Ultimate Guide for Scoring the Best Deal at TJ Maxx, Ross, and Marshall’s

Updated December 29, 2021 by Kyle

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.”


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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DC @ Young Adult Money

Oh man my wife and I actually also end up shopping and looking for deals on our date nights. It seems like we always end up at Target somehow, going through the clearance racks!

While I don’t shop at these stores often, it sounds like you have their system figured out. Marshalls is probably the most likely place I will shop, but if TJ Maxx really does have some of the same clothes that Macy’s carries I might have to give that a try sometime.


Interesting! My wife shops at Macy’s and she finds deals when they have sales and coupons. I’m not sure of her strategy but she seems to get good deals. I always thought the discount retailers sold clothes that were last season that Macy’s or other retailers couldn’t sell. I didn’t know that it was the same merchandise. We have gone to Marshalls/Century 21 and have found good deals there.


u cant shop to know the differ u have to work there to know. but u are right tj maxx do sell 85% But then that tj maxx isnt american. there some store that claim they have right to price that but really have to be american and they pay american stuff to make other belief it other place but really its not. don belief anything what tj maxx said. they fool my disabilty worker money that they send me to training i not only one that tj maxx used people money to kept gonna soon my vr will close and let the future vr know to not trust that how bad they are.

Ina V

I bought a Calvin Klein coat at Marshall’s for $60 (previously $100) the next day I say the same exact coat at Macy’s on “sale” for $198


This has happened to me plenty of times. However it happened in reverse to me one time, I was shopping at Macy’s and they had a really good sale going on and they had a clearance section of Jewelry and then I was able to apply a coupon to the discounted price I ended up getting like 6 bracelets normally priced at around $50 for about $8 and they had 3 of them at TJ Maxx the next day for $30. I felt like I won the lottery, knowing I got them even cheaper than TJ Maxx price!


Seriously, how do you find this stuff out? We love, love, love TJ Maxx and I truly believe you can find anything there if you wait long enough. I love Lucky jeans but will only buy them at TJ Maxx because they are way less than any other store. We also have gotten most of our home decor stuff there. TJ Maxx could be a date in itself!


Tjmaxx is definitely more expensive than Marshall’s and Ross. In my area (Texas) TJMaxx does not carry men’s shoes. I love Ross for their home items because I find their clothes to be of cheap quality. Marshalls is my favorite though, best selection, best prices, best brands.


I went to TJMaxx last week and baught myself 11shirts 1pair of pant and a skirt for 140.00. I wait until I see 3markdown stickers if I really like the item I will buy it with 2markdown stickers. I live the quality of the clothes, the brands, and the cleanliness of the store. This is the perfect time to stock up on summer clothes. I live in Texas so nine months out of the year it’s hot (perfect). In Ross I also shop the clearance but the key here is to shop with an open mind and go through most of their racks people stick great items in between other clothes. Marshalls is the one store that I don’t shop so much in just because of where it’s located, but I find great clearance items.

KK @ Student Debt Survivor

I love TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I do most of my shopping there and at the outlet malls. I like that I can get good quality designer clothes for a fraction of the “mall prices”. Ps. your title totally cracked me up. I’m sure bf feels the same way.

Antionette Blake

Between those three, Ross is my favorite and I think most of their stores are beat up from the floor up, but the bargains are worth it!



This almost sounds like a commercial for TJ Maxx. Just curious, what specific items have you found at TJ Maxx that are also at the department store?

It is a total myth that TJ Maxx stocks the same merchandise as department stores. In fact, it is very rare to find department store merchandise in TJ Maxx. The few exceptions that I have seen in the last two years have been two Nautica shirts, Lauren Green Label jackets, and a few Ralph Lauren shirts.

TJ Maxx has such buying power these days that designers license their products. For example, the $17.99 Nautica shirts at TJ Maxx are never found at department stores. The labeling, sticking, tagging, and country of origin is different than the department store shirts. Same deal with Nauitca sweaters. Same deal with Ralph Lauren shirts. Since I work near a Macy’s and TJ Maxx and Marshall’s I have been in each on the same day. Almost forgot to mention my twp Totes umbrellas; the one from Macy’s is metal while the TJ Maxx one is plastic.

Now, I buy a lot of stuff from TJ Maxx and really enjoy the place. It just gets a bit silly when everyone keeps denying licensing, which is where the vast majority of TJ Maxx good come from.

I think the best deals from TJ Maxx are socks, underwear, t-shirts, dress shirts. With sales you can do better at Macy’s for pants and men’s shoes. You can also do better at Macy’s when they have clearance when dress shirts are routinely priced at $20-25, a few bucks more than the Nautica at TJ Maxx but better quality.


I’ve worked in retail (high level management and also as a buyer) for many years. The 2 labels you posted (and many others), have different labels because they make clothing for their retail stores and then they make clothes for their outlets and they have the biggest difference in what their tags, fabric, etc look like. For example, POLO, anything that has the larger horse emblem was made for the outlet store and will never be sold at a big box like Macy’s. Ann Taylor and Loft do the same. If it is from the outlet, their label tag on the inside of the clothes will have 2 dots underneath their name. Usually the clothes are made for outlets based on what has sold well in prior years and they can cut the cost because they use blended fabrics ( instead of 100% cashmere, it might be a 70/30 blend). Lucky brand is another. The writing by the zipper says “lucky you” from the retail stores and “lucky me” from the outlet. If you Google the difference between retail and outlet stores, you can find a list of all the stores and how to tell the difference. Hope this helps


I like Lucky Brand clothing. I used to buy it from Macy’s. TJ Maxx carries and sells it at a much lower price. Have you ever ordered from them online?


