Bargain Banter: Easter Sales

Just from looking at the general inventory of the Easter items, unless retailers have an enormous last minute rush, it is likely that shoppers will find a good selection of after Easter sale items.

KMart has several clearance areas in-store.  In housewares find Martha Stewart™ items, first markdown only on many items.  However, you can find other items up to 75% off if you do some digging.  Apparel clearance racks have items from 50%-75% off.  Check their daily special sale jewelry items as listed by the day in their weekly flyer.  Last Sunday, they had diamond earrings valued at $100 for $25.  And KMart is trying something new in their jewelry department with the Red Tag Sale where you will find tri-color 14kt. gold earrings reg. $250, sale priced for $50 and other precious jewelry markdown 75%.

Target has some jewelry items that are worth picking up like Mystic Fire Topaz stud earrings, reg. $42.99, sale priced at $10 and change.  Other than Easter items, you won’t find any huge markdowns for awhile since clearance items for the most part have been shipped out and replaced with Spring merchandise.  However,  a limited amount of Spring apparel is being discounted early at 30%-50% off.

Wal*Mart® has a number of apparel racks marked $3 and $5, and they have a wonderful short Spring coat MDM liked, very classic in popular green/white and black/white combination for under $20.  Also comes in blue/white and tan/white combination.  Again, limited markdowns around the store, but here you will find some wonderful Easter tulips and other Spring flowers and Easter cakes are priced right for your holiday table.

Jessica London® plus sizes for women online Easter Sunday has a 30% off sale. Promo Code:JLW4617 excludes clearance, good through March 24, 2008Clearance up to 80% off, limited but well worth a looksee!

Ballard Designs® Shop their Estate Sale and save up to 75% off.  Decorative accessories for your home, however, MDM can’t imagine why the items left over from 2007 Holiday Season are at 50%off, time to slash to rock bottom and purge their inventory.

Bargain Banter: Buying and The “R” Word, Plus Out & About In Search of Store Markdowns

The "R" word is a double-edged sword.  One way it cuts, hurts retailers since even inventory control cannot  make up for the lack of customers in the stores and usually the hurt trickles down to laid-off employees and additional hardships placed upon those who were barely making ends meet before this crunch coping with rising interest rates on home mortgages with adjustable rates, and increasing inflation of energy needs, and staples such as food.

The other way it cuts is that retailers forced to make markdowns have some real bargains on the shelves.  What to do?  Of course, the first order of business is to see that you can keep a roof over your head, food, and be able to keep going to work.  But that doesn’t mean that you can forego any buying whatsoever because those of us with families still have to clothe our children, and see to their educational needs, and emotional well-being.  With that in mind, the mission of this blog is to see that you are able to get the best deal or the greatest savings, so that depreciated dollar can go further.

Markdown Mom has noticed that thrift stores have increased traffic, but even there you have to be a savvy shopper.  Prices at the thrift stores have gone up, especially books and antiques & collectibles, but you can usually get good bargains on about everything else.  Many items are bought in lots from familiar stores and usually priced at about half of the retail and most often, half of the stores’ markdown price.  As with any savvy shopping, be aware of the item’s retail price prior to its’ hitting the thrift stores.  Remember that much of this merchandise is past season;  so right now that means Fall-Winter merchandise including holiday.

Target instore is having some terrific sales with 30%-75% off especially in linens such as their top line, Fieldcrest, and some of it is the early Spring merchandise that came in right after the holidays.  But not all Target stores are created equal, the Super Target stores have more markdowns to select from since the smaller Target stores took their markdowns about 2 weeks ago because of space needs for the new merchandise. 

Plus, the jewelry sales slump has resulted in some real bargains of up to 75% off their better jewelry.

In electronics, you can even find some Wii programs and the occasional flat screen tv  at 30%-50% off

For all you Joy Mangano clients, you now can purchase her hangers at Target in an array of pastel colors. 

