserve.
- Don’t be tempted by the TJX Rewards Card.Mike Mozart via flickr
Some store credit cards are worth it, but with only $10 in rewards for every 1,000 points earned – and only 5 points for every dollar spent – the TJX Rewards card isn’t one of them. Use your credit and build your credit history elsewhere.
- Grab a discount of up to 20% with a discounted gift card.
If you’re tempted to apply for that credit card because of the offered 10% discount, stay strong and go another way! You can grab discounted gift cards on sites like Raise.com, which can net you savings of anywhere from 10 to 20 percent! Even better, TJ Maxx will accept gift cards from affiliated stores like Marshalls and Homegoods – and vice versa – so strategize to save big at all three retailers.
- Comparison shop seasonal inventory with bigger stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom . . .Mike Mozart via flickr
Other stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom and other department stores might be outside the TJ Maxx family, but TJ Maxx often has the exact same merchandise for a fraction of the cost, including designer labels like Michael Kors. They’re able to do so by forgoing the standard agreement where stores can sell back unsold merchandise to designers, and instead take a discount upfront that they then pass on to you!
- . . . but bear in mind that TJ Maxx often inflates its “compare at” prices.
Yes, those prices of comparable items are usually cheaper, but you should also know that the discount might not be quite as steep as TJ Maxx claims. The “compare at” price on the sales sticker is based on corporate buying staff’s “estimate”— and they tend to estimate high.
- Do your own comparison shopping.Iain via flickr
Want to know how much savings you’re really getting? Your best bet is actually the Amazon app. Scan the barcode of whatever item you’re contemplating to see what it’s going for online, then decide if the discount is as big as you think it is.
- On the fence? Be patient; there are no price adjustments.
There are some stores that will offer you money back if the price drops on something after you buy it, but TJ Maxx isn’t one of them because of their fast-moving inventory. So if your comparison shopping reveals a discount isn’t that incredible or you’re generally on-the-fence about buying it, consider waiting to see if the price drops further.
- Shop on Wednesday mornings for the best markdowns.Nicholas Eckhart via flickr
With markdowns happening after the store closes each day, and new stock arriving on Tuesdays through Fridays every week, Wednesday mornings are a goldmine for beating the rush and grabbing deals.
- Shop at the right time of the year— i.e. January and July.
Since TJ Maxx is all about everyday discounts, it doesn’t really do sales the way other retailers do. However, twice a year they switch out their stock for the transition between summer and winter clothing, and when that happens, prices will drop as they try to clear out out-of-season inventory.
- Keep them in mind for last-minute holiday shopping.Maridav via Deposit Photos
While TJ Maxx does do an inventory overall between seasons, they also continuously buy new inventory all year. What that means for you? Brand new stuff in stores every day of the holiday season, right up to and including Christmas Eve!
- Know your tags, part 1: Yellow tags.
So how do you know when out-of-season and other stock is even more deeply discounted? By knowing your tags! A yellow price tag means that a price is as low as it’ll ever go— i.e. grab it ASAP.
- Know your tags, part 2: Purple tags.olesiabilkei via Deposit Photos
If you’re after higher-end designer style on a discount budget, TJ Maxx is the place to be. You’ll know an item is straight from the runway when it has a purple price tag.
- Know which deals are real.
That coupon your friend’s cousin’s boyfriend’s aunt shared on Facebook? Probably not real. The giveways, freebies, and discounts on the official TJ Maxx Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages? Legit!
Great tips for a great shopping experience! If you want more where those came from – including a breakdown of how to decode TJ Maxx’s regular price tags – be sure to check out The Krazy Coupon Lady’s guide, as well as more tips at Redbook and Rather Be Shopping! How often do you shop at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, or other discount stores? Do you have your own strategies?