Frugal Hack #13: How To Score the Best Deal at TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshall’s

Updated August 21, 2020 by Kyle
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I’ll start this Frugal Hack with a sad, but true, confession. Whenever my wife and I have a rare date night we always end up at our local TJ Maxx or Ross rummaging through aisle after aisle of designer brands at bargain prices. Now before you blast me in the comments for being the most unromantic man on the face of the earth, I have to say that it is usually her idea and it is always after I take her to an incredibly romantic restaurant where she is wined and dined.

How To Score the Best Deal at TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshall’s

If you have ever shopped at a discount store like Ross, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls you know that it is virtually impossible to do with small kids and quickly becomes an exercise in futility and looks something like herding cats.

Like a fine wine, you need time to take in the aroma of the clothing deals and browse through the merchandise without interruption. No one knows this better than my wife which is why we typically end up here at the end of a date night.

Well, hopefully with a little luck, it won’t be the absolute end of the date night…thankfully a great deal really turns my wife on.

Anyways, I digress, here are the my insider tips to score you a great deal at TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshall’s.

Also, be sure to check out our article detailing all the top name brands you can find at Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls.

TJ Maxx

When it comes to finding the best deal at TJ Maxx there are some important nuisances to consider:

~ Shop on Wednesdays – Historically, TJ Maxx marks down merchandise on Wednesdays. While this can vary some from store to store, your best bet for finding new mark downs is on Wednesday mornings right when the store opens.

Also, most TJ Maxx locations get new arrivals 3-5 days a week so the selection is constantly changing.

~ The Scoop on “Irregular” Items – Over 95% of the items at TJ Maxx are first quality while the other 5% are “Irregular”.

This doesn’t mean they have a hole or a big stain on them, but rather an error in the manufacturing process.

Things like the wrong color dye or wrong material. In other words, they are irregularities that the average customer is not even going to notice.

~ TJ Maxx Vs. Macy’s – Don’t be shocked to see the same merchandise in TJ Maxx as your local Macy’s or Nordstrom on the same exact day. The price will be much less at TJ Maxx of course.

The reason? Let’s say that a clothing manufacturer has enough denim to make 65,000 pairs of jeans but Macy’s only buys 50,000, then off-price retailers like TJ Maxx will come in and buy the extra 15,000 pairs for a steep discount and pass the savings along to you.

~ Sales at TJ Maxx?– The only time when you will find any sales at TJ Maxx is at the end of the current season when they try and clear out old merchandise.

This makes it a great time to stock up for the following year. Snatch clearance deals quickly as they won’t last forever as TJ Maxx will eventually donate unsold clearance items to local charities.

~ Designer Names at TJ Maxx?– Don’t be fooled by TJ Maxx commercials which are not allowed to display name brands in their ads. They have them in droves. On a recent shopping trip I found big deals on Nike, American Eagle Outfitters, Levi’s, and Puma. And that was only in the men’s section.

~ Holiday Shopping Strategy – Unlike many big department stores, TJ Maxx receives new items for Christmas shopping right up until Christmas eve.

Why? Their buyers are buying merchandise all year long and not on a seasonal basis.

Which means they are buying for Christmas right into early December making them a great place to shop if you procrastinate this year on your Christmas gift list.

Ross – (Dress for Less)

People either love or hate Ross. There is not a lot of middle ground when it comes to the discount store.

The stores often look like a small tornado has gone through and many of the floors appear to have not been mopped since the Clinton administration.

But people go for the amazingly low prices, not the ambiance. Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your next shopping trip.

~ Shop With an Open-Mind – The secret to shopping at Ross is walking into the store with an open-mind.

You have to be aware that you’re probably going to have to dig for a deal and maybe even step over a child throwing a temper-tantrum to receive aforementioned deal.

Give yourself plenty of time to look through the racks of often unorganized clothing, shoes, purses, luggage, and home goods.

~ Snatch Up Deals ASAP – Ross replenishes their inventory at least 3 times per week.

Their buyers do NOT buy a ton of any certain item as they try to keep inventory costs as low as possible. What this means to the shopper is that deals are here today, long gone tomorrow. I can attest to this personally.

A few years ago I found this really cool Calvin Klein shirt at my local Ross store, bought it, wore it a few times, and it quickly became a gamer. I went back to buy a couple more and they were gone and I have yet to see them again.

The funny part is I look for it every time I go in even though CK probably stopped making it a couple years ago. Lesson learned.

~ Shopping Secrets – The other day I stumbled upon this really cool forum on The Nest.com and found a couple little known gems from loyal Ross shoppers:

Business travel secret from member Tiki_life, “Knit polyester tops from Ross (which they seem to have WAY more of than any normal store) are comfortable for the plane, NEVER wrinkle, and don’t show sweat.”

Hidden bargain secret from member Love_to_Shop, “Don’t forget to spend some time in the wrong size. Many shoppers will shove clothing back on the rack in the incorrect spot, so spend some time perusing your incorrect size for a hidden gem.

The employees can’t keep up with the chaos of the store so use this to your advantage.”

Marshalls

Unfortunately, we don’t have a Marshalls in the town I live in but we have been known to hit one on occasion when driving to the San Francisco bay area. Here are some shopping secrets:

~ Look For Red Tag Items – When you see an item at Marshalls with a red price tag you should snatch it up like a fat man eyeing the last Krispy Kreme. It means that the item is on clearance and the price will NOT get any lower.

~ Shop in January & July – A couple years ago, Marshalls style expert, Sonya Cosentini, let the cat out of the bag about red tag items. She said that items are only marked down to clearance prices in the months of January and July.

