4 tips for buying last-minute winter clothing at a discount


One-fifth of Americans are chronic procrastinators, according to research by psychologist Dr. Joseph Ferrari. If you fall into this category, you probably haven't yet bought whatever new winter gear you need for the season.

And with holiday shopping coming up, the last few months of the year can get pricey: Americans are projected to spend about $30 million more this November and December than they spent last year, according to the National Retail Federation. That makes this a great time to save whatever money you can on seasonal clothing like jackets and boots.

While you may think it's too late to get good discounts on winter gear, there are actually plenty of good sales and strategies for saving on the season's most expensive items. Here are four tips to shop smart for winter.

Shop Columbus Day weekend and other sales

Although buying out-of-season can reap the most significant discounts, there are still good and frequent sales throughout October and November. For example, from now until October 20, Kohl's is offering 20% off your entire purchase if you spend more than $100, or 15% off your entire purchase regardless of how much you spend.

"The quality of deals is fairly similar between October and November," says Charlie Graham, founder of the shopping platform Shop It To Me. "Retailers are trying to jump the gun and trying to get your attention before Black Friday."

Consider shopping on Columbus Day weekend. At Macy's, you can get an extra 10%-20% off items like this toddler hoodie and sweatpants set that is marked down from $40 to $16, or this Calvin Klein puff jacket that's marked down from $190 to $113.

Eddie Bauer is also offering up to 60% off items online and in store Columbus Day weekend, including a fleece zip up for $49, $21 less than its original price.

If you don't want to wade through coupons or dozens of websites to figure out where to find the best deals, consider signing up for an email newsletter that aggregates online sales from a variety of stores and sends the best discounts to your inbox.

Go for layers

"You may not get much use out of a high-quality down coat or snow suit you buy for your kid if it's a mild winter, and they'll have outgrown it by the next year," Kristin McGrath, shopping expert from Offers.com says. "So consider lower-cost items that layer well, such as fleeces and scarves, and find deals on those."

At Old Navy, sweaters and jeans are 50% off. That means you can find a boy's V-neck sweater for $10 and a girl's sweater for $15.

Adults can take advantage of this strategy as well. If you're looking for thicker fleeces, Cabela's is offering 33% all men's and women's fleeces. You can get a women's fleece vest that originally retailed at $50 for $33.50.

Consider lower-cost items that layer well, such as fleeces and scarves, and find deals on those.
Kristin McGrath
Shopping expert at Offers.com

Wait until Cyber Monday

Despite its name, Cyber Monday sales aren't only on electronics. Cyber Monday is a good time to buy clothing as well, McGrath says. This year it falls on December 2 and it can bring discounts worth waiting for.

"Major retailers, including Target, Express, Gap, and more tend to offer site-wide discount codes the entire day, for 15% to 40% off," she says. "Amazon also has a history of offering apparel sales on Cyber Monday. And department stores, such as Macy's, often offer great boot deals."

Shop secondhand

Buying secondhand clothing can help with costs. Visit local thrift shops, or online ones like Thred Up, where you can find a Sam Edelman puffy coat for $34.99 ($27.99 if you sign up). Other platforms where you can buy secondhand clothing for a lot less include Depop and Poshmark.

And be sure to consider what's already in your own closet. "Can your current boots and coat last one more season?" McGrath asks. If so, opt to wear them again, at least temporarily, and buy new ones later. "For bigger-ticket items, it's best to start shopping near the end of winter," she says. "While you may find discounts heading into winter, you can expect 40% off or more starting around January and February."

This way, you can get more use out of what you already have, and be prepared for next winter, too.

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