Being the Frugal Millennial, I don’t really enjoy shopping. In fact, I’m convinced that I’m actually allergic to shopping for clothes. I get really hot, stressed, overwhelmed, and itchy when I need to shop for clothes. My attention span for shopping never lasts more than an hour. Although I often have an adverse reaction to trying and spending money on clothes, I don’t live in a nudist colony and do have to do it occasionally.
A Former Gap Employee
One thing you may not know about me is that I’m actually really good at shopping. I’m a bargain hunter and know when and where to find the best deals. Before I was the Frugal Millennial, I was just a broke college student. During my time attending the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!) I worked for Gap, which is also associated with Old Navy and Banana Republic. My year and a half with Gap Inc. taught me an important life lesson: NEVER PAY FULL PRICE FOR CLOTHES.
So often would I see people come into the store, drop a few hundred dollars on clothes and walk out having paid full price. The next week, I would be in the back marking the $50 dress they purchased down to $30. It blew my mind how many people would walk in, pick clothes off the rack and pay full price. I always thought to myself, “don’t these people know if they just wait a few weeks all of these clothes will be marked down?”
The Gap Discount Cycle
Every few weeks Gap goes through a discount cycle. Discounts range anywhere from 10% all the way up to 70% off. Knowing when to shop is key to finding the best deal.
Every major (and often minor) holiday is a reason for Gap to have a sale. Labor Day, 4th of July, Columbus Day, Founder’s Day; you name it, Gap has probably already planned a discount around it. The best sale is of the year is during Thanksgiving season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are going to be the best deals you will find. These deals often offer EVERYTHING in the store 50-60% off. This is a great time to stock up on jeans and outerwear, which are often the most expensive items in the store.
Every 3-4 months Gap has a sale offering 40% off the entire store. This is the second-best time of the year to stock up on merchandise. If you see a sign, for 25% off, know that if you’re patient and willing to wait, in a few weeks that discount will increase to 40%.
Each store manager has the opportunity to call the shots and offer local sales. Local sales aren’t as flashy as the national sales and may be harder to plan for. If a store has a lot of items on its sale rack that aren’t moving, the store manager can offer up to an additional 50% off sale items. Think about that for a second, you can get an extra 50% off already marked down items. I loved shopping the sale racks during the local sale. In fact, all of my everyday t-shirts are from Gap and I never paid more than $5 for them. I have to say, I’m going on 8 years with them and they’re still holding up well. These t-shirts typically retail for $20 full price, but by strategically shopping the sale rack, I saved a bundle!
Always Save on Jeans
Whenever you shop at Gap, save your receipt. If you go online and fill out the survey you will receive a coupon code for 20% off one full priced item. Because jeans are sometimes excluded from sales, this is how you can always get a discount on jeans. Jeans are expensive, in fact they’re one of Gap’s most expensive items, saving 20% is going to go a long way.
Gap Discounts in a Nutshell
The average American family spends $1,700 per year on clothes. By shopping strategically and waiting for the best sales, you can easily spend less than $1,000 per year on clothes. Knowing when to stock up and when to wait is going to save you a lot of money over the course of the year. Don’t be fooled, Gap can afford to discount their clothes by 50% because they are marked up at least that much. GAP’s markup is probably about 70% which means if you’re paying full price, you’re getting ripped off. Be patient and wait for a sale. I know I would love an extra $700 per year back in my pocket.
P.S. If you prefer shopping online, check out my Abandoned Shopping Cart trick to always score a deal.