Wednesday, June 23, 2010

It's sale time, but don't go broke over it

It's time to fill in a few blanks in the wardrobe or upgrade some existing pieces. Summer sales are about to crescendo to great deals on menswear. Round up the usual suspects: Neiman's, Nordstrom and Saks already are off to sale mode.

Now that it's after Father's Day and heading toward the Fourth of July, look for the discounts to increase. There is a caveat to this strategy: You'll have competition from other shoppers looking for the best deal, too, and the item that you have your eye on may be sold before you're willing to pull the trigger.

For example, Movado's boutiques are going out of business at the end of June. It's discounts on jewelry increased each week during the month, from 50 percent on selected pieces the first week, to 60 percent the next, then to 70 percent this week.

I decided that no matter what was being sold by the store at a certain level of discount, I would decide from what was left at the higher discount. This approach reduces any regret for items that were well out of my price range, even at a sale price, to begin with. The item I wanted was still there, but there were inquiries from others. Fortunately, I put the item on hold at just the right time. I then bought it at 70 percent off.

This leads to a second caveat: Just because an item is on sale doesn't mean you have to buy every such item that you see. Be selective about what it is you're looking for and stick to the plan. Granted, getting more for less is best, but do it affordably.

Finally, when the sale period ends, take a look at the new items coming in for the next season. Yes, the new stuff will be at full price, but some of these items will eventually go on sale during Christmas time. If what you want doesn't go on sale, decide if you're willing to the pay the asking price.

Good luck.