More to Swedes Than Blondes

Clean lines, contemporary looks, a bit of wimsy, and great bargains greeted MDM at the huge IKEA store across from the Mall of America.   Divided into two levels, the size of the store has proven somewhat daunting for first time visitors.  MDM recommends making your first visit to the store during the weekdays and off-peak hours since weekends tend to be crowded; otherwise, you may have to leave a trail of crumbs to find your way out. 

The top level of the store is the Showroom where you can see a full set-up by room.  On this level is a restaurant & café.  This is the level to jot down the numbers of the individual pieces you wish to purchase and pick-up on the 1st level below.  If you are purchasing items, MDM recommends parking on the upper level, which places the customer at the entry of the 1st level. 

IKEA  is open daily from 10am-9pm, and the restaurant  café from 9:30am-8:00pm.  You can get breakfast for 99¢ until 11 a.m.  Ikea provides instructions how to shop its’ stores online, so be sure to take a look before your first visit because it will avoid a lot of confusion.  IKEA provides wheelchairs, superior to the Mall of America, and has had electric carts, too for its’ customers–although at this writing they were not available. Strollers are also provided, and Ikea has storage lockers to place packages from other stores or coats for a 25¢ fee that is refundable.  Bags and shopping carts for keeping track of merchandise are provided, too.   All products are written in swedish, but the pricing code will tell you if you can pick-up the item or will have to special order it, additionally each item list its’ dimensions and other valuable information to assist in your decision. 

MDM especially liked the 1st level Marketplace that contained throw rugs for $1.99, prints, designer accent lighting, housewares and so much more.  A sample of items you can find include stainless kitchenware, lighted shelving, bamboo plants, designer rugs,etc.  MDM did not fail in her mission to locate the clearance section.  In the left corner of the Marketplace as you are entering, you will find an "As Is" and "50% off" sections that include furniture and other items.  Take your time and you can find some real bargains and be sure to ask about shipping and delivery if you are unable to take it with you.  

The Swedish Food Market had some great chocolate filled cookies and MDM was able to find a stainless steel cheese slicer/shaver–can be used to shave chocolate as well–for $4.99

You could spend the entire day at IKEA if you have to, but MDM recommends that if you have the time, take IKEA in stages to appreciate all that it has to offer.  Bring your own bag(s) to take your goodies home or pay a nominal for each.  Worthy of several visits especially if you like finding all those neat design accents and materials that you see on your favorite decorating shows, at bargain prices.  Hats off to the Swedes for combining utility and style.


Auto Auctions Every Thursday at 9 A.M.

GoodwillMarkdownmom’s Twin Cities tour has begun.   Today MDM visited the Easter Seals Goodwill store located in St. Paul, MN..  This thrift store is one of the contributors to the shopgoodwill auction site.  Expansive with a large inventory of clothing, many racks are reduced on Thursday by 50 percent.  Although MDM does not recommend thrift stores as a source of auto auctions, nevertheless if you have strong mechanic skills or know an expert mechanic you might want to check out their offerings every Thursday at 9 a.m..  To preview this weekly’s silent car auctions, log on at Goodwill Easter Seals.  If you would like to donate your car, this store offers free metro pick-up. 

MDM found china and glassware a bit expensive for a thrift store and there were not displays of antique items, possiblygoodwill because of this store’s connection with the national auction site.  However, there were some deals on home appliances such as a BreadMan bread machine NIB for under fifty dollars and a medium cuisinart only missing its feeding tube for under five dollars.  Also, selected designer items, electronics, tools, and antiques are held under glass to bid on in a silent auction.  The Easter Seals store also has a large book and record collection.  College students can find some inexpensive furniture pieces and art work for their apartments or dorm rooms. 

Special tag sales on Monday and Tuesday at these stores, and if you are 55 or older Wednesdays offer senior discounts of an extra 25% off. 

Open 9-9 weekdays.  Handicapped accessible.

Store Closings: Is It Bargain Hunting Season for Techies?

The Dallas-based chain, is closing half of its’ store in the U.S. in the next 60-90 days to around 103 stores left in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.  The company sites store closings in poor producing revenue locations and outdated stores in an effort to streamline its’ operations and bring its’ balance sheet into the black, which has received a  hefty infusion of capital from its’ parent company Mexican-based Grupo Carso S.A.  One of the first stores to close is in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the liquidation of merchandise has already started, although MDM believes because of the latest snowstorm conditions, customers will not be able to get to the bargains until Saturday at the earliest. 

Handling the store closings will be Gordon Brothers Retail Partners, LLC.   Gordon Brothers, among their many diversified investment interests in the consumer products and retail industry, is a liquidator that typically buys the inventory of the store(s) being closed or going out of business and then conducts the sale.   

Other computer-based retailers downsizing is Circuit City that announced earlier in February that it will close 8 stores in the U.S. and 64 in Canada.   Best Buy seems to be one of the few left standing.

To find out what store locations remain for CompUSA, go to their site. 

