Use coupons, loyalty cash to score clothing discounts


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Posted Online: July 10, 2014, 5:59 pm
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By Jill Cataldo

We think about coupons in relation to groceries quite often, but do you use coupons when shopping for clothing? Clothing coupons are out there, and I use them as often as I can find them.

Major department stores, such as Kohl's, J.C. Penney and Macy's, often send out high-value coupons to their shopper base. It seems that nearly every week, I receive an attractive offer from one retailer or another, and they're usually high-value offers, too.

Coupons such as $10 off a $25 purchase, 25 percent off an entire purchase or $10 off a purchase of $10 or more are great motivators to encourage me to make a special trip to the store.

In addition to coupons I receive directly from retailers, I look for promotional loyalty cash opportunities, where reaching a spending threshold triggers another reward for a future trip.

These promotions, often advertised as a "Spend $50, Get $10 for your next shopping trip" sale become even more attractive when paired with coupons.

I've long said that I have clothes shopping down to a science – when I go to a department store, I'm typically armed with the best, highest-value coupons available at that time. Most clothing coupons do not exclude clearance items, so I'll head to the clearance racks and look for items that are already at bargain prices.

Recently, I picked up five shirts for my sons that I found on the clearance rack for $4.99 each. I was armed with a $10-off-$25 coupon, and the five shirts totaled $24.95. I added a clearance-priced belt for $1.24 as a "filler" item to get me over $25. (It was the least expensive item I could find.)

With the coupon, I paid $16.19 for five shirts – like getting each one for about $3.24 each – and a I received a "free" belt, too. Shopping this way enables me to pick up new clothing for my kids at thrift-store prices.

What's the best way to get on mailing lists for these kinds of coupons? A commonly held belief is that you must be a credit card holder for a particular retailer to receive good coupons, but that isn't true.

I don't have any store credit cards, but I still receive coupon offers regularly.

Here are some tips for locating the best discounts:

1. Sign up for mailing lists. If your favorite department store maintains a traditional postal mailing list, ask to join the list the next time you're at the checkout lane. If your store maintains an email list (many do), consider getting on that as well.

If you're concerned about too many offers in your email inbox, set up a second email address to use only for retailer offers and promotions.

2. Sign up for text alerts. Many retailers are using text and SMS messaging to "push" coupons to their shoppers. If you don't mind receiving these texts, they're a great way to receive ongoing discounts for stores at which you shop.

You can opt out of text alerts if you decide they're not for you – in most cases, texting "STOP" to the originating number will halt the text offers.

3. Check the store's website. Before you head to the store (or even while in the store if you've got a smartphone!) look online to see if the store has any coupons to print or load.

4. Ask. On the rare occasion I go to the store without a coupon (for example, needing a new outfit for an event and not having time to wait for the items I want to hit that coveted deeply discounted state) I will ask at checkout if the cashier has any coupons or discounts to share. You'd be surprised how often they do.

Smart Living Tip: Opting in to offers from your favorite retailers need not turn into a "Spam-fest." I don't sign up for every retailer's offers – only the stores I shop most often. That way, I can focus my shopping efforts on the retailers that offer the best discounts regularly, and I don't find a plethora of unrelated, intrusive offers.



Jill Cataldo, a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three, never passes up a good deal. Learn more about Super-Couponing at jillcataldo.com. Email your own couponing victories and questions to jill@ctwfeatures.com.
















 



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  Today is Thursday, July 31, the 212th day of 2014. There are 153 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: A corps of surgeons now occupies the new hospital quarters at the Garrison Hospital on the Rock Island Arsenal. A fence has been installed to enclose the prison hospital.
1889 -- 125 years ago: B. Winter has let a contract to Christ Schreiner for a two story brick building with a double store front on the south side of 3rd Avenue just west of 17th Street. The estimated cost was $4,500.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Germany sent simultaneous ultimatums to Russia and France, demanding that Russia suspend mobilization within 12 hours and demanding that France inform Germany within 18 hours. In the case of war between Germany and Russia, France would remain neutral.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Civil service offices at the post office and the Rock Island Arsenal were swamped as more than 700 youths sought 15 machinist apprenticeships at the Arsenal.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Last night, American Legion Post 246 in Moline figuratively handed over the trousers to a female ex-Marine and petticoat rule began. Olga Swanson, of Moline, was installed as the first woman commander of the post .
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illinois Quad City Civic Center captured the excitement and interest of a convention of auditorium managers this weekend in Reno, Nev. Bill Adams, civic center authority chairman, said the 10,000-seat arena planned for downtown Moline has caught the eye of construction firms, suppliers, management teams and concession groups.








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