Wal*Mart has decreased their huge bins of DVD’s from 2/$11.00 to 2/$10.00.  Wal*Mart markdowns tend not be as deep since the original price is usually low end–so there’s not a lot of flexibility in discount pricing.  However, you can find apparel on circular racks with a flat price of $3 and $5.  Don’t pass those racks up since the material would cost you more than the completed garment. 

Oh, cooks and gourmets will be glad to hear that they are once again carrying those wonderful glass bottles with spouts for under $3 that are so handy for dispensing olive oil, vegetable oil, or making your own herb vinegars. 

KMart continues it’s clearance policy with an extra 60% off.  Usually there are several places in the store with clearance areas, it just takes times to locate them all, but well worth the effort!

Red Hot Sale Alert: Last Chance To Take Home Global Decor At Fabulous Savings!

Can’t get to the Bazaar in Morocco?  Then be sure to get to the one at Target.  All kinds of exotic items for home décor at fabulous savings, but better hurry!  Target® will end its instore limited edition Global Bazaar home decor today, Feb 18th.  In-store savings of 50% off!  

Can’t get to the store, go online clearance  and  select Global Bazaar.   Imports sale priced from India, South America, and Asia, including ceramics, paintings, pottery, rugs and more!  


It’s never too cold for ice cream

It’s never too cold for ice cream!  Especially when that ice cream is from Maggie Moo’s. 

Dolled up in her pretty pink dress and pearls, Maggie Moo has been delighting children and adults alike across the United States with her 40+ flavors of super premium ice cream.   Other tantalizing treats include Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream Dream Cakes, Deliciously Creamy Milk Shakes, Non-Fat Fruit Smoothies, Sundaes, Banana Split, and Jones Soda and Floats.

Other flavors to check out include  Red Velvet Cake, Destination Dark Chocolate, Cherry Vanilla Vacation, Chai Tea, Cocoa-Amooretto, Tres Leches, and Pink Bubblegum.  And for those calorie-watching folks, Maggie Moo’s offers yummy no-sugar added flavors (banana-strawberry, chocolate, strawberry, and raspberry).

Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream and Treatery is the recipient of the National Ice Cream Retailer’s Association Blue Ribbon Award for five flavors: Vanilla, Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, and Strawberry.   Maggie Moo’s was also featured by the Food Network for its unique stuffed pretzel in cheese, jalapeno and cheese, and pepperoni pizza! 

In Minnesota there are three locations: Chanhassen, Maple Grove, and Woodbury.   MDM’s associates visited Maggie Moo’s Woodbury franchise located in the Woodbury Lakes Shopping Complex over the weekend and tried the Destination Dark Chocolate with strawberries, almonds, and fudge topping, and Cherry Vanilla Vacation with brownie, maraschino cherries and caramel topping.   They reported back that it was one of the most delicious ice cream they’ve had with an enjoyable rush of sugar-filled energy! 

Find a location near you!

Relax and be Blissful!

Bliss (n): 1. supreme happiness, utter joy or contentment, 2. heaven or paradise. 

There is no better word in the English language to describe the feeling you get from melting away your aches and pains of a hard day’s work in a soothing, fragrant steaming bath tub.

Blissful Bath, recently opened its doors in the Woodbury Lakes Shopping Complex in Woodbury, Minnesota, offering a wide-selection of high-end handmade soaps, bath bombs, bath soaks, moisturizers, lip balms, and more.  Prices generally range from $4-$7 for bath bombs and $8-$9 for moisturizers

What makes this store different from other bath and beauty stores is its artistic and decorative approach to bath products, creating the perfect gift! 
Customers can select bath bombs with fillers such as real oatmeal, lavender, or eucalyptus; bath fizzies that look like cupcakes, or moisturizing tub truffles.  Customers can also choose to create their own custom-made bath bombs from a selection of essential oils, such as passion fruit, nutmeg, or bubble gum.

