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50 Insider Secrets to Help You Save at All Your Favorite Stores

A $5 or $10 savings here and there can add up. Here's how to get them everywhere from Costco and Target to Macy’s and Nordstrom Rack.

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Milan, Italy - August 10, 2017: Macy's website homepage. It is a department store owned by Macy's, Inc. Macy's logo visible.
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Macy’s: Try this free-shipping hack

No one wants to pay for shipping. But for Macys.com orders that total less than $99, you’ll have to fork over a whopping $10.95 for it—unless you’re buying beauty products, which ship for free. The hack: Add a cheap beauty product (one you’ll actually use that costs less than $10.95) to your shopping bag and enjoy that sweet free shipping on everything else.

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A shopper carries a bag as she walks in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Hialeah, Fla. Macy's Inc. reports earnings, Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017

Macy’s: Know when to go

Looking for the perfect date for your seasonal shopping spree? Remember that Macy’s Semi-Annual sales (aka, 20-75 percent off anything you could possibly need) occur in July and January. Their Friends and Family sales happen in April or May and December. The store’s One Day sales typically take place on the third Saturday of the month, writes thekrazycouponlady.com.

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Tashalee Rodriguez, of Boston, uses her smartphone while shopping at Macy's in downtown Boston. Facebook isn't just for goofy pictures and silly chatter. Whether shoppers know it or not, their actions online help dictate what's in stores during this holiday season
Michael Dwyer/Shutterstock

Macy’s: Get 25 percent off

Download the Macy’s app and get 25 percent off your first app order. Or create a free Macy’s profile and get a 25 percent off coupon emailed to you.

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Businesswoman Scanning Barcode Through Smart Phone
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Macy’s: Compare prices

Scan in-store barcodes on the Macy’s app to make sure the in-store price is cheaper than the online price. If it’s not, show the cashier. You’ll be able to get the discounted online price at the register. The app also allows you to read reviews and receive weekly catalogs and exclusive deals, to make sure you’re never leaving money on the table.

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Shoppers browse through clearance handbags at Macy's flagship 34th Street store on the day after Christmas in New York, . Some retail stores, including Macy's offered even deeper discounts to shoppers who showed up between the hours of 8 a.m. and 12 noon on Monday
Kathy Willens/Shutterstock

Macy’s: Buy yellow

A yellow clearance tag means an item is on its final markdown. That means it’ll never get any cheaper than the price you see on that yellow tag. A blue clearance tag means the item will be discounted one more time (to a yellow tag). After your shopping trip, try these 12 ways to save at restaurants.

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Minsk, Belarus - April 14, 2017: The boy is holding a Ikea family card in his hand. Ikea store in the background. Housing.

IKEA: Get special discounts

Join IKEA’s free family rewards program to get special members-only prices in a different department (say, artwork or office accessories) each month. You’ll also get special deals at the food court (two free kids’ meals with one adult entrée, anyone?) and get updates on promotions and sales.

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The woman shopping with Big yellow shopping bags in IKEA Store. IKEA is the world's largest furniture retailer, founded in Sweden in 1943

IKEA: Hit the “as-is” section

The “as-is” section is IKEA’s answer to a clearance department. There, you’ll find returned, damaged, and previously displayed items at steep discounts. Go on Monday mornings to get the first shot at items customers returned over the weekend.

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Costco Wholesale recently reported that their earnings per share growth will be 12.90% over the next five years.
Michael Gordon/Shutterstock

Costco: Start in the back

The farther you walk into the store, the better deals you’re going to find. Start your shopping trip in the back, suggests Lifehacker. And avoid the front of the store at all costs. It’s been dubbed “action alley” because it gets the most foot traffic—and because of that, it’s got some of the least budget-friendly deals. These Costco shopping secrets will save you major money.

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Costco A Costco butcher spreads out roasted chicken at Costco in Mountain View, Calif., . Monthly sales reports issued Thursday were better than expected, but still pointed to a consumer contending with rising gas prices, sagging home values and worries about jobs. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. were among the top performers last month, while most mall-based apparel stores struggled
Paul Sakuma/Shutterstock

Costco: Buy that chicken

Costco’s famous $4.99 rotisserie chickens sound too good to be true. But it turns out they’re totally worth it. Costco’s chickens can weigh twice as much as its competitors, for a fraction of the price. Plus, they’re perfectly seasoned and have no preservatives, MSG, or artificial colors and flavors. Learn more secrets about Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chicken.

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Costco wholesale warehouse shopping aisle for coupons and discounted gift cards, a members only club.

