9 Killer Ways to Shop Smart and Save Money at TJ Maxx

April 5, 2016 by Kyle
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(Updated 3/10/18) TJ Maxx is a favorite shopping spot for many discount shoppers. Not only do they have dozens of name-brand apparel brands at discounted prices, but they also have deals on home decor items as well as name-brand kitchen stuff. The best part? Most items are marked down 25% to 50% off the original retail price. But…there are some other ways to save big money at TJ Maxx that only employees and consumer insiders are privy to and here they are…

9 Killer Ways to Shop Smart and Save Money at TJ Maxx

1. TJ Maxx Price Tag Secrets

If you see an item with a red price tag sticker (see image above), it means the item has been marked down at least once, sometimes 2 or 3 times. If you see an item with a yellow price tag sticker, it means the item has been reduced to FINAL markdown and is the lowest the price will go.

Often times you’ll find an item in both the clearance section with a red or yellow tag, and in the regular-priced section with no clearance price tag.

This happens when an employee fails to mark items down correctly. Because this happens often, it’s worth the effort to browse through the clearance section just in case any full-priced items that you’re interested in buying might be there. No sense paying regular price when you can pay the clearance price.

2. Fashionista? Look For Purple Price Tags

If fashion is your thing, and you’re always on the lookout for apparel straight from the runway, keep an eye out for purple price tags at TJ Maxx.

These are the clothes that were featured on the runway during Fashion Week. While the prices might not beat a red or yellow tag, they’re still a lot cheaper than shopping at major department stores like Nordstrom, Saks, or Bloomingdales.

3. Shop TJ Maxx on a Tuesday or Wednesday

As mentioned previously, it’s smart to shop at TJ Maxx on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

I was told be an employee that they tend to do their price markdowns throughout the work week, but most happen on Tuesday and Wednesday making those great days to shop and get “first dibs” on new clearance items and new price markdowns.

Also, always shop early in the morning to take advantage of these new deals.

See Also: TJ Maxx Return Policy: Tips to Make It Work For You

4. Learn to Haggle at TJ Maxx

When shopping for home decor, furniture, luggage, and even mirrors and prints it’s worth knowing that you can haggle an even lower price.

Simply look for any imperfections like dents, scratches, or even damaged packaging, and politely ask an employee for a discount. A TJ Maxx employee told me recently the most they are allowed to reduce the price is by 10%, so start at 15% and settle on 10% off.

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the result as stores want to clear imperfect stuff out as they know they’ll have a hard time selling it at regular price.

The idea of negotiating a lower price at major retailers is something that has become more common practice so if you’re worried about looking like a cheapskate, get over it, you won’t.

5. “Compare At” Prices Aren’t Always Accurate

When looking at TJ Maxx price tags, be aware that the “Compare At” price might not always be correct. Often times it is a bit inflated to make the TJ Maxx price look more attractive.

This best way to see if you’re being messed with is to use the ShopSaavy app and do a quick price check by scanning the items original bar code.

6. They Don’t Have Coupons…So Buy a Discounted Gift Card

Because of the lack of coupons at TJ Maxx, a terrific out-of-the-box way to save money is to buy discounted gift cards for the retailer.

They are “discounted” because they’re bought for less than face value from folks that got them as a gift and don’t want them, then sold back to you for a small profit, but still less than face value.

Here are a few online resources worth checking out.

  • Raise.com – They currently have $100 TJ Maxx gift cards for only $77.85. Pretty nice savings.
  • GiftCardGranny.com – They have a slew of TJ Maxx gift cards with an average savings right around 22% off the face value.
  • CardPool.com – They are a distant thrid in terms of savings but still worth mentioning.

These discounted gift cards are especially great if you know you’ll be doing all of your Christmas shopping at TJ Maxx or making a large purchase in the near future.

7. Think Outside the Big Box Store

TJ Maxx has some great deals on products that you don’t normally associate with them. Here are a few to keep an eye out for.

  • Pet Beds: We recently bought one and the price was 40% less than Petsmart and 20% less than our local Costco.
  • Specialty Foods/Snacks: Look for deals from Jelly Belly, Williams Sonoma, and bargains on teas, pasta sauces, jams, and more.
  • Luggage: Not sure why you’d buy luggage from anywhere else as the prices are so good. Look for brands like Brics, Gabbiano, Nine West, and Mia Toto Italy. Maybe only Ross has better luggage deals.
  • Candles: Score big deals on brands like Yankee Candle, Luminara, and Chesapeake Bay.

Bottom line: Don’t only think clothing and handbags deals when you think TJ Maxx.

8. Shop in January and July and Save

If you can afford to wait until January or July to do the majority of your shopping, you’ll easily maximize your savings.

This is because those two months are when they switch out seasons at TJ Maxx and move a lot of inventory to the clearance rack which of course passes the savings along to you in droves. Makes for a great time to stock up for the following year.

9. Yes…You Can Find Current Season Items at TJ Maxx

Thanks to reader Luke for this tip. Here is what he told me, “As someone who knows the fashion industry very well I’d like to shed light for those who don’t really understand TJ Maxx or haven’t spent enough time in stores to know the difference.

TJ Maxx purchases overstock, cancelled orders, and past season deadstock, as well as merchandise not made for the American market but perhaps the European market.

This means that it is very possible to find current season merchandise that is also carried at your local department store. In regards to past season merchandise I have seen items at times still with their department store tag or items that are EXCLUSIVE to a department store like Macy’s or Saks Fifth Avenue.

With that said, I have even found merchandise (at TJ Maxx) from online boutiques like SSENSE. My local TJ Maxx carries runway so I will see year round designers like Dolce and Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Prada, and Saint Laurent.”

Ask the Reader: How do you save money at TJ Maxx? Any insider tips to add to the conversation? Leave a comment below, thanks.


By Kyle James

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Anon
Anon

Former TJ Maxx employee here. The red markdown tags are actually the standard ones used, and items can be marked down more than once using red tags just depending on how many “cycles” they stay in the store for. Yellow tags are used for special clearance events, like changing out seasons. These are usually the best deals as the store is trying to get this merchandise out asap to make space for the new season’s stock, but these are only used a few times a year.

On “haggling”: TJ Maxx is not a flee market. While employees understand people don’t want to pay full price for damaged merchandise, corporate sets strict guidelines for how much can be taken off an item that is damaged. They often only allow 99 cents to be taken off of slightly damaged items (scratched furniture, something with a torn seam, easy fixes) to get it into the marked down inventory where it will be discounted further eventually. Employees will secretly hate you if you try to bargain like you’re at a garage sale, as we will offer you what we are allotted by corporate and can’t do anymore.

Lastly many gift cards sold discounted on the internet are the result of people returning stolen merchandise for store credit. they then sell them online for 100% profit for themselves, as no one expended any money to obtain them. Just an interesting tidbit.

Other info here is totally accurate and helpful. I will say as a golden rule being kind and appreciative to employees will help you out the most. I was way more likely to ask my manager to discount something damaged or return something old/with no receipt if the customer was being nice to me. And please keep in mind at all retail stores you’re dealing with people who are paid minimum wage who have absolutely no control over the store’s policies. They likely feel the same way you do, so be kind 🙂

Lab
Lab

Current employee and I’m so glad someone said these things cause I was bout to haha I entertain myself reading what websites say the “secrets” are to TJ when half of them are so wrong lol

 
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