End of the Year/ After Christmas Clearance Store Markdown Schedule and Tips

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It is that time of year – when the end-of-the-year and After Christmas Clearances start! This is a great time of year to maximize your budget to grab some great deals!

First, each store will be a little different, but as a general rule for stores across the board, here’s the schedule of markdowns that will occur nationwide from national to local stores.

  • December 26th – December 31st: Most national (and some local) stores will offer a 50% off Christmas clearance.  This will be mostly on seasonal items, but sometimes everyday/gift ideas as well!
  • January 1st, 2012 – January 7th, 2012: Most national stores will start markdowns at 75% off.
  • Starting January 8th, 2012 and until gone: Most national stores will start markdowns at 90% off.

Now obviously – the earlier in the markdowns that you shop, the better selection you will get! Personally, we find that the second week after Christmas where items are 75% off is a perfect time for us as it is a nice discount and the selection is still decent!

We also wanted to note that most local and small businesses and stores in your area will start with a smaller markdown and slowly move up each week.  We often see them start at 25% off and move by 5% or 10% increments from there.

Here are a few tips for after-Christmas shopping:

  • This is the BEST time to get your Christmas decorations, lights and more.  We generally don’t buy any Christmas decorations before, but wait until these time periods! Then next year it is like Christmas twice when we also pull out the new stuff at the beginning of the season!
  • Most of the deals are also offered online at each store’s websites for non-food items.
  • This is also a great time for cold-weather accessories and wear as you are still in the heart of the winter season – but we often find this a great time to grab winter wear for our family!
  • This is also a FANTASTIC time to buy the gift sets that range for foodie options to personal care.  Even if you do not still have some on your list this year, most of it will last until next year.  This is also even a good way to buy personal care for yourself as it is the same products sold on the shelf individually, but you can get them for much cheaper.
  • Also, note the return policy because you might find the same items at another store even cheaper during this time, or you may get the item home and realize that you do not want/need that item.  So to avoid buyer’s remorse, then know the return policy as they are varied for different retailers when it comes to their end of the year/after Christmas markdowns.
  • KEEP all receipts somewhere together (tape them to the box where you store it) to easily locate them in case you do decide to return the items.  In most cases, you will be able to return your markdown items, but if you do not have a receipt, they will only honor the Lowest marked price that this item has been.  If you do not have the receipt this is a big hit to your budget when you return something.  Also, without a receipt, not only will you get the lowest price it has been, but you will most likely only receive store credit, which may also put a damper on your budget and shopping.
  • If you are retail shopping, use your gift cards and maximize them with retail coupons.  To help you find coupons, here’s a round-up of retail coupons that you can take with you to maximize your markdown savings:

Also, you can use our online coupon database HERE to find coupon codes to combine with the online store sales!

Finally, go in with a plan so that you do not overspend. Please do not go into debt to grab the deals as ultimately this is not a deal if you end up doing this.  Between the interest you pay, the affect on your credit and the emotional taxing down the road that you will experience is not worth the discount!

Have fun out there!


  1. Lynda says

    Dear ThriftyCouple, This is to wish you a very Happy New Year! Thank you so much for all the stories, tips, deals, coupons, and great advice you have given us this past year. I am looking forward to all your thrifty helps in 2012! God Bless! Lynda

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