Money saving tip: Get on the mailing lists before buying

Ever shopped at a store or online, only to find out later that you could have gotten an additional discount off your purchase if you’d been aware of a coupon or special deal?

You can save a lot of money on kids’ clothing by shopping during sales or using discount coupons. How do you hear about these discounts? Simple: you just sign up for free to be on the store mailing list for these deals. Usually all that’s required is your email address. Most children’s apparel stores won’t ask you to go to the effort of signing up for an account with a username and password just to subscribe to their deals.

Finding out about a sale or promotion can help you a lot in making the most of your children’s clothing budget. Every little bit saved adds up. I almost never pay full price any more for my kids’ clothes.

Which children’s clothing stores should I subscribe to for these coupons or deals?
It’s really up to you. I like The Children’s Place for this – their styles and prices are good, and they are very pro-active about having good coupons and deals. Crazy 8 is another good option that I recommend. The 6 stores I have recommended in my earlier post are the ones to which I subscribe, so you may want to check them out.

The one exception to signing up in advance:
The only exception to getting on the mailing lists long before buying is if you’re seriously thinking of buying something right away online. If you can’t wait for a deal to come along (e.g. your child needs a new school uniform polo NOW because their old one was destroyed in an art accident / lunchroom mishap / science project), then sign up right before buying. The reason for this is that at time of signing up, some kids’ apparel stores will offer you a special discount coupon that is valid for a short time e.g. 24 hours. Not all stores do this – in fact, many do not, so it’s a bit of a risk.

You basically need to decide whether you sign up long before you need anything from the store and allow yourself plenty of opportunities to take advantage of sales periods, or to sign up right before putting items in the cart and hope that they offer you a special flash-discount. I personally stick with signing up well in advance, although once or twice I have regretted this because they offered me a great deal – but my budget wasn’t in a position to make a purchase then.

Coupon tips:
1. Some coupons are only valid online; others are only valid in stores; others can be used both ways. Read the fine print.

2. You want to make sure you get the special deal which nets you the most money. For example, if you’re planning on buying a whole lot of clothes online for your kids at one store, then a coupon for free shipping may not be as attractive as it first sounds. This is because your purchase amount may even be sufficient to qualify for free shipping on its own: many kids clothing stores do offer free shipping over a certain purchase total. Instead, if you’re making a larger purchase, a coupon for a certain percent off purchase price could net you a whole lot more savings (depending on how much percent discount is offered). In contrast, free shipping generally helps you most when you’re making smaller purchases. Compare different deals from different stores and do the math to find the best deal for you.

3. Don’t like inbox clutter? Be sparing in what you sign up for, and/or set your email filters to put clothing deals into their own separate folder that you can browse at your leisure. However, you may miss out on some discounts that way: sales at most kids’ clothing stores are very short-lived: 3 days would be considered long! Remember you can always unsubscribe to anything that comes more frequently than you’d like. I actually unsubscribe every time I will be away for more than a day or two, and then re-subscribe again right after I come back.

Take-home message
Sign up for free to be on the mailing lists of children’s clothing stores you like. They’ll send you coupons which do actually offer you real savings, unlike some other types of stores. This is a great way to get the most for your money when you shop for your kids’ clothes.