Costco: Get free money for other stores

A $50 gift card costs $50, right? Not at Costco. The store sells gift cards to restaurants, movie theaters, and other retailers for less than their face value. For example, get two $50 gift cards for just $79.99. That’s $20 savings on money you were going to spend anyway.

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In a photo made, Consumers apply for Costco membership at the Costco Wholesale store in Glendale, Calif. Costco's fiscal third-quarter net income climbed 19 percent on lower asset charges and the wholesale club pulled in more money from membership fees
Damian Dovarganes/Shutterstock

Costco: Book your next vacation

Costco has partnerships with all types of hotel and resort companies, which means your membership could help you get group discounts you wouldn’t be able to get otherwise. Whether you prefer to set sail on a cruise or head out to a theme park for the day, the chain has probably got you covered. Head to their website for details on packages.

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Drug zone of Costco store at East 117th Street, Manhattan on Nov 3, 2015 in New York, USA.

Costco: Don’t fall for this trick

Costco stores constantly move their stock around, which means you likely won’t find your favorite goodies in the same place twice. That’s because management knows that the more time you spend searching for your go-to products, the more likely you’ll be to notice—and hopefully purchase—other items. The best way to avoid this trap is to go in with a list and stick to it. Here are 15 more savings secrets Costco employees won’t tell you.

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HDR image, CVS pharmacy drug store entrance, shopping mall - Woburn, Massachusetts USA - February 14, 2018

CVS: Get an ExtraCare card

And once you do, add your email address to your account. You’ll get notifications about sales and coupons (things like 20 percent off your entire order, or $3 off a $15 purchase). Take note of which sales are going on each week and plan your shopping trips around them. These are the 49 secrets your pharmacist won’t tell you.

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Bethesda, MD - March 4, 2018: A shelf full of Lysol cleaning solution at a CVS.
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CVS: Shop the sale

You’ve officially gotten our permission to shop the sales at CVS. It’s one of the major ways to save at this place: shop when the things you’ll need eventually are discounted, not when you’ve run out and need to buy them, no matter the cost. And with those ExtraCare savings, your returns will be even greater, and your discounts will become even more tailored to your needs. A dollar or two here and there can add up fast. Save even more on beauty supplies with these 10 savings secrets for Bed, Bath & Beyond.

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Shopping; Cash A customer hands cash to a Target employee at a register at a Target store in Colma, Calif., . A woman walks through the toy department at a Target store in Colma, Calif., Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. Black Friday, the day when retailers traditionally turn a profit for the year, got a jump start this year as many stores opened just as families were finishing up Thanksgiving dinner. Stores are experimenting with ways to compete with online rivals like Amazon.com that can offer holiday shopping deals at any time and on any day. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
Jeff Chiu/Shutterstock

Target: Go on markdown day

If you’re looking for a certain item, plan your shopping trip for the day of the week that item’s department is marked down. Stores stick to a regular schedule, slashing prices from certain departments on specific days, former guest services and planogram team leader at Target Chris O’Neil, told RD.com. For example, Monday will be children’s and baby clothes and Wednesday will be shoes, etc. Ask an employee at your local Target what their schedule is. If they won’t tell you, O’Neil recommends showing up early and noting where employees are adding little red markdown stickers. Try these 10 savings secrets that work at Target.

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Customers Shop For Bargains at a Target Store in Glenview Illinois Usa 23 December 2011 After Us Commerce Department Data Reported That Personal Wages and Salaries Dropped 0 1 Percent From October Figures and Personal Spending Climbed 0 1 Percent Less Than the Expected 0 2 Percent to 0 6 Percent Range Target is Attempting to Counter the Slow Economic Growth by Offering Holiday Promotions and Incentives to Draw Customers Into Their Stores United States Glenview
Tannen Maury/Shutterstock

Target: Know your discount codes

It’s always nice to know how much of a discount you’re getting—and at Target, it’s easy! At the top right corner of each price tag, you’ll see a small number that reveals the percent off. “Most of the time, items will be 30, 50, 70, which means it’s 30, 50, or 70 percent clearance,” former Target executive team leader Lynda Peralta told RD.com. “You rarely see something go for 90.” So if you see a 70, you know you’re getting a good deal. Here’s more information on Target’s discount codes.

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Bottles of Procter & Gamble's Tide detergent are on display at a Target store in Richmond, Va. Procter & Gamble Co. reports quarterly financial results on
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Target: Shop the end caps

Target stores put most of their discounted items on the shelves at the end of their aisles. Check there first for the things you need before strolling down the aisle.

