You don't want to rush head first into a clearance sale and spend all your hard-earned cash on last season's trash. You'll first want to make sure the items on sale are practical, of appropriate quality, and (most importantly) a good deal.
Below, we've outlined a number of important points to consider before heading to the clearance aisles. These tips are your reminder to hit the fitting rooms and double-check for coupon codes when those red sale banners go up.
Pre-Shop to Find That Perfect Fit
One problem you'll likely encounter when shopping end of season clearance events is that many items are marked final sale — you won't be able to return them. Because of this, you'll want to be sure you're making the right choice. Only buy items you know will fit now, and don't waste your cash on something that'll only fit after a couple trips to the gym.
One way to avoid buying apparel or shoes you won't wear is to peruse clothing stores earlier in the season to see what works for your body. Then you can snatch up what you want when the price drops at the end of the season.
Read Up on Product Reviews
The simplest way to avoid wasting money on cheap junk when shopping end of season sales is to check product reviews before taking the plunge.
If you're shopping for apparel, Amazon reviews can be insightful (and sometimes hilarious). Good Housekeeping provides thorough review guides on everything from home items to electronics to groceries. CNET is also a helpful resource if you're shopping discounted tech items and computers.
Always Search for Coupons
Just because an item has moved to the clearance section doesn't necessarily mean it's at its lowest possible price. Many stores also offer sitewide coupons to help clear out stock as they approach the end of a season. These discounts often stack on top of final sale prices.
Stick to Multi-Season Items
The best way to make good use of closeout merch is to buy items that'll serve you all year long, rather than those you can only use for the waning weeks of summer.
For example, spend a little more for weather-resistant patio furniture you can use throughout the fall and winter, too. Or when buying discounted shoes, avoid seasonal materials like suede and linen. By doing so, you'll get far more use out of your end of season purchases.
Price Adjustments May Get You a Refund
If you've made a purchase, only to see the item price plummet during a store's end of season sale, it's not all doom and gloom. Many stores offer refunds for a limited time after a price adjustment.
Although many retailer refund policies tend to exclude clearance markdowns, there are some exceptions: Macy's and Anthropologie, for example, will offer a refund within 10 and 14 days, respectively. Familiarize yourself with your favorite stores' adjustment policies, and you could get a couple of bucks back when prices fall at the end of the season.
Readers, what are your favorite tips and tricks to use during end of season clearance sales? Share them in the comments below!