Weekend Bargain Banter

Target instore has begun taking larger markdowns on their jewelry, more than their advertised sale of 10%MDM found 3 stone ½ ct diamond/gold pendant necklace reg.$299/$200.96.  They are continuing 75% off selected apparel like a woman’s spa robe for $7.48 and men’s sweaters and briefs (mostly larger sizes).

Sam’s Club instore has Anne Klein 100%cashmere cowl-neck sweaters in blue, brown, and black sizes up to XXL for $24.81.   Two styles of men’s flannel shirts are being sold for an unbelievable price of $1.71

Old Navy is having a 25% off sale on baby, kids, and maternity.  Click on "Bargains" to find additional sales, up to 50% off on clothing, accessories and shoes.  MDM found  ballet shoes and wedges, limited, but oh-so-cute, for $12.99.

HSN has some real buys on jewelry like a 40" rice pearl necklace in 10 colors Reg.$25/$9.90.  Buy a couple and twist them into a torsade necklace or drape them to create 3 rows.  How fun!  Vote for This Article at:  Judy’s Book


Newport News is having a one day sale on its Winter Sale and Clearance Items.  Take an extra 20% off the reduced prices.  Like this polar fleece swing jacket, Reg.$34-$39/$15.99-20%=$12.79+sh.  Use Code 656 for extra 20% off, only good until midnight EST.

5 Ways To Save On Shipping Costs

There are several ways to save when buying online on shipping costs, some are more obvious than others:

  • List item on Wish List and wait for promotional "free shipping" offers by merchants. This free shipping can either apply to any purchase, to select purchases, or to purchases above a dollar amount, e.g. free shipping with purchases of $50, $100 or more, or both e.g. free shipping on furniture purchases of $50 or more.  All such offers usually have time parameters, e.g. Nordstrom is currently having a promotional free shipping offer until 12/09.
  • Flat fee for shipping.  Some merchants have a standard flat fee charge regardless of the number of items you purchase at one time.  Thus, when you have several purchases to make it is best to combine them into one order.
  • Regular shipping on first item with further reductions on additional purchases.  This can be 50% off or flat fee on each additional item is used by some shopping networks.
  • Reduced shipping fees on certain items or coupon for free shipping on next purchaseFor instance, WalMart is having a 97¢ shipping charge on toys at present.  
  • Free shipping to the store site.  WalMart has a site to store (SM) free shipping on items that are unavailable  instores.  For instance, the Gamin Street Pilot posted earlier with a $200 off sale qualifies for this option.  Rule of thumb:   This includes the latest electronics, baby gear, fitness equipment, and bedroom furniture.  Check online to see if one of their stores nearest you qualifies for this option.   Payless Shoes has this option and will notify you when the merchandise arrives.  These options require payment in advance. Additionally, Sears and other large chains have "transfer sales" which allow you to purchase the item at one store and to have the recipient pick it up at another store closest to their residence.  This is done without any shipping/handling charges and they will even disguise the price. Other chains may offer these alternatives, so it is worth inquiring to see if they have such a service.

Bargain Banter: Labor Day Sales & Steals

Out-the-Door end of season sales.  At Younkers, JCPenney, and Kohls savings of 75%-85% off.  Stores are clearing out summer stock to make room for Fall Fashions.  Limited stock, but well worth the hunt.  Now is the time to buy closeouts on summer shoes,  JCPenney and Younkers have racks of shoes all for $9.99 a pair. 

Furniture stores usually have big sales twice a year.  One happens in August and the other one after New Year’s Day.  When looking at sale prices please note that furniture usually carries a higher mark-up than apparel, about double.  The best deal occur on display models or one of a kind usually reduced more than 50% depending on style and popularity.  Attractive interest rates are offered, but remember that you must pay each month the minimal payment if you do not want to get socked with accumulated interest accrued over the payment time.  As with anything, read the terms clearly before signing.

Spiegel is giving an additional 20% off any item including End of Season clearance this weekend.  To get this additional savings use Promotional code 212 when checking out.  Savings can be up to 85% off msrp.  Shipping & handling runs a minimum of $7.95 for each purchase, therefore, make sure if you buy several items that you purchase them on the same order. 

At PB Teen-Pottery Barn teen, you can save up to 75% on  Clearance.  MDM recommends the limited but quality duvet covers and matching shams.  You won’t always find the matching sheet sets, but the prices are excellent on duvet covers for your down comforters. 

Fashion Bug ‘s Last Call Summer Clearance is an opportunity to find that  summer sportswear bargain. Also 25% off selected regular merchandise.  Most plus size clearance marked $3.98 and $6.98!

Decorating a dorm room or an apartment?  Target [instore] has houseware supplies on sale up to 75% off.  In the next few weeks, the store will be marking down its’ Back-To-School merchandise such as backpacks, etc.  MDM usually waited several weeks after school started to stock up on school supplies, excluding necessary notebooks since the numbers of the much sought after notebooks are depleted early. 

Sherwin-Williams has 15%-25% off selected paints and wallpaper for all the DIYers.  They usually have a rack of discontinued, overstocked, or returned wallpaper rolls that can save you a bundle if you find something pleasing for your decor.  Remember to check dye lots and run numbers.