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Bargain Hunters Wait For the 6 P M Opening of a Target Store to Take Advantage of So-called 'Black Friday' Sales on Thanksgiving Day in Fairfax Virginia Usa 27 November 2014 Though Black Friday Has Traditionally Been the Day After Thanksgiving a New Trend That Industry Watchers Label 'Black Friday Creep' Has Pushed the Opening of the Christmas Shopping Season to Thanksgiving Day United States Fairfax
Jim Lo Scalzo/Shutterstock

Target: Combine sales and coupons

If you’re afraid your doubled-up coupons will be rejected, don’t be. Target allows you to use Target coupons, manufacturer coupons, and Target Cartwheel (the store’s app) coupons all on the same item. Check out the site couponmom.com to find manufacturer coupons on the items Target has on sale each week. That’s some super savings when you know how to coupon correctly.

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wedding gifts for guest

Target: Register for your wedding

Your friends and family will be able to get free shipping on the items they order from your registry. And after the wedding, you’ll receive 15 percent off any items that weren’t snatched up. Don’t miss the 11 money-saving hacks Target employees won’t tell you.

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A variety of children's books are placed on the shelves of the Barnes & Noble Bookstore

Barnes & Noble: Join the kid’s club

Sign up for Barnes & Noble’s Kid’s Club (it’s free) and get 30 percent off any one kid’s book or toy. You’ll also earn $5 in rewards for every $100 spent on kid’s stuff. Plus, your child will get a free cupcake on their birthday. Now that’s how to raise a reader. These are the 9 best sites to read free books online.

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Author Melissa de la Cruz, left, and Dove Cameron, star of the Disney Channel original series "Liv and Maddie" and Disney's "Descendants", are seen at the book launch event for "The Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel" at Barnes & Noble, on in Los Angeles
Matt Sayles/Shutterstock

Barnes & Noble: Attend free events

No matter what city you’re in, your local Barnes & Noble is bound to host author readings and publicity events, as well as story time and other activities for kids. Find your location online and see what they’ve got happening. It’s a fun, free way to change up your routine and meet people with similar interests.

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Days of the week sticky notes
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Kohl’s: Shop on Wednesdays

If you’re 55 or older, you’ll receive a 15 percent discount every Wednesday if you shop in-store.

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Kohl's, whose Canton location is shown on December 31, 2014, has over 1,000 stores.
Susan Montgomery/Shutterstock

Kohl’s: Try a Power Hour sale

You’ll find out when your local Kohl’s is hosting these impressive sales by checking your local paper and the Kohl’s website. Hint: They usually take place a few times a month, so don’t fret if you miss one.

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Young girl in the cafe does business. Young girl holding a smartphone. Office worker on lunch. business meeting. send a message

Kohl’s: Get on the list

Sign up for the Kohl’s email list and receive a 15 percent off coupon. Text SAVE07 to 56457 for another 15 percent off code (you’ll also be signing up for the store’s mobile alerts, which you can unsubscribe to at any point).

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Woman accepts credit card to pay, in the store

Kohl’s: Receive rewards

Everyone likes to be rewarded for doing well, and the same thing applies to shopping, right? That’s why you’ll want to sign up for Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards. Show the cashier your card each time you pay (you can also sign up for an app version, in which case you’ll show them your phone), and receive one point for every dollar spent and $5 for every 100 points. That’s $5 for every $100 spent.

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Hand holding credit card and using laptop. Online shopping concept

Kohl’s: Hit the online clearance bin

The clearance section at Kohl’s is nothing less than a gold mine. But there’s an even easier way to shop it: online. Go here for the store’s online selection, and find savings as much as 60 percent off.

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Food Wegmans The Wegmans grocery store in Fairfax, Va., is seen on
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Wegmans: Double your coupons

With a little extra work, you’ll reap major returns at Wegmans. Present the cashier with a manufacturer coupon worth less than $0.99 in value and you’ll get the value of that coupon, plus another $0.99 off, courtesy of Wegmans. Obviously, they’ll also honor coupons worth more than $1, although they won’t match them.

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A Whole Foods Market customer carries her purchase from the Jackson, Miss., store . Amazon is buying Whole Foods Market in a deal valued at $13.7 billion, uniting the on-line giant with the grocery store chain that touts fresh organic foods

Whole Foods: Download the app

If Whole Foods is your primary grocery store, you’re well aware of some of their higher-than-average prices. To lower costs, download the Whole Foods app. It’s totally free and loaded with coupons and deals, so you’ll know exactly what to make a beeline for at the store.

