1. Sign up for a company's email list. Yes, it's a pain to get a bunch of store emails everyday. Going through and deleting ones you don't need or aren't interested in is a small price to pay for being the first to know about killer sales.
2. Sign up for a store credit card...only if you have decent credit, frequent the store, and are able to pay off your balance in full each month. I typically pay off what I charge to a store card as soon as I receive the item and (if needed) have taken care of any returns. Why get a store credit card? So many companies offer extra discounts, rewards, and other incentives. If you can be responsible, it can really pay off.
3. Know a store's pattern. This comes with time. Let's take Express for example. If you're patient you will never have to pay retail on any but the most trendy pieces. The sale that Express has going right now is at least the third major sale this year (I know this from my order history). Classics like the Portofino blouse, bra cami, and Stella leggings normally retail for $50, $20, and $80 respectively. I've never paid more than half of that because I know that eventually the items will cycle back to the sale section.
My Express Breakdown:
Do you have any tips to save money while shopping at your favorite stores? I'd love to hear below!