3 Tips for Saving Big at the Outlet Malls


Motherhood has taught me many life lessons. Learn to laugh through the tears. A Hello Kitty ice pack and a Band-Aid can cure most injuries. Paying retail is for suckers – and Kardashians.

Which is why I love me an outlet mall. But just because something is on discount doesn’t mean it’s a great deal. So before you hit the stores, check out this sage shopping advice from beauty and style expert Andie Paige. The Style on a Shoestring author who has appeared on shows like How Do I Look, Starting Over, and Ten Years Younger says to grab your tape measure and check your vanity at the door. But after doing battle in the bargain bin, sneaking a Hello Kitty ice pack into your arsenal won’t hurt either.


1. Back-track. True, it’s hard to bypass all the pretty, perfectly displayed racks strategically styled to get your attention at the front of the store (Ooh! Shiny!), but put blinders on and head straight to the back – it’s where you’ll find the best deals. "Actually, in any store, you want to shop the back of the store forward," Paige says.  "They always put the new, most expensive things in the front of the store, and then the biggest bargains are in the back. In general, if you do that, you’ll save 30 percent over the year."

2. Know the deal with the deals. "Be sure it’s a bargain, and not just a perceived bargain," Paige says, noting that outlet stores often offer two-fers. "They may say you can get two T-shirts for $30, but at another store, those T-shirts might be $9.99 each. It can be misleading."

3. Size things up. Know how you refuse to buy something if the label shows it’s bigger than your regular size? Get over it. "Mis-sizing is a huge reason why things end up on the sale rack," Paige says. "I teach people to shop with a tape measure because if you can just focus on your numbers -- your seat, hip, waist, and bust measurements -- and not the numbers on the trousers or the jacket, you’re going to save the most money."

She says plenty of shoppers will skip a great sale rack item because they’re a size 10 and the label says it’s a size 12. "But if you’re attracted to it, pull it out and measure it. It very well may be that it was mis-sized and it’s a bargain that you can take advantage of.  Outlet stores are places you can find things that are a little bit flawed so you have to be willing to look at things one size larger and one size smaller than you actually are."

Do you have any tips for saving money at outlet stores?

Image via tax credits/ Flickr

This post was written by Lesley Kennedy, the senior managing editor at coupon and money-saving site ShopAtHome.com.

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