Nearly every thrifter (thrift store shopper) knows of the 50 percent off sales on most holidays. Check your favorite store, but the big ones such as Unique, Savers and Arc's Value Village offer 50 percent off most items except new merchandise on Labor Day.
One of the best deals at the State Fair is the low price on Angie's List memberships. Get one year for $15, regularly $39. Multi-year memberships are $28 for two years, three years for $41 and four years for $54. I have yet to see a better deal during the year. The deal is offered through Labor Day at booth #51 in the Grandstand.
Cooks of Crocus Hill is having a storewide 20 percent off everything sale on Saturday and Sunday in St. Paul and Edina and Saturday through Monday in Stillwater. Exceptions: sale items, classes, electrics and cropshares.
Get 30 percent off online at Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy through Monday. Use discount code FALLCALLS.
Bargain hunters know that Memorial Day weekend sales aren't as enticing as the ones on July 4 or Labor Day, but there are deals worth checking out. Here's a list to start the weekend.
Thursday, May 24, Dunn Bros coffee shops are giving away a Nut Goodie candy bar with a coffee purchase while supplies last at all locations between 3 and 6 p.m. Fifty cents will also be donated to PACER to benefit anti-bullying campaigns.
The weekend weather looks a bit dicey but Valleyfair honors military heroes Saturday through Monday by offering free admission to any member of the armed services, active or veteran. Members of the military can also purchase discounted tickets for members of their immediate family for $28.50 each (regularly $43). A valid military ID must be presented at the window to receive the offer. FYI--the same discount will be honored July 4.
Shoe Zoo in Minneapolis, a kids and women's shoe store begins its summer sale on Thursday, May 24. Save 10 to 80 percent on brands such as Naturino, Umi, Aster, Teva, Primigi, Skechers, Converse, Geox, Keen, Saltwater, New Balance, Lelli Kelly and Havaianas.
Garden sales: At least one garden sale is remaining the same this year. Jan Ehrlich, a sales rep for garden supplies, will hold a sample sale with discounts of 50 to 75 percent. Quantities are limited, but the selection includes cast stone animals and gnomes ($7 to $50, regularly $15 to $100), small to extra-large glazed pots ($4 to $80, regularly $10 to $180), 3- to 6-foot trellises ($6 to $20), cocoa moss hang- ing baskets, urns, topiary towers, arbors and selected herbs and perennials. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Ehrlich's home (330 8th Av. N., Hopkins, 952-934-6179). Cash and checks are accepted, but there will be no early sales.
The Wolf Garten/BlueStone garden tools sample sale in Golden Valley will not be held this year, but next year looks likely, said a sales rep.
Linder's has dropped its half-off-everything sales at the flower marts, but various sales at the marts will begin throughout June.
On Monday, stores such as Value Village, Savers, Salvation Army, Unique and Valu Thrift discount almost everything 50 percent. One exclusive feature at Value Village, with stores in Brooklyn Center, New Hope, Richfield and St. Paul, is its new rewards program ($10 to join but you get it back in an immediate $10 store credit). Get 10 points for each dollar spent, 200 points for each month you donate, and 400 for volunteering at one of the stores. Get $10 off anything except sale items for signing up and $10 more after 2,500 points have accrued.
At Premium Outlets in Albertville check out the holiday weekend deals listed on the website store by store or call your favorite one for details. Here are some highlights valid through Monday: 10 percent off factory-renewed products at Bose, 20 percent off storewide at Le Creuset (starts Friday), 30 percent off everything at Loft Outlet, 40 percent off the entire store at New York & Company, and 50 percent off the entire store at Puma.
You have until Memorial Day to save during Menards 11 percent off everything sale. Get the most bang for your buck by buying sale merchandise you need. If an item isn't on sale this week, consider waiting until Sunday for the new sale flier. Getting the 11 percent off requires you to send in a form and the original receipt for a store credit voucher.
You can still get the discount without the hassle of the mail-in rebate by taking Menards' 11 percent flier from Sunday's paper and asking Home Depot to match it. Sometimes the Depot will just take off the discount immediately, and sometimes it will give you the savings in a gift card. It depends on the cashier. Generally, if you purchase more than $50 worth of merch, you'll get a gift card. Purchase less than $50 and you'll get an immediate discount. It's because Home Depot doesn't allow gift cards under $5. Lowe's will not match Menards' rebate discounts but will match their regular or sale prices.
For a list of Memorial Day discounts,try one of the sites such as Gift Card Granny, which lists more than 140 nationwide. Check the comments for updates.
Anyone who can make a blanket statement that Presidents' Day deals aren't that great just isn't paying attention. Like any holiday, some are better than others. Here's a sampling:
Patio furniture at Home Depot. Save 50 percent on 43 choices, including 8 sets (multiple pieces) and many individual pieces. The best part? Free shipping to your home or store and free returns.
