Be an effective bargain shopper - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Be an effective bargain shopper

MADISON (WKOW)--Everywhere you look sale signs are wallpapering store windows and e-mail accounts and mailboxes are being deluged with special discount coupons.

The state of the economy is a retailer's anxiety but a shopper's paradise.

These smart tactics will help you get rock-bottom prices in the sea of sales.

Bargain shoppers know how to get the best deals in these tough economic times.

"The first thing is to find the right store, like Daffy's, TJ Maxx, or Marshall's, and then actually go into the clearance rack, because that's where the true bargains are," says Gina Scalia, bargain shopper.

Good Housekeeping says you can get the most savings by combining a store sale with a print coupon, web code or other type of discount.

"Go to google and type in the store name that you're looking for and "coupon code." You'll come up with lists and lists of sites. Retailmenot is one of my favorites. There's also and," says Good Housekeeping writer, Kelli Grant.

Another big tip: know when your favorite stores mark down their merchandise.

"Just ask a store employee. This is not state secrets here. For the most part, they're going to tell you, "hey, we've got a sale that starts Thursday. If you come in Thursday morning, you get first crack at it."

Thrift store shoppers get the best deals on Monday and Tuesday because most donations are dropped off and priced over the weekend.

Thrift shops and outlet stores may only accept cash, but stick with a credit card for liquidators and other places where sales are final, in case you have a problem with the item when you get home.

For the best deals at thrift stores, shop in high-income zip codes. You're more likely to score well-known brands at a fraction of the cost.

63% of women say they buy less costly brands more often than they did three years ago.

Join your favorite store's frequent-shopper mailing and e-mail lists. You'll receive sale alerts.

After making a major purchase, sign up for price-drop alerts through sites like They can help you grab the onetime price adjustment many stores offer should the price drop in the store or at a competitor shortly after your purchase.

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