It happens every week…another store closes and you hope it’s going to have some crazy good deals that you can get before they close their doors.

In fact, this past week, Winn Dixie announced that they are closing 22 stores by March 25th. Six stores are closing in the Tampa Bay area where I live.

While it’s sad and also a sign of the times, you may not be getting the best deals you think you are.

Liquidations sales may not be the best deals around. You need to know what to look for and what to be cautious of.

I’ll help you to create a strategy so that you get what you need and not overspend.

And how to prepare to get the real deals so you save time and money.

Let me show you how a True Money Saver navigates those clearance isles to score the best deals for your family.

Why Liquidations May Not Be A Real Deal

Last year, just 3 stores, Toys R Us, Bon-Ton Stores, and Sears were responsible for 75% of the retail closings in the US. That’s a lot of store closings.

And it seems like you should be able to score a good deal amidst the liquidating inventory, right? WRONG.

If a store is going out of business, usually “liquidators” take over the inventory that needs to be sold quickly.

It’s their business to make as much profit as possible.

Since they are trying to get the most profit out of the stock they have, they will sometimes raise the prices to get the most profit.

They will even go to the extremes of creating new tags with higher prices so that you think you are actually getting a good deal with the advertised sale.

That means you will actually be paying higher prices than the original price even with any advertised discount.

What do you do? Make sure your nails are sharp as you may need to peel some labels to see what prices are underneath. That way you’ll know if you’re paying less than the advertised price on the tag.

Liquidators may play by some rules, but maybe not the best ones for us, the consumers.

If a store is only closing some locations, check the stores that are not closing for even better deals. They will still have good sales, clearance and will have not have jacked their prices up. They might even have extra stock brought in from the liquidation stores to get rid of at a deep discount.

The Real Deals To Look For

At the grocery store, perishable foods like fresh produce, frozen foods and meat will need to be sold first, and they go cheap!

So make a bee line to see what deals are there first.

Going-out-of-business sales are designed to create a sense of urgency, and it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement.

But, as always, it’s essential to ask yourself whether each potential purchase is something you’ll actually use.

If you don’t need it, you’re not saving any money — you’re just spending it.

Look for a savings of around 75%, or quickly whip out your phone and google the item and another grocery store name to if google can list a better price so you have some gauge for what is truly a good deal.

For retail stores, check the price on Amazon, Google Shopping, ShopSavvy, or PriceGrabber. If it can be found cheaper, then it’s not a deal.

It pays to do your homework. For larger purchases use a price tracker tool such as CamelCamelCamel, Honey or Keepa to see what the price has been trending.

You can even simply scan the barcode on the product and apps like RedLaser will compare prices for you in seconds.

Make sure to look at user ratings and reviews to make sure it’s a good purchase to begin with.

When To Shop

Most stores will not have all the best deals on the first day. Go the second day or even the next couple of days after the closing sale started. You may find they will have bigger discounts as the days go on.

Ask when the closing date is and if they have a discount schedule so you can come on the best day possible.

But be aware, what you had your eye on may be snatched up by then. You have to decide to take that chance.

Be careful as most stores may not announce when their last day is. You can ask, but it may not be something they want the public to know. I usually end up visiting the closing store almost daily to check for deals.

Use Those Gift Cards

If you have any gift cards for the store, now is the time to use those up.

They may not be good for long so double check any place you could have a gift card hiding so you don’t lose your money. Think about junk drawers, old wallets and purses, and even your email inbox for a bonus gift certificate.

You may not be able to use coupons any longer either. If a liquidation company has moved in to sell off the remaining stock, their purpose is to sell at the highest price they can get possible. Giving you a real discount with coupons will probably no longer happen. Although it never hurts to ask!

Take An Inventory, And Take Cash

With any shopping you do, it’s always important to make a list. Take inventory around your house and see what you actually need. It doesn’t make sense to save money by going to a liquidation sale if you are going to spend willy nilly on things you don’t need.

Then, it’s time to figure out your budget. This amount is what you can actually spend at the sale. If you don’t think you will be able to help your savvy saving “but it’s 50% off” mentality, then you need to go one step further to make sure you don’t overspend.

Take cash. Yup, it’s the easiest way not to overspend. I understand it’s easy to do when you find winter coats for $10 for next year, but if you are spending your grocery money now, you can’t eat a winter coat later.

Bring a credit card ONLY if you are making larger purchases like purchasing appliances. If the store is closing for good, you may have recourse with your credit card if the product doesn’t get delivered, becomes damaged or doesn’t work.

Get The Return & Warranty Policies And Inspect 

Since most stores that are going out of business will no longer accept returns, this is your one chance to make sure the item you are buying is a quality piece.

Make sure it has no holes, buttons missing, cut wrong, etc.

You may not have any recourse after the purchase is complete.

Liquidators have been known to sell irregular pieces to bolster their bottom line which leaves it up to you to make sure you are getting what you pay for.

Get the return policy before your purchase is complete. You may be able to return something at another store location if the entire chain is not completely closing.

If the store is closing completely, you may be out of luck once the transaction is complete. It pays to know before you purchase an item.

Also, ask about warranties. Will an item still have a warranty after the store closes? Get the information before you check out so you aren’t stuck without one.

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Want to score some outstanding Store Closing deals?! Shockingly, not all store closings have the best deals. Cut through the hype with these tips.  #truemoneysaver #debtfree #stockpile #liquidation