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Woman chooses home flowers. Beauty Woman in Shopping Mall .

Home Depot: Return your dead plants

If you tend to kill your plants easily, you might want to shop for them exclusively at the Home Depot. The retailer promises to take the plants back if they die within a year. The official policy: “The Home Depot unconditionally guarantees all tropical, house, and landscape plants (only perennials, trees, and shrubs). A perennial is a plant that is expected to live for more than two years.” If you return the plant within 90 days, you’ll get a refund. After that, you can exchange the plant for a new one or receive store credit. Just make sure to keep your original receipt.

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Kids building workshop at the local Home Depot store.
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Home Depot: Take a class

We love stores with free activities. The Home Depot offers free classes for kids and adults. Kids’ classes include making crafts like window birdhouses and periscopes, while adult courses range from “Installing a Vanity” to “Making a Bookshelf Planter.” Keep in mind that you’ll have to purchase your own supplies.

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Paint Cans
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Home Depot: Pick up the “oops” paint

Each Home Depot paint department features an “oops” rack. The paints on these racks are heavily discounted, but not because there’s anything wrong with them. Often, they were simply ordered in the wrong color, or another customer decided to leave a bucket behind. Either way, if you’re working on a small project and aren’t attached to a color, it’s worth checking out these paints first.

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tool store
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Home Depot: 110 percent price-match guarantee

Many stores offer a price-match guarantee (show them proof of a lower price on an identical product at a competitor and get that price), but Home Depot does it one better: they’ll match the price, plus take off 10 percent.

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Asian woman hand use phone ,using mobile slim tablet, Internet of things lifestyle with wireless communication and internet with smart phone.business connection.

Home Depot: Sign up for texts

If you shop at Home Depot frequently, you’ll want to sign up for their text alerts just to stay in the know about special deals and promotions. But even if you’re making a one-time stop, you’ll want to sign up. By signing up for mobile alerts, you’ll get $5 off a $50 purchase. These are the 8 other Home Depot savings secrets only experts know.

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Milan, Italy - August 10, 2017: Amazon website homepage. It is an American electronic commerce and cloud computing company. Amazon.com logo visible.
Casimiro PT/Shutterstock

Amazon: Get free shipping

Amazon offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more. But if you’ve added everything you need to your shopping cart and are still a few dollars short, don’t splurge on a new top to get free shipping. Amazon offers “add-on” items (type “add-on items” in the search bar to find them) for just that purpose. Items include practical things like toothpaste, razors, and snacks. That’s practicality, plus free shipping. If you’ve got prime, you’ll want to learn the 17 Amazon Prime benefits most people don’t know about.

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MONTREAL, CANADA - MARCH 10, 2016 - Amazon shipping box with branded tape on it. Amazon is one of the most popular and biggest online store.

Amazon: Check the outlet

Amazon already has great deals. But to find the best of the best, head to the Amazon Outlet. This section of the website sells overstocked items for as much as 75 percent off. The stock is limited, but you can see exactly what percent off an item is, and how long the deal will remain.

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CHIANG MAI,THAILAND - FEB 08, 2018 : iPhone X Plus showing Amazon apps. Amazon.com, Inc. is an American international electronic commerce company. It is the world's largest online retailer. Site
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Amazon: Compare prices anywhere

Download the Amazon Shopping app for a quick way to compare Amazon prices to any product you come across at a brick-and-mortar store (or anywhere on the web too, for that matter). This will especially come in handy at stores with price-match guarantees.

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CHIANG MAI,THAILAND - NOV 18, 2017 : Woman holding iPhone 7 Plus showing Amazon apps. Amazon.com, Inc. is an American international electronic commerce company.

Amazon: Find the coupons page

Clipping coupons is a hassle. Amazon makes it easier with a dedicated coupons page. The page is searchable by brand or product, but if you’re more concerned with deals and less bothered by brands, you can search by category (personal care, makeup, household supplies, etc).

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MARYLAND, USA - FEBRUARY 04, 2016: Image of Amazon packages delivered to a home. Amazon is the largest internet based retailer in the United States.
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Amazon: Subscribe and save

Another way to save on household goods with Amazon is to order a bunch of them at once. Simply sign up for reoccurring deliveries with Subscribe & Save. You tell Amazon what you need and how often you need it, and they do their best to help you save on the bulk order. Don’t miss these 15 Amazon hacks you need to know.

