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As in any good marriage, T.J. Maxx is there for better or for worse: when you’re moving into your new apartment and have no clue how to decorate it, when you adopt a dog with zero pet supplies to your name, or when you wait until the last minute to buy your best friend a birthday gift. And there’s a certain thrill that comes with scoring an amazing deal at T.J. Maxx (or Marshalls, HomeGoods, or any other TJX-owned store). I mean, what’s better than seeing the original suggested retail price and then looking at the T.J. Maxx tag and seeing a whole digit missing?
An undeniably huge part of the shopping experience at the company’s stores is the chase. When you do find a piece of clothing you love or a furniture piece that fits perfectly in your home, there’s a feeling of triumph because you had to hunt for it—or it was at the first store you went to, which makes it fate.
Moving on from this love letter to TJX Corporation, we know that walking away with the best bargains from these stores requires skill, so we’ve asked die-hard shoppers for their top tips and tricks for shopping at TJX stores.
1. Get to know your local store
All stores receive multiple new product shipments a week—the key is not only knowing when they’re coming but when new items hit the shelves. There is no one day that all stores restock, so your best bet is to ask an employee about the schedule at your favorite location and if it varies by department. Once you know when new items will arrive, you can plan your shopping trips accordingly.
2. Venture to new locations
Just as the different stores have their own restock days, they also have their own specialties when it comes to what they sell. Depending on what items you’re looking for, a change in location could be the key to finding great pieces. “Taking the extra 30 minutes to drive to a nearby upscale suburb usually means that the stores have a bigger footprint and they carry far more designer and high-end merchandise than the stores here in the immediate city limits,” says Anna Lane, Reviewed’s parenting editor.
3. Know how to get the very best prices
Any time you walk into a T.J. Maxx, you’ll see tons of red tags that indicate the items are on sale, usually at amazing prices. But, these are all due for another markdown—or a few more markdowns, actually. The only time an item is on its last line of clearance is if it has a yellow tag—then you’ll know that the price is never going to get better. This is also why the company hosts a “yellow tag event,” typically in January and July. If you love anything with a yellow tag, you now know to scoop it.
4. Don’t forget about online shopping
Most of us think of the in-store shopping experience when it comes to T.J. Maxx, but it has a robust online store, too. You may even come across items that aren’t available in your local stores. “It seems to have a better variety, especially of workout clothing and shoes,” says Amy Roberts, Reviewed’s managing editor of lifestyle and emerging categories. “You can buy online and return in store, which is always a convenience.”
5. Try out the sister retailers
Switching your focus from shopping at T.J. Maxx to Marshalls (or vice versa) is also essential to maximizing your TJX shopping experience, as the stores are each uniquely designed to target certain demographics or interests. T.J. Maxx, for example, markets toward women—the store’s Instagram bio specifically states, “We help women maximize their lives.” Marshalls focuses more on the whole family, which is evident even in their shoe department, which includes men's and children's sizes, unlike T.J. Maxx. Amy points out that she's observed the same clothing items at both Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, so cross-shopping can behoove you if you found something you coveted at one store but it wasn't in your size.
If you love the activewear department at either of those stores, you should check out Sierra (formerly Sierra Trading Post), which has a massive selection of athletic and outdoors clothing and gear at its website and store locations.
And while both T.J. Maxx and Marshalls have nice home decor departments, if you're looking to update an entire room, you'll find a greater variety of accessories and accent pieces at HomeGoods. You can even redo your whole house at Homesense if you happen to live near one of its northeast or mid-Atlantic locations as it offers full dining room sets, lighting fixtures, and even bathtubs.
6. Sign up for a rewards credit card
The only credit cards worth having are the ones that reward you for your spending. When you sign up for a TJX Rewards credit card, you receive 10 percent off of your first online or in-store purchase, so it’s best to sign up when you’re making a more expensive purchase. Then you’ll receive 5 percent back when you shop at any TJX store, including T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls, Homesense, or Sierra, paid out as a $10 gift certificate for every $200 spent.
7. If you see it, buy it
If you only put one of these tips into practice, let it be this one. An item you love could be gone in a flash and there’s now way to predict if it’ll come back into stores. “You can always return it, but if you go back the next day, it’s probably already gone to a loving home,” says Heather Foley, a Boston stylist and TJX shopper. “And I would much rather try something on in my house than a poorly lit dressing room!”
The company has a flexible return policy that allows you to return anything purchased in-store within 30 days with a receipt for a full refund. If you don’t have the receipt or if it’s past 30 days, you can still return the item for a merchandise credit that you can use toward future splurges. When you buy online, you can return the item in-store or free by mail for up to 40 days with a receipt or a copy of your shipping confirmation.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.