The Best for Less

In a recession, the old adage “Time is money” gets flipped on its head in favor of the other, more useful mantra: “Why pay more?” Why, indeed? Read our comprehensive guide for getting top-notch stuff at dramatic savings.


B. Markowsky gold purse, $64 (originally $248), at T.J. Maxx

 

In a recession, the old adage “Time is money” gets flipped on its head in favor of the other, more useful mantra: “Why pay more?”

Why, indeed? Through visits to dozens of stores, we compiled our comprehensive guide to the very best destinations for getting top-notch stuff—everything from clothing and luggage to appliances and home-renovation supplies—at dramatic savings. And because getting the best for less sometimes means ferreting out finds from lower-price merchants, we didn’t hesitate to include biggies such as Target, Costco, Ikea, and Home Depot when they excelled in specific categories.

Granted, bagging treasures the bargain-shopping way takes time, a bit of driving around, and a keen eye for quality. Small pains, we think, for keeping dollars in your pocket at a time when every single one of them counts.

In this story:

ULTIMATE BARGAIN-SHOPPING GUIDE >>
Where to find the best deals on great stuff in the city and beyond
 

OUTLET MALL STAKEOUT (GALLERY) >>
We recently polled a day’s worth of shoppers at Chicago Premium Outlets in Aurora

PREMIUM DENIM FOR LESS >>
Premium denim usually comes at a premium price. Where to find labels for less

 

HI-LO (GALLERY) >>
Luxury items and their bargain counterparts

CHEAP HAIRCUTS >>
A  few of the high-end salons around town offer haircuts and coloring treatments for a reduced price. The catch? Your stylist is a student.

  CALENDAR OF THE YEAR’S BEST SALES >>
A month-by-month calendar of the year’s best sales

CHIC FOR $100 >>
Is it possible to dress chicly from head to toe on a tight budget? Four staffers shopped until they dropped

  INDEX OF STORES >>
An alphabetical index of the stores mentioned in the bargain-shopping guide

HOW TO SHOP DEPARTMENT STORES >>
Can you find a bargain at a department store anymore? We asked high-level insiders for the inside dope

 

 

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