Frugal Hack #23: Order Online, Return Item to Store, Save Serious Money

Updated August 3, 2020 by Kyle

So this Frugal Hack comes from a new reader here at (who also happens to be a distant relative), which is WAY cool. Long story short, she scored a pair of $85 Silver brand jeans at Macy’s for $4.99!

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So how the heck did she do it?

She was shopping at her local Macy’s and well, why don’t I just let her explain it in her own words…

“Wanted to let you know of a great deal I scored at Macy’s this week. I got a pair of Silver brand jeans, regular retail price of $85, for $4.99! They were special priced as they were the last pair in the store (on a mannequin), and not my size.  I had a very helpful sales clerk inform me that I could order them online in my size for around $76, then come into the store and get them returned (and exchanged) for the in-store special price. They were $16.99 in-store, by the time I got them ordered and back in to return, the in-store price went down to $4.99! They even credited my shopping costs! Crazy!! Best deal I’ve ever gotten!”

Awesome. So let’s break this down a bit so you can give it a try. Here are some details to look for:

Look for Clearance Items

  • By only looking at the clearance rack you’re much more likely to find items that will fit the “buy online and return to store” criteria.
  • Look for items that are darn near out of stock which they don’t have in your size. This should not be that difficult.
  • The only way this works is if the stores website is selling the item for more than the in-store price. This actually happens all the time as brick & mortar stores are constantly slashing prices in an effort to clear out inventory to make room for new styles.

How To Return and Re-Buy

  • Once you find an item you want that is a screaming deal, just order from the website, return in-store, and re-buy at the lower in-store price.
  • If the store you are shopping at has a smartphone app, and most big department stores do, make sure you download it and have it available when shopping in-store. You’ll be able to quickly see what the stores website is selling the item for and find some great deal opportunities.
  • Here is a list of popular store apps to help facilitate this frugal hack:

Being Friendly Goes a LONG Way

  • Because this hack requires you knowing if the store will let you return items in-store that were bought from their website, start up a friendly conversation with an employee and ask if this is an option. By being upfront with what you’re trying to accomplish it will take the stigma out of it. After-all, it is nothing more than smart shopping.

In Conclusion…

While this hack is not something you can take advantage of during every shopping trip, it certainly is something to be aware of, especially during the upcoming holiday shopping season when in-store and online pricing can very wildly.

Ask the Reader: Have you ever tried buying online and returning the item to the store in order to score a deal? Let me know how it worked out.

By Kyle James


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I don’t see how this works. If you buy something online in your size, why would you return it to the store when they don’t have one in your size? What would you return it for?




You have to buy a pair for $80 online. Return them at the store to get your $80 back, then buy the SAME PAIR, because when the cashier scans it, they will ring up 4.99
Not that hard to understand.