Another interesting store feature are its specialty moisturizers for new mothers and their infants, and super-moisturizing bar kits for hands and feet.  Each gift kit ($14-$15) comes with a gentle exfoliant bar and moisturizing bar that looks like a regular bar of soap, but infused with moisturizing cocoa butter, shea butter, olive oil, and avocado oil–sure to keep your hands and feet supple during dry winter months!  And because they come in bar form, it is easily portable in any case or purse, will eliminate the worry of leaking greasy lotion in your pocket or purse, and perfect for airport travel.                  

Blissful Bath offers gift packages, gift cards, and BATH PARTIES where customers can make their own products.   Sign up for their newsletter on the website provided below for updates on new products and coupons

If you don’t happen to live in Minnesota, you can order products online.  Right now there is an Online Special: Buy 3 bath bombs and get 1 FREE! 

Blissful Bath
Woodbury Lakes (Shopping Complex)
9000 Hudson Road (Suite 415)
Woodbury, MN 55125

Store Hours
: 10am to 9pm Monday through Saturday; 11am to 6pm Sundays
Google Map

A Fantastic Fit for February

Did you know that over 85% of all American women are wearing the wrong bra size?  Well, Oprah and the girls (Trinny and Susannah) from What Not To Wear do!  Last summer they staged a Bra Intervention and had Susan Nethero, an expert bra fitter, help all the women in Oprah’s audience find the right bra size.  Wearing the correct bra size can be very uplifting, no pun intended.  Your clothes will fit better, you will instantly look slimmer and feel great, no surgery needed!  However, if you weren’t in Oprah’s audience and missed the show, how do you know what bra to look for?   No worries!  Fashion Bug is having a free in-store bra fitting event.  All bras are buy one, get one 50% off.   But you need to hurry with this one as it is only this Saturday (Feb 9th) 10AM-6PM!  While you are at Fashion Bug, check out their wide selection of 40% off jeans and 80% off clearance items!   If you are unable to attend the Fashion Bug bra event, be sure to visit the Fashion Bug website to learn how to measure yourself for the right bra fit. 


Save the Date:

Fashion Bug Bra Fitting Event

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Remember Christmas Past by Targeting These Savings!


Target [in store] still has fantastic savings on holiday items and clothing.  Target needs to make room for new merchandise and has marked down all holiday items 90% off! 

Find savings on holiday lights, ornaments, holiday cards, and candy. 

 Hurry as all holiday items are limited! 

A Funny Thing Happen On The Way To IKEA or Emergency Preparedness While Shopping

IKEA® is one of MDM ‘s favorite shopping destinations in the Twin Cities, but it can be very hectic to shop there on the weekends because of the crowds.Well, MDM found a great time to shop the IKEA store across from the Mall of America yesterday at 6:30 PM–or so she thought.  However, more than likely it was due to the Twin Cities being under a Tornado Warning that had something to do with limiting the number of customers since most had sought the shelter of their homes rather than a store.  But neither snow, nor sleet, nor dark of night can stop the intrepid bargain hunter! 

After parking the car in the ramp just as the sirens went off, we went up to the restaurant for some good old swedish meatballs with lingenberry sauce and small, red boiled potatoes.  No sooner had we got our food, then we were asked to exit the restaurant and follow the employees directions to the tornado shelter. Parting a Minnesota from a scandinavian dinner can get ugly and it was only with the utmost assurances by IKEA employees bordering on a sacred vow that our food would be there when we returned, that we reluctantly shoved ourselves from our tables.  However, the more skeptical and brazen among us brought their food with them anyway. 

Like troopers, and Garrison Keillor can probably affirm that Minnesotans at one time in their young lives were either girl scouts or boy scouts, we followed their  orders and were herded through a blocked out path created by the employees to the "shelter."   We soon found out  there were more of us than the shelter could hold and so it was children and pregnant women first.  By choice,  the rest of us stood outside the shelter area hoping that nothing would happen since we were standing next to the warehouse shelves with stacked inventory including boards, furniture, and anything that could become a projectile.  One customer asked if a couch fell on her, would they give it to her for free?   Now there’s the heart of a true bargain hunter!

