Bargain Hunters Alert: Learn Retailers Secrets To Spot A Deal From Rachael Ray & Friends

MarkdownMom’s major rule for shopping is to never pay retail , if you can help it.  Rachael Ray and her friend, Gretta, expands on this rule by exposing retail secrets to find the best bargains when shopping in stores.

Rule 1: Don’t Fall for Staging Tricks.
Rule 2: Buy One Get One Free (BOGO)is Not Always a Steal
Rule 3: Learn the Retail Rules
Rule 4: Watch for Cross-Merchandising Tricks
Rule 5: Just Because it’s in a Locked Case Doesn’t Mean it’s Expensive
Rule 6: Start at the Clearance Rack
Rule 7: Follow this Shoe Trick
Rule 8: Get the Perfect Shoe Fit with These Tips
Rule 9: Beware of In-Store Credit Card Offers

bloomingdales Labor Day blow-out sale–Up To 70% Off!

After Labor Day, there won’t be another super sale day by retailers en masse until Black Friday.  So, in between hot dogs, football, and get-togethers, take time out to ferret out the bargains online.  You will be surprise what you can find.  MarkdownMom found an extra 20%  off at Bloomingdale’s using promo code BIG20, that added to a third markdown on clearance resulted in up to 70%  off on many items you can wear now and next year from popular  designers like Ralph Lauren, Mynt, Heidi Klum, DKNY, and  other favorites  For instance, this kimono sweater by Ralph Lauren was orig.$150 with 20% off is now $46.80 and if  you are a Loyalist Member, shipping is free.  Comes in sizes XS-XL, multi, made out of cotton, linen, and acrylic.

Perfect with jeans, dresses and so many upbeat combinations.

Why Are All The High End Fashion Stores Leaving Downtown Areas In The Twin Cities?

Well, it’s official, the last vestiges of Saks, Saks Off Fifth, has left the Nicollet Mall.  First to leave the Twin Citiess was Neiman Marcus, next Bloomingdales–even from their location at the Mall of America, and now Saks Outlet Downtown Minneapolis store.  Now one can understand the former stores leaving during the economic decline, yet, one would have thought Bloomingdales would have kept their MOA store with all its’ international traffic, and Saks Outlet is a popular chic, designers bargain basement store–perhaps the downtown location was not the most advantageous, but hopefully we will see them return at a more strategic location in the Twin Cities.  As of now, its’ location will be filled with another super Walgreens store as part of the city’s downtown revitalization.

Perhaps this is yet another sign that the sick economy has not fully recovered.

Biggest Profit Maker For Retailers

CNN reported today that retailers make almost $4 billion dollars from gift cards and that this form of gift giving is the biggest loss for consumers.  Why? The $4 billion dollars is not from items purchased using  gift cards, it  is the   value amount of unredeemed gift cards each year.

This is not to say that gift cards /certificates do no have their place.  However, with 25% of recipients failing to use these cards before the expiration date, recipients should take these measures to insure that they don’t lose  out:

  • Do not shelve these cards in a drawer.  Put them  immediately in your  wallet where  you keep your credit cards–same is true of your rewards  cards.
  • To get more bang for you gift card buck, use your cards immediately and take advantage of retailers  After Christmas Sales when sales and clearance are 70% off or more. Low inventory may pose a selection limitation right now ; but wait a couple of weeks and try again after shelves and racks have been restocked.
  • When using gift cards, consider buying something more extravagant that you have wished for–better to supplement gift card with cash, then to leave a forgettable balance, as 40% of gift.card buyers find out.

Remember, the longer you hold unto gift cards, the longer retailers  have to use your money interest free–and unless you are a stock owner can you afford to subsidize them?  Use it or lose it has particular meaning to this gift!

Special Ladies~It's Your Sale Day!

Lane Bryant has 50% off the entire store and  online.  Use promo code:  BEMERRYLB.  Ship to store FREE!  This includes designer clothes by Isabel Toledo,Kyionna, DKNY, Cacique, etc., lingerie, and clearance–you name it, you buy it half off, or bogofree!  Ends on XMAS EVE Ho, Ho, Ho!

Promotions Galore!

Yes, it’s that time of the year, when retailers look at the  sales and try to boost their numbers with special promotions.  Here are the latest:

Macy’s Featured Promotions:

  • Shop Limited-Time deals at Macy’s One Day Sale! Valid 12/9-12/10.  Take an  extra 25% off  Green Monday.   Today only:  Promo Code Friend.  Free Shipping with $50 order.
  • Extra 20% off Extra Special Sale at macys.com with code EXTRA. Valid 12/11-12/15
  • Take an Extra 20% off Super Saturday Sale with code SUPER at macys.com. Valid 12/12-12/13
  • Today Only! Take an Extra 20% off Super Sunday Sale with code SUNDAY at macys.com. Valid 12/12-12/13

Crocs™ Promotions:

  • 30% off sitewide Green Monday.
  • 30% off Warm  and Fuzzy –up to 3 pairs fuzz.  Valid 12/09-12/15.  Promo Code:  H14C-2VWGDM2HT43Z
  • $15 off Purchase of $60 through 12/24.  Promo Code: H14A-XVPV6P9Z7Q6R.

Clarks® Promotions:

  • Extra 10% Off Sale Items through 12/11.  Promo Code: DELIGHT.
  • 20% Off Entire Purchase.  Valid through 12/24.  Promo Codes:  H14DM8W9BJ  & H14DM64ZBO.

Eddie Bauer® Promotions:

  • 40% OFF today only entire purchase + Free Shipping.  Promo Code: GREEN.  Valid Only 12/08.