I hate to let others in on my Marshall’s secret, but for men, start with the clearance racks. I have found the best high end designer items, sitting in clearance, while the rest of the store has nothing worthwhile. Some brands I have snagged or seen in the last few months are: Rag and Bone denim, Dolce and Gabanna, Prada, Gucci, 7 For All Mankind, Vince, Versace, Diesel and Bally.

For the stores near me late November into early December is when the best high end stuff appears in the men’s department. Then usually around either Memorial Day or 4th of July.

Happy hunting!


Actually, Marshalls and TJ Maxx (and HomeGoods) are owned by the same parent company and often have the same merchandise for the same price. The only difference is that Marshalls has a larger shoe department whereas TJ Maxx has a jewelry counter..

Also, “red stickers’ are the clearance price, but do tend to drop if they don’t sell. I recently bought a Nike top that marked down 4 times– the “regular” TJ Maxx price was $19.99 and I ended up getting it for $5. They also have yellow stickers at both stores that are final clearance (but again, I have seen them drop those prices as well to move the merchandise.)


I realize this is from a while ago, but TJ maxx now has a website and they are priced the same as TJ maxx store. Totally worth checking out.


As someone who knows the fashion industry very well I’d like to shed light for those who don’t really understand TJMaxx 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 (I’m looking at you Mike). The reason your Tote umbrella was plastic at TJMaxx and metal at Macy’s is because it was a different sku. With that said I have even found merchandise 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.


I have to wonder if snatching up a red label on an item at Marshalls is the best advice. The reason I ask is because I thought they mark things down a bit more, if the item has been sitting there a while. For instance, there is a wallet clutch I have been eyeing, which was marked down (first time) to $39. Too high for me, for an item so small, so I was hoping it would get marked down again. The item has been sitting there over a month now and no one has taken it.

tj maxx worker

yeah i work at a tj maxx. i try not to get things after the first mark down. i wait a while… especially if its something i dont need but just want. i hate to see things go on sale after i buy it! i recently jumped on hair products that were marked down thrice with a red tag!


This is true the blog is wrong, the lowest ticketed price at Marshall’s is yellow, not red. If it’s red it’s clearance, but yellow means final clearance and price won’t drop (although I have seen on a few occasions even yellow tag dropped but I wouldn’t count on it)


wow i thought i alone of feeling that too.


@Luke, I never denied that there are SOME department store goods in TJ Maxx. This is true. However, I would say that vast majority, around 95% or more are licensed goods that were NEVER meant for department stores. What percent do you think is accurate? It is amazing you do not mention licensing when talking about TJ Maxx as this is basic knowledge these days.


Im a loyal Ross customer and I really love the big discounts I’m getting everything I shop. But today I got a very disappointed time g shopping experience. I bought a luggage with a tag of $59.99. When we got back to the car I opened it to put in some small stuff inside. To my surprise there is another tag inside at $39.99. So I immediately went back to Ross and showed them the two tags. The lady at the Return counter confirmed that the real price is 39.99. I was so disappointed that I felt almost ripped off have I not seen the inside tag. Do they do it to other items? Hope Ross management would check on this.


Red tag clearance occurs more than twice a year, July and January are NOT the only months TJ Maxx and Marshalls do clearance markdowns in fact, they get multiple markdowns when the item fails to sell. @Maria, I can’t imagine you weren’t refunded the cost difference from the lower price the suitcase actually cost and if so, problem solved. I doubt it was done intentionally nor is it common practice to have multiple prices a the store 99.9% of the time will honor the lowest price marked. However there are times when the same item will have a different price based on how long it’s been in the store.e.g. a jacket in store a month ago may be on sale while the very same jacket that was just stocked today will be at the regular discounted price. The store tag indicates when the item arrived in the store, you just have to know how to read the number code on the price tag.

Charles Tousignant


Your article was helpful, but I wanted to clear a couple of points in it (Specifically Marshalls and TJMAXX). As one person mentioned above, red tags are not the final markdown. Yellow tags are considered to be the final clearance. Also I would not buy everything with a red tag, I had a conversation with a regional coordinated and DM at two different Marshalls/TJMAXX, about pricing and clearance. In these stores you can find the same item at multiple different price points. For example, I bought duplo legos the other day, I found them at 10.99 retail, 8.00 red tag, 5.00 red tag, and 3.00 final clearance all in the same store. Items are discounted by order batch, which is identified by the 9 digit number above the price barcode (the middle set of numbers). This means if an item in an older batch did not sell because everyone bought the newer batch then the older batch will get clearance even though the same product is selling at a higher price. Using this information I can check batch numbers and if there is multiple batch numbers at a certain clearance level I know if I wait a little bit one of the batch number is going to get clearance. Usually one week after the highest priced batch number was marked down. I am rushing to type this because I am at work, if anyone wants me to do a longer and more formal write up on this let me know.

PS. I started a successful retail arbitrage business with my wife, so it is key for us to know and understand this patterns. I don’t know how or where to share the knowledge I have, but I would love to do so because all my knowledge was shared with me so I would like to continue to pass it on. So if anyone has any ideas let me know.


Charles, I just found out a little bit about this today when I asked why two of the exact same pants were different prices and she said because the number was an older number. I understood what she was saying but yours is much more detailed and I would be very interested to learn more. Feel free to email me back.

Barby Woodfield

Charles, I would also live to hear all you’ve learnt as I’m trying to start an at home online business…how can I glean your wisdom and knowledge?