10 Tips and Tricks for Saving at Kohl's

With school starting and the seasons changing, now is the time to start turning over your closet and getting the house ready for fall. This needn't be a costly endeavor, especially if you patronize the regular frugal haunts. The following tips and tricks can help maximize your savings when shopping at Kohl's.

Sign up for a Kohl's credit card.

If you can handle a credit card judiciously -- that is, pay it off every month -- the Kohl's Charge Card is a good way to go. Kohl's frequently rewards cardholders by mailing coupons worth discounts of 15, 20, and 30 percent. In fact, the coupons arrive with such frequency that you should not have to shop without one. Even non-cardholders receive mailed coupons, just not as often or for as much of a price cut.

Earn and use Kohl's Cash.

How we love Kohl's Cash. If you can, shop during a Kohl's Cash promotion (they happen quite often) and then return during the specified spending period to use the Kohl's Cash for huge savings. For every $50 in spending you get $10 in Kohl's Cash.

Ask for a scratch-off.

Forget your coupon? No problem. When you get to checkout, ask the cashier for a scratch-off. The cashier will let you scratch a coupon for savings of 15, 20, or 30 percent. Never check out at Kohl's without using a coupon or asking for a scratch-off.

Shop online and save big.

Even without a 30 percent-off coupon, you can cash in on the discount by shopping online. Kohl's posts the same percent-off coupons online as the mailers that go out, so search online for a 30 percent code and use that for your Kohl's shopping. Then, sweeten the deal by finding a free shipping code, and all together you've saved time and money.

Shop through the in-store online kiosk.

No discussion about shopping online at Kohl's would be complete without mentioning the in-store online kiosk. "Let's say you're in the store trying on clothes and found an outfit you wanted but didn't get a 30 percent-off coupon in the mail -- but you did find an online coupon code for 30 percent off," says Kyle James of RatherBeShopping.com. "Just take your outfit up to a kiosk, scan it, and use the online code to score your 30 percent off. Then the kiosk will mail the outfit for free to your house." Because the kiosk draws from a large online inventory, James notes, this Kohl's savings tip is particularly helpful if the store doesn't have your size.

Don't pay shipping.

It's pretty easy to find a free shipping code online when shopping at Kohl's, but there are two other ways to avoid shipping costs: Go into the store and order from the in-store kiosk, as described above, or meet the online purchase requirement, which currently sits at $75, to qualify for free standard shipping.

Look for the "sale" signs.

This is a no-brainer for frugal shoppers, but the "sale" signs at Kohl's really matter. James says he believes Kohl's slightly inflates prices in order to run near constant sales, so plucking items from the sales racks really adds to your savings. We especially like the Gold Star Clearance racks, which are marked with a gold star and offer reductions of 60 percent or more.

Here's an insider tip: You can tell something about the type of sale by the digital price marker. "Specifically, in the upper-right-hand corner you'll see a two-letter code," James explains. "GV equals Great Value and is a limited-time price drop. S equals Sale, which is a one- to two-week sale. But the Holy Grail at Kohl's is the NM, which stands for New Markdown." An anonymous Kohl's employee told James NM means the retailer will mark down the price of that item either that night or the following morning, giving you advance notice so you can plan your shopping to maximize savings at Kohl's.

Mix and match coupons and discounts.

Kohl's is the place for stacking discounts and coupons. If, for example, you find something on the 60 percent-off sales rack and then use your 30 percent-off coupon, you get a whopping 90 percent discount on that item.

Shop weekend mornings.

It's no secret that Kohl's regularly drops prices for the weekend warriors (er, shoppers), so Saturday and Sunday shopping at Kohl's is bound to increase savings and provide the best selection on the sales racks. But there's more. James reports on his blog that the second and fourth Saturday mornings in each month are plum shopping times, when Kohl's marks down the most merchandise for the biggest savings.

Don't bother: women's shoes, handbags, fine jewelry, and home decor.

As with most frugal shopping destinations, there are some things that just aren't worth the money at Kohl's. With women's shoes, handbags, fine jewelry, and home decor items, cheaper prices can be found at other retailers; Target for home goods, for example, or Marshalls and DSW for designer shoes. Additionally, James says that kids clothing is often well-priced at Kohl's but his family has had better luck in terms of price and quality at Ross, Marshalls, and Old Navy.