Gap-a-licious Bargain

Recently, my daughter went to a middle school youth conference in Cincinnati. My parents grew up in Cincinnati. I used to spend summers there. Aside from my own kitchen, it’s my happy place… to eat…

And to shop.

Yes, there are so many other fabulous places to shop: NYC, Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, and the list goes on and on. But at this point in my life, everything is about the word bargain.

I coupon. I use coupon apps on my phone. I have an app to find the cheapest gas wherever I’m going.  I scour the Sunday ads in the paper.  I shop at consignment  and thrift shops.

I do all this so I can afford to keep one son in decent shoes, the other son current on his college tuition, buy hair products for my lusciously curly-headed girl, subscribe to satellite TV sports for my husband, keep food in the fridge, gas in the car, and a whole host of other expenses.  You get the idea, because you’re doing it too…

So when it comes to ultimate clothes shopping bargains, I head to Cincinnati.  Why? What’s so great about Cincinnati clothes bargains?

Um… the Gap Clearance Center.

Technically, it’s not in Cincinnati; it’s south of the Ohio River in Hebron, KY, very close to the Cincinnati airport.

What’s so fabulous about it that I would write a whole post about it?

Um… the great Gap brands (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piper Lime, Athleta) at unbeatable prices.

For instance, when I was there last month, all women’s jeans were just $4.99!  Banana Republic jeans that retail for $80+ dollars for just… $4.99.

They’re not always $4.99.  The prices vary and are always different every time I’m there.  Once, women’s jeans were $11.99, and another time they were a mere $1.99 a pair. (Wow!)  I’d say on average, though, they aren’t much higher than the $11.99 price.  Same for men’s jeans too.  You just never know what deal you’ll get, but shoot! It’s rare to find a pair of jeans at Walmart for only 12 bucks.

The clothing at the Gap Clearance Center is comprised of returns, overstock items, and some damaged goods.  Because sometimes a zipper might not work, a button is missing, or there is a small stain or rip, you need to be very careful before you decide to buy.  That said, I have found clothing with stains or rips, and I’ve bought them anyway.  After years of doing laundry and sewing for my family, I’m pretty good at deciphering what can be salvaged by a wash and a mend.

The store has clothing for men, women, children, babies, and also athletic apparel.  Depending on what time of year you go, sweaters, shorts, winter coats, bathing suits, and pajamas might be in stock.  Jeans, t-shirts, trousers, dress shirts for women, golf shirts for men,  kids clothing, shoes and accessories are always on the racks.

I’m always pretty amazed at the kind of things I can find for a rock-bottom price.  Most of the time, the store sales tag is still on the clothing item, so you can see exactly how much you’re saving.  For instance, I once bought a brown leather bomber-style Gap jacket for $30.  The original tag was for around $170-ish dollars; I know I wouldn’t have bought it at that price!

If I’m lucky, I’ll get to Cincinnati a couple times a year, and I always make a stop at the clearance center.  I can buy between 8 – 10 items apiece for each of the 5 people in my family and spend somewhere between $150 – $200 dollars total.  Even going twice a year, if I only spent $400/yr. to clothe my family, that’s incredible!

In fact, one year as I was taking the tags off the clothes to run them through the wash, I decided to add up what the full cost would have been, had I actually bought the clothing in the retail stores rather than the clearance center.  For a purchase of just under $200, I discovered I would have spent about $750 otherwise!

That’s what I call a bargain extraordinaire.

I like to shop for clothes.  My husband would rather I didn’t.

I like to save $$$.  My husband likes that I like to save $$$.

But honestly? He doesn’t mind that I shop for clothes at the Gap Clearance Center.

It makes us both happy.

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