Grocery Wars Part 2: Less Choices

Retailers learned their lesson following 2008 crash that controlling inventory became key to improving sales. What they did not count on was a continuing decline, not only in the purchasing power of consumers, but also the on-going decline of the middle class that began in 1980 and continues today.

Food always has been competitive with narrower profit margins than most other businesses; however, it was somewhat recession proof since consumers could forgo buying a new car or the latest fashion, but everyone has to eat, right?  However, now grocery stores have begun to control inventories beyond seasonal items and what this means for the consumer is a decline in the number and type of selections a store will carry.  Add to this natural causes such as drought, floods, and shorter growing seasons, that have increased prices substantially on beef and pork, and the consumer increasingly is being placed between a rock and a hard place.  As the middle class keeps losing ground coupled with higher prices, grocery stores are scaling back the volume and variety they offer in almost every department.

How many times have you experienced going to either a warehouse store or local grocery store for a staple that you have been buying for years, only to find that it isn’t being carried by the retailer anymore?  Are these products no longer being supplied?  In some cases, yes—some businesses have closed either through competitive attrition or retirement in family-owned businesses, but not all.  Stores are cutting back on what they consider gourmet items but also on staples if price is prohibitive and sales are limited due to the makeup of their clientele.

What this means is that many of your favorite items will be harder to find and indirectly will affect the type of meals you will be able to offer your family.  Additionally, prices will increase as competition declines.  What this means in the long run for the overall nutrition of your family is difficult to determine.

MarkdownMom does recommend increasing community gardens and individual gardens to the level of WWII Victory Gardens, and continuation of developing relationships with local farmers, local farmers markets, and learning canning and other food preservation methods.  Until the middle class starts to see signs of an economic recovery, going to the grocery store will require employing all the savvy consumer skills you have to survive sticker shock!

Online Home Shopping Networks Source Of Designer Haute Couture!

The online shopping networks traditionally selling kitchenware and household items to homemakers have evolved into a source of designer runway fashion at bargain prices.  What is even more remarkable MarkdownMom has found over the years is that many fashion trends are available online ahead of mainstream brick and mortar stores.  For instance, MarkdownMom began buying the high/low hem dresses nearly two years ago from ShopNBC (now SHQP) at great prices.

Recently, MDM saw this dress at ShopHQ reminiscent of Eileen Fisher’s Handkerchief Dress w/Ties done in colors (pale pink, dk. navy) at substantially more.  This Casual Convertible Maxi Dress from OSO is offered in 4 colors and although it is made of cotton and not a silky fabric or pure linen, the design element is the same, offering two looks with its’ adjustable hem at a feature price of $47.93 (on 2 value pays) making it extremely affordable.  With its’ six gore skirt in a light weight cotton, this dress looks great with its’ hem up or down and is a very sophisticated fashion statement!

Home shopping networks and so-called big box stores like Target (Mossimo) have recruited top names from the fashion industry to bring their style and uniqueness to midAmerican consumers recognizing the growing number of professional women in the workforce and at home who want style at an affordable price.  HSN, QVC, and SHOPHQ  not only have special lines from designers like Isaac Mizrahi, Bob Mackie, George Simonton, Donna Karan, Betsey Johnson (to name a few), celebrities such as Iman, Joan Rivers (and many others), but have become a venue for new female entrepreneurs such as Lori Goldstein and Joy Mangano, plus their own in-house designers as well.  Thus making online shopping an ongoing source of what’s hot, new and undiscovered in the fashion world.  A boon for both the consumer and the designer as well!

 

Repurposing: When Old Is New Again

Finds at flea markets, thrift stores, or backyard sales don’t have to be antiques to have value.  Designers today have found that there is money in thinking out-of-the-box when it comes to old things.  HGTV is replete with repurposing, achieving that quirky artisan look, that corner that lends interest to a room, the je ne sais quoi item that draws attention by using “old junk.”

A new development in finding these objects is the rise of retailers to include these one-of-a-kind items for sale online.  For example,, Haute Look, an outlet for Nordstrom, has  new category labeled “Authentic Vintage Curiosities & Beyond.”  Here you will find old shipping boxes with faded manufacturers names or advertising that lend themselves for storage & organization, colored bowling pins to keep stacks of books in line, or a french gymnast bar for your exercise room, just to name a few.

Another retailer dedicated to a certain style, Napastyle, has a new spin-off Barn Door, advertised as a site for  one-of-a- kind finds & deals, so you know you are dealing with limited supplies of any item.  Napastyle first started bringing in collectibles from Europe a couple of years ago where there was a plentiful supply, and now this new site has expanded to include vintage, rare, deals, and even a “Final Markdown” category that span American eras such as early homestead, depression, to mid-century. Vintage tins, furniture, and home accessories such as scales and more are part of their inventory.

You must know your antiques and collectibles to find a bargain, but these sites are good to find a particular item to complete your collection or for us bargain hunters, this is another reference point to find what is popular, or the retail prices of what we currently own.

My Lady! My Valentine!! My Sale!!!

You know it, your woman is worth so much more, so this Valentine’s Day give her the finest from Lord & Taylor without selling the castle.  Super sale on designer clothes, shoes & boots, accessories not only for your significant other from xs-plus, but for all your loved ones including men, tweens and little ones.

Get clearance prices and take an additional 20% off using promo code:  BIG plus free shipping on purchases of $99 or more. Combine all savings and you save 60%+off!


 MarkdownMom Agrees With Lord & Taylor:    When Shopping Go Big!