What makes a great discount?

It’s taken me a while to learn what differentiates a so-so deal from a great one. The first thing you should know, if you didn’t already, is that an item’s production price and the sticker price are not the same. There isn’t a universal markup practice but it’s not a stretch to assume that clothing prices are raised by 100% or more. What I’m trying to say is that although a deal sounds good, you should do the math to figure out what the actual savings are. The markdowns that really appeal to me are 40% or more off the original ticket price.

Let’s look at a breakdown of a few commonly-offered sales. Warning – there’s some math. 

  • $10 off – I’ve seen this tag hanging on a pair of $80 jeans. In VA, where I live, sales tax is 5%, so you still wind up spending $73.50. That’s less than 10% off the tag price, which doesn’t sound very good to me.
  • BOGO 50% – If you’re buying the same sweater in two colors then this deal is 25% off each, which isn’t bad. But if you buy a $150 dress and pair of shoes for $70 to go with it, you only save $35 (just over 15%) because stores apply the promotion to the lowest priced item.
  • BOGO Free – If you want to get two identical sweaters, this promotion is 50% off your purchase and that is music to my wallet.

Are you still with me? If so, congrats. You just earned yourself a cute picture.

Since I love almost everything in my go-to stores, it’s not easy to resist buying those New Arrivals. My method, after I start drooling over something, is to visualize how I can incorporate a new item into my current wardrobe. I might revisit the website or store several times over the next week or two but in that time, a sale will probably occur. If it does, I’ll add it to my shopping cart (buying online is my preferred way).

I usually leave the site again at this point and re-visit it later in the day, just to make sure that I’m not making an impulse purchase. You’re probably thinking, “there’s no way this could be an impulse buy,” but I really like to justify my shopping.

Finally, and this is the best part, I buy it! My most recent purchase is this polka dot skirt from LOFT, originally $59.99. It was 50% off and I had a $20 LOFT rewards card to use so I only paid $11.

How you you justify your spending? What do you consider a good deal? Please share your tips with me because this method isn’t perfect and I love knowing how other people score deals.

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2 responses to “What makes a great discount?

  1. Madewell reminded me why the word “Sale” or “Discount” isn’t always your friend. No matter what I tried to buy online, the tax and shipping pretty much upped the cost back to the items’ original prices. Why not buy in-store, you say? Because the online store has much more variety and items on “sale” than the physical store did. Sigh. I think you’re right – if the sale is 40% off or more, THAT’s when I’ll get excited.

  2. Use code “FALL1” at checkout at LOFT to get $25 off a purchase of $50 or more (full price styles only)…….. good until September 23rd. You’re welcome! 🙂

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