3. Pay attention to the calendar. Black Friday might be a great time to shop for electronics, but it's not necessarily the best time for clothes. There are two main “seasons” in retail, and when those seasons switch are the best two times to save money. These switches occur right after Christmas/New Years, and at the end of June. I often save my budget and spend more during that time to get more bang for my buck. On Black Friday you will see lots of promos, but during the seasonal switches you will see mark downs and promos, resulting in prices that are up to 50% less than they were on Black Friday.
4. Determine the retail cycle. Beyond the two major retail seasons, stores have smaller retail cycles where they get new merchandise in, and mark old items down, and so on. When new clothes go on the floor at full price, the old stuff is reduced (= great time to deals). A few weeks later, they start marking down the new stuff, with smaller discounts. (= great time to buy the new arrival shirt you love on promo, so you don't wait too long and miss it). A few weeks later, they get ready for the next shipment and a lot of the store goes on sale (= another great time to get deals). How to find out where you are in the cycle? Just ask. Questions like “when is your next round of markdowns?” or “when is the new line coming in?” are both game. Stores will be happy to share this information with you. More general info such as what days TJ Maxx gets in new merchandise, or what day of the week Gap does markdowns, can also be a big help.
10. Make friends with a manager. Many higher end stores will put you on an email list for exclusive events and sales that are local to you, and if you befriend a manager or store associate, they more than happy to keep an eye on an item for you and/or let you know when specific markdowns are happening. Having a friend in the store can really help.
*This post is specifically about saving money and getting the best prices at retail stores such as Gap, Banana, Limited, etc. It is not about saving money overall. For tips along those lines see this post.