It's Your Money: Smart Shopper

RALEIGH With this economy, stores are hurting just like your wallet.

If you shop smart, now is the time you can find amazing deals, even at department stores since they have a lot of stock to sell.

You can't miss the signs inside Belk's at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh.

The signs say it all -- clearance, red dot sale, 40 percent off and even 75 percent off.

Suzanne Libfraind, a fashion advisor and wardrobe consultant with Raleigh based company Wardrobe Consulting says, "Stores are promoting to sell the goods and get them out the door. Spring is here."

She says now is the time to find great deals on basics and trendier items. Belk's welcomed us in their store and Suzanne took us shopping to show us how to become a smart shopper.

She says, "The first markdown is always 20 percent to 40 percent off, which typically happens within the first six to eight weeks, generally eight weeks. I think it will happen much quicker because of the economy."

We found markdowns are happening quicker, many as soon as they hit the floor.

We found all kinds of spring fashions, even Easter outfits for the little ones all on sale, plus add those coupons you can clip from the paper, or find online, and that adds up to even more savings.

If you don't have a coupon, ask your salesperson.

Suzanne says, "They can give you a coupon or they can automatically do it at the register." Suzanne adds that working with a salesperson is key to getting the best price.

She says, "If you're working with a good sales person, they know you want that item. They will let you know when it goes down further."

Right now, we found deep discounts on winter clothing.

For example, we found velour jeans with the original price of $187, marked down to $92.99, plus an additional 40 percent off.

Suzanne says, "That is a great deal for those who are looking for a trendy black jean that will not go out of style."

Also, not going out of style is big selection of baby and kids clothes marked 75 percent off the original price, plus an additional 40 percent off that discount.

Suzanne adds, "A lot of items walk away with from $3 to $4."

Other tips include, while it is more crowded, you will typically find the best sales offered Friday through Sunday, with early bird specials starting before noon.

Also, look at the store's credit card and frequent buyer promotions.

Often times, you get special extra discounts throughout the year just being a card holder.

If you do find an item, that doesn't appear to be on sale, Suzanne says always ask, as you never know.

There might be a discount you don't know about. She says, right now, stores want the sale and don't want you walking away empty handed.

To learn more about Suzanne Libfraind's company, Wardrobe Consulting just go to

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