This obviously makes sense as it’s the end of the cold and warm seasons so they have a lot of clothing to clear out to make room for new styles. So be sure to shop those two months to maximize your savings.

~ What About Purple Tags? – For those that are highly fashion-conscious, you’re going to want to look for items with a purple sales tag at Marshalls. They signify clothing items that were seen on the runway during Fashion Week.

Apparently these items move pretty quickly so you’ll have to be persistent to find them. Items including not only clothing but also shoes, handbags, and other accessories.

~ Get To Know an Employee – This one is based solely on my own experience. I think Marshalls has some of the the friendliest and most helpful employees of any large chain store I have been in.

Whenever I ask one of them a question they actually take the time to stop and help me. Novel concept, huh?

They always point me to the best deals and drop the dirt about new shipments and when they will be hitting the sales floor. Has anyone had a similar experience or am I just getting really lucky?

Ask the Reader: Are you a fan of any of these discount stores? What tips do you use to score the best deals?

By Kyle James

Photo credit to Mike Mozart (1, 2) and Daniel Oines.

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Chris

Charles, thanks for sharing your information. I occasionally buy and resale purchases when I get a excellent deal that leaves room for a reasonable profit and still be at good price to buyer. I would love to hear more about what and how you do it.

Jennifer

I love Ross. I go there to score only shoes as clothes never fit me right. It’s either get it now or never see it again.

Anonymous

Hi! I recently had worked at tj Maxx and markdowns are not on Wednesdays. We do markdowns in 2 cycles (cycle 1, & cycle 2). Cycle 1 is men’s, women’s apparel, juniors apparel, lingerie, and kids (toys and apparel). Cycle 2 is home, bath, handbags, jewelry, beauty, active accessories, shoes, and luggage. Mostly the weeks will vary. We will markdown one cycle Monday-Thursday and then the next week, do subs (marking down already clearances items for a bigger discount the next Friday). Let’s say this week we marked down cycle 1, then next Friday, we do subs cycle 2. Then the week after, we markdown cycle 2, and the week after, is subs cycle 1. And sometimes we have final sales weeks where we put yellow stickers on items. It will be the lowest they go and if not sold, they are donated. You can always just ask a markdown employee nicely. the regular employees will not know the markdown calendar. All we ask is that you don’t rummage through our bin or racks. We separate them by no tickets/ damaged tickets/ and matches, wrong priced items, and clearance. Those items will be put on shelves within 30 minutes for your viewing pleasure. Hope this helps!

Maru

Hi,
I know there are discounts during the week, as for older people on mondays. But, I´d like to know what´s the day that TJMaxx offer discounts for MDC students, here in Miami. If someone know that schedule, that would be awesome. Thank you.
Target also has specials every day for home, cosmetics, etc. (it depends on the week day).

María Rivera

I love all your stories I got a lot of sales and quality.

croga

Okay I Used to work at tj maxx and now i am working at ross what got me notice was the price, tj maxx price big and they are not that good clohting and others they ripoff and they used this deaf young lady work only in summer she is in high school and they have her for almost 2 year now and she still have not learn how it work it toke me 6 month to learn from it and tj maxx worker is worst they blame and blame other BUT ROSS I Have no problem with ross they are good trust people that worked there yeah they are fast too and friendly i don mean all tj maxx i just saying my experience.

Unknown

This guy is great😂

Britney

Also don’t forget to peruse the dresses section (our Ross has a HUGE 6 isle dress section!) I ALWAYS find shirts there that people throw back on the rack in a hurry.

Our Ross does not use red clearance tags; they just say clearance.

I didn’t know about the Jan/July sales. It makes sense. I just bought about 2/3 of xmas gifts for this year basically the whole month of August! Got really good deals on philosophy, too faced, got a Kate spade bangle for $10 (priced on eBay same exact one for $48) also got a Hot Toolz brand rainbow curling wand for $18 (I couldn’t bring myself to spend $65 on it at Ulta) I could go on. Lol 😊

Thank you for these helpful tips!!

Regan Kimball

Yes, I have had a similiar experience. My profession is behavioral therapy. I found myself caught California’s “hustle bustle”. I thought ” very friendly staff”. I found myself filling in an application

Gustavo M

You’re wrong about clearance pricing at TJMaxx and Marshalls. A yellow tag is final clearance, but the clearance (red tag) price can be reduced multiple times until it reaches yellow. Most items don’t last until that point so if they have your size by all means get it then, but for example, phone cases and accessories can drop in price multiple times while on clearance.

Yvette garcia

Btw….red tags do go lower…..yellow tag is final clearance that will mark down .50cents a day until gone…ex Marshall’s employee

S.Miller

I live right across the street from a Marshall’s.
I’m so glad to know about Wednesday being the mark down day. I really love the store and go in quite frequently. I do have to agree, the Marshalls employees are great! Thanks

Oyiikay

I am a regular shopper at TJ MAXX , homegoods and Marshalls. I have scored deals that blows my mind. Best tip is shop clearance section first to grab the best deal of the day. Then move to the regular prices items. Advantage is that you get the first pick. Second tip is plan to spend time browsing the racks if you really want to score a great price. Beauty products are always at the best price you can get in town. I have compared prices of toiletries and makeup with what is sold in Ulta, Sephora and Macys. You can trust me on this. You get the best deal. Happy shopping!!!

Arlene

Love your information – really helpful. But maybe find another analogy than the ‘Monica Lewinsky’ reference. Think about it. (Not trying to annoy you, just a suggestion.) Thanks, again.

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