keyboard shopping

Stores like T.J. Maxx, Century 21, Marshalls and Ross are a fashion lover’s dream. But the crowds and tons of unorganized merchandise can make even the most savvy shopper a bit overwhelmed. A few tips can help you keep you cool, shop smart and walk away with loads of cheap, chic finds. From the sections of the store with the best prices to the deals you may be overlooking, check out five tips to shop like a pro and get savings galore.

Head to the Back

It’s tempting to shop the first racks you see, but resist this urge. The new, yet-to-be-marked down merchandise is always at the front of the store. Instead, pass a few racks and head towards the back; that’s where the real savings and clearance goods are. You’ll still find in-season pieces, but at even more affordable prices.

Best Beauty Buys

While most people hit the discount department stores for the latest clothes, don’t overlook the beauty section. My favorites are T.J. Maxx and Nordstrom Rack, where I’ve scored otherwise expensive night creams, cleansers and moisturizers from Clarins, StriVectin and Korres. 

See it. Love it. Buy it.

At any other department store, you might see something you like and decide to leave it behind in hopes it’ll be on sale in a week. The game’s a bit different at discount stores. If you see something you love, buy it now. With limited quantities of individual items, it’s unlikely you can leave anything behind and it’ll still be there a week (or even days) later.

Don’t Get Hypnotized by Low Prices

It’s natural for your eyes to widen when you see a sale sign or a ticket that’s been marked down several times. Discounts are awesome, but don’t let the allure of a sale have you spending more than you normally would. Always ask yourself, do I really need this or do I only want it because it’s “cheap”? Even an item at 70 percent off is money down the drain if it just takes up space in the back of your closet.

Shop Online

Sometimes you just don’t have the patience to brave the crowds, lines and disheveled racks. Skip the lines and shop from the comfort of your home. Though it’s rare for many discount shops to have an e-commerce site, T.J. Maxx made savvy shoppers rejoice when they launched one late last year. And for a limited time only, their new special occasion page has cocktail dresses, bridal attire and prom gear.

Patrice J. Williams is a NYC-based writer and on-air style expert behind Looking Fly on a Dime. Her motto is your style is never determined by your wallet. Follow Patrice on Twitter and Instagram for daily style inspiration.