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4. Check return policies

At both the J. Crew Factory and the regular J. Crew websites, returns cost $7.50. But not all discount sites share the same return policies as their retail siblings. For example, returns are free at Zappos.com but not at their 6pm.com outlet site. At AmericanFreight.com (this site merged with the old Sears Outlet) all sales are final. Also, while you can return online outlet merchandise to an outlet store, you typically can’t return it to the regular retail store.

​5. Seek out discount codes

Sites like RetailMeNot.com and CouponCabin.com can help you nab additional discounts. When I checked in January, several offers for Saks Off 5th popped up, including $20 off any purchase when you sign up for the retailer’s newsletter, and 25 percent off any Gap Factory purchase. Download the browser extensions of these sites and the deals will pop up automatically.​

6. Stock up!

Sometimes, you can find discontinued styles that you love at online outlets. When you do, grab them! Shopping expert Trae Bodge says she fell in love with a pair of Banana Republic pants that she found at a thrift shop and when she did a search online to get another pair, she found them at an online outlet. Score!​​

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