The chances are that anyone who likes saving money on fashion and home goods already likes TJ Maxx and its sister store, Marshall's.
While other retail chains are shuttering stores, TJ Maxx and Marshall's are expanding — and for good reason.
With new bargains every week, especially on designer names, everyone has a favorite item to buy at the popular discounters.
Allison Morgan said she looks for "household goods, rugs, pillows."
Kim Hawkins loves shopping at the stores for jewelry and deeply discounted outerwear.
"I got this Michael Kors coat at a really good price," she said.
Many consumers know that every time they go through their doors, they will save money compared with retail. However, with a little knowledge of how their timing and tags work, consumers can save even more.
Thanks to the help of Joanie Demer, one of the founders of The Krazy Coupon Lady blog, here are 9 TJ Maxx secrets every shopper should know.
1. Shop early in the week
Demer said many people make the mistake of hitting TJ Maxx on Fridays or Saturdays. It's convenient, but it's a bad idea — only the leftovers remain at that point.
"They get their shipments in the early, early hours of Monday mornings, and so they are going to be giving that inventory out the first few days," she said.
In addition, consumers are no longer competing just with local shoppers by the end of the week. Etsy and eBay sellers hit the stores early and grab designer goods that they can resell at higher prices, Demer said.
2. Know what tag colors mean
"A white tag is regular TJ Maxx price," Demer said. "A red tag is clearance price. And if you see a yellow tag, that is actually the final clearance price."
When the tag goes yellow, she says, the price is as low as it will get.
"If you see something you are interested in, and you see a yellow tag on it, do not wait. Buy it right away," she said.
The chances are good that item will be gone two days later — unless it is the ugliest sweater you ever saw. But if that's the case, why did you look at it in the first place?
</p><p>3. Check makeup and lotion before going to the department store
"I would say beauty items are some of my favorite items to buy," Demer said.
She said shoppers would be surprised what TJ Maxx and Marshall's have available in their beauty aisles, and it is well worth checking there before setting foot in a Macy's or Sephora for cosmetics.
4. They have a great selection of pet supplies
Many shoppers remember the days when TJMaxx and Marshall's had piles of overstock clothing and shoes, and little else. Times have changed.
"Another category is pets, as far as pet beds and pet accessories you need," Demer said.
The stores have entire aisles worth of cat and dog beds, plus cat climbing trees, priced well below the nearby big-box chain pet store.
5. Think twice before buying sheets and towels
Demer's only "you might do better elsewhere" advice concerned the bedding section.
For starters, it can be tough to find matching items, such as eight matching bath towels or identical queen sheet sets.
Then come the prices. Demer said shoppers can often do better at stores like Target or Macy's during a White Sale.
"Bedding and towels are items where the prices at TJ Maxx are OK, but there are so many better places to shop," she said.
6. Use gift cards interchangeably
Demer said that shoppers can use Marshall's or Home Goods gift cards at TJ Maxx, and vice versa.
"TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Home Goods, even Sierra Trading Post, they all operate from the same parent company," Demer said. "It's good to know that because you can use their gift cards interchangeably."
That is also an advantage when it comes to buying deeply discounted gift cards at sites like Raise.com.
</p><p>7. Check out "The Runway"
TJ Maxx stores in urban areas now have a section called "The Runway," filled with markdowns on high-end designer names, the type usually found in stores like Nordstrom.
Prices on The Runway are higher than in the rest of the store. But Demer points out that while a $200 for a pair of shoes may sound like a lot to most people, they cost up to $600 at other stores.
8. Shop Marshall's for menswear
Although TJ Maxx has men's casual clothing, anyone shopping for dress clothing, shoes, or more variety, you may prefer Marshall's for a wider selection.
In recent years, TJMaxx has become more female-focused, while Marshall's stores tend to have more children's and men's items.
9. You can bring your dog
Yes, Demer says TJ Maxx stores are dog-friendly, as long as they can ride in a cart or are on a leash.
Finally, forget about couponing or price-matching with other stores. Prices at TJ Maxx are so low, what shoppers see on the tag is what they get. Luckily, it's usually a great deal.
Read more TJ Maxx tips from The Krazy Coupon Lady, and don't waste your money.
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