Bedding at Crate & Barrel: Save 20 percent on all bed linens, including Marimekko.
Pet supplies at EntirelyPets.com: On many products, EntirelyPets charges less than national pet store chains. The prices on Feliway diffusers, for example, are much cheaper than at PetSmart or Petco. use discount code CASHMONEY for an extra 15 percent off through Monday.
Clothes Mentor women's consignment stores: An extra 20 percent off everything Monday only.
Opitz Outlet: An extra 10 percent off everything at the women's and men's designer clothing outlet on Monday. Ten percent isn't much but Opitz rarely offers an extra discount.
J Crew.com: An extra 20 percent off online with discount code FABFEB.
Consumer experts have released their best and worst deals for shoppers in February. But rather than accepting their tips at face value, let's take them to task.
TipHero has cameras on the list of best bargains in February. Retailers start to clear out last year's models as new models released at the Consumer Electronics Show last month will start hitting stores in March and April. Dealnews said that the Feb. bargains are hit and miss and may not be as good as the ones in November and December.
It sounds as if the quality of the deal depends on the camera. National Camera Exchange is currently selling the Nikon Coolpix S3100 for $79, which is as low as anything online. Its Black Friday price was $100, said Mike Pazandak, manager at the Golden Valley National Camera Exchange. he said that NCE's February deals are good ones, and they don't get better in March or April when the new models arrive. "Vendors want to have the old models cleared out before the new ones arrive," he said. "Otherwise new models would be competing with lower-priced older models." Pazandak sees savings of $30, $50 or $80 or various models. Bottom line: Shop around. Not every camera will be at a great price, but many will be.
Winter coats: There's no straddling the fence on this one. February is a great time to buy a winter coat. And this year is even better than most year's, because Minnesota's winter has been so mild. That means stores are overstocked and ready to deal. Sure you can buy a coat in January, but now it's time to make way for spring jackets and that means
retailers have to bite the bullet. Bottom line: Go for it.
Chocolate: Wait until the 15th and you can buy enough to supply Willy Wonka, You can choose brand name candy at discounters such as Target and Wal-Mart or drug stores such as CVS or Walgreens. Most will discount it 50 percent on the 15th. Target usually increases the discount to 75 percent a few days after that sometimes clears it out at 90 percent off a week later. Anything with a valentine package gets the discount. If you want higher-end cocoa, try Chocolat Celeste in St. Paul, which occasionally discounts some of its chocolate on the 15th. Bottom line: Hoard away.
Tablets: If the rumors about the release of iPad 3 at the end of February are true, said Dealnews, expect nice discounts on the iPad2 from resellers as well as refurbished iPad 2s from Apple. Bottom line: Wait until the release of iPad 3 for iPad2 deals.
Snowblowers: The winter of 2011-12 has yet to dump a snowfall worthy of a blower. That alone could make snowblowers a bargain this year. But we're also coming off last year's near record snowfall. That would make a dry February an ideal condition for markdowns by the end of the month. Bottom line: Shop now for a model you like, and
then lie in wait for a bargain at the end of the month, assuming we don't have a major snowstorm soon.
TipHero and Dealnews also mention prom dresses, boats, laptops and big screen TVs as potential bargains. Anything you wait to buy on sale or clearance in February that wasn't mentioned?
The last time I bought a Christmas tree, President Clinton was still in office. It's a slim one that has served me well,
but now that I have more room for a larger tree, After Christmas, I'll try to sell it or maybe I'll give it to a family member.
Yesterday, I started scouting out what's new. Target and even Bachman's on Lyndale already have their trees discounted 50 percent. I've also seen several people buying real trees. I've wondered if they're getting a discount with less than a week before Christmas. I found a nice fake one at Bachman's that's out of my price range, so I asked if they would be marked down more on Dec. 26. An employee said they would probably go to 75 percent off. Perfect.
Bachman's prices on trees are a lot higher than Target's, but at Bachman's Lyndale store, I found flocked fakes, 9-ft. trees, a wider variety of needle choices and a large selection of pre-lit trees with energy-saving LED lights on them. Most pre-lit trees are still using the conventional mini-lights.
By Friday or Saturday this week you can probably get your real Christmas tree free. Who waits until the last minute to grab a tree? Do sellers just leave them there with a handmade sign saying "FREE TREES. MERRY CHRISTMAS"? I'd like to hear from last minute buyers of real trees.
If you're considering an artificial tree on Dec. 26, the ones already at half-off will probably be 75 percent off. Target usually discounts its holiday decor 90 percent in early January. Maybe the 90 percent off will come a little earlier this year.
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