Visit central Ohio's discount stores for clothes and compare store ads before setting out to buy back-to-school supplies.
I write about these from time-to-time, but some people I talk to that have lived in central Ohio have never heard of them.
This was formerly known as MJR and now has three store locations in town-Gahanna, West Side and Plain City. They primarily sell items from The Limited, Express (mens and womens), Victoria's Secret (store and catalog) and Lane Bryant. They occasionally get other lots of clothes in such as shoes or fitness apparel from other brands and stores and sell them for a good deal as well. I got several pairs of nice running shoes that would have cost $100+ at regular stores for $25-$35 each a couple of years ago and a high-end sweater for $25. The men's selection isn't quite as big, but they have a decent selection of casual and dress clothes from Express and they have a selection of New Balance workout shirts, golf shirts at the Plain City location and some high-end YSL suits. They also have a large selection of jewelry and accessories.
Eddie Bauer Warehouse Store
I used to work at this gem when I first moved to Columbus. It's set up as an outlet store format in front and warehouse store in back. They have various specials that they advertise on the whiteboard when you walk in the door. In the warehouse portion, one can buy ladies jeans or pants for $9.99, shirts and coats and more. Mens items were recently advertised at $12.99 for jeans and pants and they have other various specials. They also have First Ascent clothing and goods for the adventurous types. On a recent visit, they again had clothes for children. Some good deals I spotted were Travex lightweight wool dresses for women for $9.99. They also have quite a few backpacks and luggage pieces, gadgets and even sleeping bags. Be sure to check the specials and listen to the loudspeaker for unadvertised, timed specials. They often have a special for a half hour marking shoes down to 70% off or home goods 70% off and you get a sticker from an employee and get an item from the specified department for an even better deal. *If you have an Entertainment Book, you can get an extra 20% off your entire purchase. Also, be sure to sign up for a "friends" card to get a rewards check based on your spending to use on future purchases. They have fitting rooms and now allow returns with a receipt and tags on items. They are closed on Tuesdays.
There's also a Salvage Store in the back of the building down a hallway that is open to the public on Fridays during regular store hours and Saturdays until 1 p.m. This is usually the place to get the best deals, but you really have to look items over. Some may have holes or damage or might be missing a button. Sometimes, items are brand new returns, but they can't sell them because they are catalog returns. They also have overstock items. An example of prices: Shirts, pants and shorts are $6, tanks tops $3, lightweight down coats $25, unline jackets $10, down coats $40, leather and suede coats $50, backpacks $4, gloves $2, shoes $6, gadgets $1 and sunglasses $6. *There is no fitting room, but they do have mirrors.
Store coupons and vouchers
I recently got a coupon for $10 to use toward pretty much anything at J.C. Penney. I'll be buying something, but not sure what yet. These kind of deals allow you to pretty much get something such as a pair of socks for free. Be sure to read the fine print to see if there are any stipulations, but usually they're just an incentive to get you to shop at their store hoping you'll buy more than the voucher or coupon is worth.
My advice is to get a copy of your supply list and then compare it to Sunday store ads and find out which store has the best deal on the most items on your list. Be sure to shop around. I saw that Meijer and Target both are selling the iPad Air 16GB for $499, but Meijer offers a $100 store bonus card and Target only a $50 store bonus card with purchase. That's a $50 difference and that could go to buy school supplies, gas or groceries at Meijer. Also, Aldi has some good deals on dorm room items this week. Now is the time to buy these as they are offering them as specials for back to school and there's lots of competition for your money.