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Nordstrom Rack in Allentown, PA, USA. November 3, 2017

Nordstrom Rack: Find the best quality

True Nordstrom aficionados know that only a fraction of the items at Nordstrom Rack are brought over from an actual Nordstrom. The others are manufactured specifically for Nordstrom Rack and could be a much lower quality than full-line items. Nordstrom items will never have a white “Nordstrom Rack” tag. Instead, a true Nordstrom item will either have a Nordstrom tag or a designer tag with a red clearance sticker on top.

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Vaughan, Ontario, Canada - March 17, 2018: exterior view of Nordstrom Rack sign at Vaughan Mills mall near Toronto. Nordstrom Rack is a fashion retailer based in the United States.

Nordstrom Rack: Clear the rack

About once a month, Nordstrom Rack holds a Clear the Rack sale in which you’ll get an extra 25 percent off everything at the register. Ask for an email receipt on any regular purchase and you’ll automatically receive brand notifications, including the dates of Clear the Rack sales.

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ROME, ITALY - CIRCA NOVEMBER, 2017: Giorgio Armani beauty products on display at a second flagship store of Rinascente in Rome.

Nordstrom Rack: Shop beauty products

It’s not an impulse buy if you actually use it. The designer fragrances at Nordstrom Rack are legit—and often sold at bargain prices. Use your Amazon Shopping app to make sure you’re actually getting a deal, but don’t feel bad stocking up. They make great gifts and are a fun way to change things up.

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Tony D'Angelo walks away from the scan check out lane after completing his purchase using the BJ's Express Scan app on his cell phone while shopping at the BJ's Wholesale Club in Northborough, Mass. Like other automation technologies, scan-and-go shifts more of the work to shoppers while freeing up employees for higher-value tasks. That's especially critical as stores look for ways to make their workers more efficient as they wrestle with rising wages
Stephan Savoia/Shutterstock

BJ’s: Use a one-day pass

If you’re not a member of BJ’s but happen to be near one—or are considering becoming a member but don’t want to commit just yet—try a one-day pass. The pass is totally free and allows you to shop ’till you drop for an entire day. Before you do, find out the 10 shopping secrets no one tells you about BJ’s.

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variety of fruits in supermarket, China

BJ’s: Buy organic

While big-box stores aren’t always the best places to stock up on fruits and veggies (you can probably find cheaper in-season produce elsewhere), BJ’s is known for its organic food products. That means it’s even cheaper than Trader Joe’s or Stop & Shop.

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A woman cutting coupons
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BJ’s: Stack coupons

Before you head out to shop, do a quick search for manufacturer’s coupons for items on your shopping list. Crosscheck them with your BJ’s coupons. The store allows you to stack the two and get double the deals.

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Outside BJ's Wholesale Club in Woburn, Massachusetts, USA 25 October 2017. The warehouse chain, commonly referred to as 'BJ's,' is a membership only food and merchandise store that is based in Westborough, Massachusetts, USA.
CJ GUNTHER/Shutterstock

BJ’s: Rent a car

If you’re a BJ’s member, you can save up to 35 percent on car rentals by going through the store.

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Walmart Retail Location. Walmart is an American Multinational Retail Corporation XIV
Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock

Walmart: Skip the actual clearance

Instead of checking the actual clearance section for discounted products—especially consumer electronics—rather-be-shopping.com suggests looking in the glass cabinets below the full-priced items. “Most marked down, high-end electronics are held in cabinets near or under their respective items. Most reduced items are not displayed and rarely have price tags. Ask to see their clearance specifically in cases. At the change of major seasons many older model items will be switched out for newer ones,” an employee said. These are the 12 craziest things Walmart employees have seen at work.

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Customers leave happy from a Walmart store in Bentonville, AR, with their Black Friday items on . This year, Walmart stocked its digital and physical aisles with more than 1.5 million televisions, nearly two million tablets and computers and three million video games
Gunnar Rathbun/Shutterstock

Walmart: Skip Black Friday

You can get those same deals at other, less-crowded times. The store offers their Black Friday deals for the entire week of Thanksgiving. They’ve also begun having Black Friday-like sales in July to rival Amazon’s Prime Day—and you don’t even have to pay a membership fee to access them. Check with your local Walmart to find out the day of the sale and get there early.

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Walmart website homepage. It is an American multinational retailing corporation that operates as a chain of hypermarkets. Walmart logo visible.
Casimiro PT/Shutterstock

Walmart: Get free shipping

If you can’t tell, we love free shipping. Walmart.com offers a flat shipping rate of $4.97. Sidestep it by having your goods delivered to your local Walmart. You can pick them up there for free. Next, read up on the 56 best money-saving tips of all time.