April 11, 2005 — -- It is easy to save money on clothes at end-of-season sales. But how do you save money on clothes at the beginning of the season when they have the colors you like and the sizes that you need?
With coupons, of course!
There are many good clothing coupons available if you know where to look. Coupons are available for stores in all price ranges. More expensive stores are just as likely to have coupons as discount stores.
You can find coupons for clothes in the newspaper, particularly for department stores. You also can find coupons in direct mail pieces, in some fashion magazines and even in-store catalogs.
The Entertainment book has several coupons for national and regional clothes stores. At this time of year, their books sell for half price at www.entertainment.com. You can preview coupons before you buy a book.
There are now Web sites that allow you to print free coupons for traditional stores. These are easy to use because you just print them when you need them. Find printable clothes coupons at www.thecouponmom.com and www.keycode.com.
If you like to shop at outlet malls, you can find many good coupons for dozens of outlet stores in two ways:
1. Selected outlet malls have coupon books available for about $5 at the mall's management office. However, if you visit www.premiumoutlets.com, you can print a voucher that entitles you to a free coupon booklet at the management office. As an example, one outlet mall has 140 stores and their coupon booklet had coupons for 90 of the stores.
2. You can also print coupons for selected outlet stores at their Web site.
You will find the most clothing coupon offers at coupon code sites for online shopping. Check free shipping offers to save on clothes when ordering online. Be sure to enter the coupon code in the box on the checkout page when you shop online.
Even if you haven't seen a coupon for your favorite store in the past, they may be available. Try these suggestions to help find coupons at your stores:
1. Call or visit the store and ask a salesperson if they have coupons available and how they are distributed. They know all the tricks and will often tell you everything they know.
2. Ask if they have an in-store mailing list and sign up. This is a good way to get coupons, particularly for local and regional stores.
3. Visit the Web sites of your favorite stores and sign up for their e-mail newsletters. They will let you know as soon as sales begin and will probably send out coupons. Some stores like www.newyorkandcompany.com will let you print a 20-percent-off coupon as soon as you sign up for the e-mail newsletter.
4. Sign up for any preferred member programs offered by your stores, which may provide special coupons on your birthday, free gifts or benefits like free shipping for online orders.
5. Order free catalogs for the store. These can be a great source of coupons.
6. If you have the store's credit card, make sure you take advantage of special benefits available -- like rewards programs, extra coupons, free shipping and birthday coupons.
You can save even more money, and still get the clothes you like early in the season, if you use coupons on sale items.
If you have your eye on an outfit at a favorite store when it's full price, try waiting. Many new-season styles are available long before Mother Nature has decided it is the new season, so by the time their first sale begins, you will still have plenty of time to wear your new clothes.
If you have signed up for the store's e-mail newsletter, you'll be the first to know when their sales begin. Hit the sale while the selection is good. The store may even include a coupon in their sale announcement e-mail. You also can check a coupon code site to find more coupons for the store.
By combining the sales price with a coupon or a coupon code, you may save as much as 40 percent to 60 percent well before the season really begins.