The employees mentioned that this is about the third time that this situation had occurred since IKEA’s Minnesota store opening and the other times involved employees only.  They may have to revamp emergency preparations should  this happen when the store is filled with customers.  As mentioned before, the weather and time of day had kept the number of customers down, but still there were too many to provide adequate shelter for.  After the "all clear,"  we returned to our cooled dinners, but were treated to cookies and chocolate–see, IKEA knows sweets and chocolate cure everything –even eating a cold meal. 

Notwithstanding all the excitement, MDM recommenced her shopping, briefly interrupted,  and noticed that IKEA had just received a new shipment of bamboo plants from $1.99-$4.99/each.  Additionally there was a large selection of woven scatter rugs for $1.99 and the "As Is" section had a number of furniture pieces, lighting, rugs, drapes and slipcovers.  Also, for the DIYer many furniture parts were available anything from computer tops, glass cabinet doors, to shelving. 

Now is the time to pick-up the new free  IKEA  2008 catalog, or wish book as we call it .


It was an eventful day and all MDM can say about it is Uffda!




Bargain Banter: Christmas 2007 Makes Its’ Appearance

No sooner are the kids back to school, then the retailers begin gearing up for the holidays.  It’s not unusual to see Halloween pumpkins, jack o’lanterns and the occasional talking mummy, but to find the haunted house right next to a Manger  is slightly unsettling since it is only the second week in September.  It’s hard to say whether retailers hope to counter sluggish sales by having a longer holiday season, or have gone back to the future when the agrarian population would come to town twice a year for staples with merchants responding accordingly by offering Christmas items for sale in August.  MDM knows that as we grow older time seems to speed-up, but this quantum leap into the holidays created by retailers would make whirling dervishes even from the most rooted among us. 

At any rate, bargain hunters can turn their attentions to grabbing those remnants of summer including patio furniture, landscape supplies, and outdoor storage units at many chain stores.  And as MDM predicted the back-to-school supplies have taken their first and sometimes second markdowns.  Additionally, many stores currently are in the process of making a complete change of merchandise in their  Housewares departments. 

MDM’s best advice is to grab the bargains as quick as you can because stocks are changing daily.  Soon you will be  hearing  Ho, Ho, Ho continuously  with only an occasional, brief groan  from the Boris Karloff gang.


Happy Holidays, Everyone! 


Bargain Banter: Not All Chain Stores Are Created Equal

MDM over the Labor Day Weekend visited some of her favorite chain stores.  One would think that shopping would be a pleasant way to relax during a long weekend–au contraire, my friends, Monday was sheer pandemonium.  Stores near a university or college were packed with new and returning students, their roommates and families.  Even Goodwill was open and with 50% off everything in the store, excluding red tags–it was wall-to-wall people.

What MDM did notice, in a cursory investigation of the chain stores, was a difference in pricing and number and percentage of markdowns.  It appears that stores located in the more transitional metro areas and nearer to institutions of higher education had higher prices and less markdowns.  Recent studies of price disparity in lower economic neighborhoods have borne this out, even by  national chain stores recognized for their uniform pricing and product selection from coast to coast.   Therefore, take note, product selection and pricing will vary according to location and its’ economic status..

However, with a concentrated effort, the  bargain hunter, will be able to discern  those stores within a chain that have great unadvertised bargains.  Sometimes referred in-house as the "markdown store,"  these are usually the older stores that have limited space because they were built just prior to the super store era, but, nonetheless, must be able to carry the same merchandise, albeit without  a full range grocery department  found in the super stores. For MDM, these stores are gems since every visit provides another opportunity to find a great bargain!

TIP:  During the next two weeks expect to be entering the Post Labor Day, Back To School markdown period.  In fact, MDM  observed while shoppers were making their last Back To School supplies purchases, that the stores were beginning to empty those dedicated areas and consolidate the  overstock for clearance.  Be sure to stay alert for those remaining items to be reduced from 30%, to 50%, and finally to 75% and more now and through the end-of-the month.