Macy’s has a whopping additional 25% off Clearance Items.  Fantastic savings on designer houseware, jewelry-shell and semiprecious(50% off +10%), kids, men and women apparel.



Wednesday Deals: From Head to Foot, and Everything In Between

Getting a good night’s rest is important to good health.  Today’s space age technology aides a good night sleep by providing important support to our body and especially our neck.

JCPenney has a memory foam pillow on sale today for$9.99/reg.$29.99.  This is a buy for our personal use in addition to our college bound students.  This price is only good today.

 Kohl’s is having An All Day DoorBuster Sale today and College Dorm  and lounge items are on sale with 50-60% off.  Other items on sale today include other back-to-school items, women and men’s wear, and floor care appliances.  Shipping is a flat $5 fee on entire order, large or small.

Dillards has come to the rescue for all of us who have narrow or extended shoe sizes.  And you can find them at a bargain prices, up to 50% off, like this starlet shoe by Anne Klein $65/reg.$130.  Sale prices range from $19.50+ .  If you have a hard-to-fit shoe size and are looking for something stylish, this sale is worth looking at–remember sizes are limited, so better hurry and look for the blue E!

Save on Sizzling Makeup Kits Free with Purchase

Makeup Kits and other promotional items give bargain hunters an opportunity to try new products with a minimum purchase.   The items exceed the minimum purchase in value, and provide a great beauty cost-savings!

Younkers has two promotionals going.  The first is by Estee Lauder and contains $65 worth of merchandise for a minimum purchase of $25.50 .  Free promotional includes a canvas travel bag and zipper cosmetic bag and a wonderful full size lipstick plus more. 


Elizabeth Arden promotional is an 8 pcs. Beauty  Kit free with $22.50 purchase.  But better hurry because this promotional is only good through August 5th.  Kit includes bordeaux handbag, wonderful eyeshadow quad, and luscious lipstick in amber amoung other items. 



Plus, MDM says don’t forget the yellow dot clearance sale at Younkers on clearance spring and summer apparel, accessories, footwear, and home store merchandise.  You can save 75%+ off original prices.  Look for the yellow signs throughout the store.

Mega Savings at the Mall of America-Part 2

On MDM’s recent trip to the Mall of America, she found tons of teen sales.  Teen sales ranged from 50-70% off of the hottest summer styles and newest fall trends.  MDM says that MOA and its 400 stores is offering the chance for everyone to become a trend setter this fall.  On your next visit to MOA, MDM suggests checking out the following places:

photo by Elise


 Rampage™ is having a store closing at MOA.  This is the perfect chance to pick up Lindsay Lohan and Jessica Alba looks without the hit to your wallet.  The store closing promises 60% off of all clothing items and 50% off of hats and other accessories.  Items are limited so make sure that Rampage™ is your first stop at MOA. 

 Deb stores™ has a 60% off summer styles blowout!  Summer clothing photo by Elisefeatures gaucho pants, capris pants, jeans, shorts, tees, camisoles and much more.  To get the best prices, start towards the front of the store near the cashier’s counter.  Many of the styles can be matched with other clothing items and accessories to create the perfect outfit for a day at work or a night out on the town.  In addition to summer looks, keep your eye out for the rouge sweater from last fall.  MDM picked a navy blue sweater up for a steal at $1.

 photo by Elise 


 The most avid of MarkDown Mom bloggers cannot afford to miss the Banana Republic™ sale!  Banana Republic has a storewide sale of 60% off of both men’s and women’s fashion. 


MDM especially loves the embroidered cotton dress in tarbaya green (reg. $118.00, on sale $59.99), which is very reminiscent of Ann Hathaway’s green dress in "The Devil Wears Prada."  Pair dress with a large brown belt and layered necklaces to capture the look. 








Mega Savings at the Mall of America-Part 1

The Mall of America has over 400 stores throughout its 4 floor mega mall.  MOA provides entertainment for all members of the family and is a great alternative to beating the summer heat.  The number of stores is matched by the number of sales one can find.  Here is just a sample of what MDM found on her latest trip to the Mall of America. 

photo by EliseNordstrom™ is having its anniversary sale, which lasts until July 31st.  Storewide savings feature women’s and men’s clothing, shoes/boots, handbags and accessories.  Take advantage of scooping up the hottest fall fashions before they hit stores. 


 The biggest fashion buzz this fall for women is leggings. Pair Nordstrom’s™ Frenchi Footless Tights (available in black, macchiato, and white) with a light weight tunic top or long sweater for a great  summer or fall look.   If you order online, enjoy the standard flat fee shipping rate of only $5

photo by Elise






 Click Here for Major Savings!  

Starting July 18th, Nordstrom Rack™ is offering huge sales on clearance photo by Eliseshoes.  Shoes with brown tags are 35% off, blue tags are 50% off, and pink tags are 65% off.  Some brands that MDM found were Nine West™, Steve Madden™, Michael Kor™, and Via Spiga™. 




photo by EliseAnn Taylor Loft ™ has a huge 70% off sale, which includes spring sweaters, tees, tanks, flip flops, summer dresses and pants.  For a fun look, try the Keyhole Halter Dress, reg. $69.00, on sale for $39.99.