A conversation with friends last weekend got me thinking about a bargain tip that seems obvious but sometimes is forgotten: Scour the clearance racks.
We were talking about some of the deals that seem to, as one friend termed it, "fall from the sky" into my lap from time to time.
Yes, some of it is nothing more than good fortune -- being at the right clearance rack at the right time. But if you check the markdowns often enough at stores you frequent the most, you can make your own luck.
I recently had to buy dress clothes for my son's piano recital -- slacks, shirt and tie -- that he would wear that one time and almost certainly grow out of before another "dress" occasion rolls around. So I hit the clearance racks in hopes of a boy's size 16 miracle.
Can I get a hallelujah?
I found a pair of high-quality navy slacks marked down to $3.60 at one of our major department stores. I got a crisp yellow shirt and tie combination on the same rack for $9.80.
OK, so the tie was far too short for my vertically overachieving boy. Bargain or not, I wasn't going to let him take the stage with a tie that hit above his sternum. But it still was a great deal.
I've bought my son windbreakers, sweat shirts and ski coats off clearance racks a size or two too large and saved them for the next season.
And I often shop clearance for myself, buying sweaters as summer approaches, lightweight blouses in October and tucking them away until the weather changes again.
Have a tip for other bargain hunters in the region? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the words "Bargain Hunter" in the subject line.