Navigating the maze of post-holiday bargains

January 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
With the economy showing no real signs of turning around, you may find deeper discounts than ever in your post-holiday shopping, but you have to know where look. Our favorite shopping goddess, Suzy Gershman, help us navigate the rebates, coupons, and bargain bins.

Suzy Gershman's book "Where to Buy the Best of Everything" is available in all major bookstores and on

Secret shopping deals
By Suzy Gershman

Hi guys and welcome to my secret shopping deals of January. Sure everyone knows there are markdowns in January, but the ones I want to tell you about are the hard to find or hard to cope with bargains, the best bargains, which sometimes aren't just out there lying in bins.

First off, let's talk about what I'm wearing on air. It's an Eileen Fisher cashmere sweater. Its after-Christmas price is $218 marked down from $358. You can get that discount at any department store, BUT if you go into an Eileen Fisher store, and there's one on Filmore Street (2216 Fillmore Street San Francisco, CA 94115. (415) 346-2133) -- you will get another 10 percent off PLUS you'll get points on your priorty club membership that leads to a subsequent discount in the store.

As for the handbag I show in the segment -- First I went to Neiman-Marcus where I fell for a $1,600 handbag marked down to about $350, before tax. I was ready to buy it but realized two things -- the straps didn't fit over my shoulder and the colors were fall. That's because it's fall merchandise that's being marked down -- duh! I understand that designer bags cost close to two grand these days, and this is significant savings, but to maximize my money I went online and found this w bag at -- it was shipped to me from Hong Kong for $30, it was $300 and it's a spring color that can be used all year 'round. This is a better buy.

You want a really good buy? Drive to San Rafael to Liquid Events where you can buy gifts for about $5 each. Sometimes less. Clothes and table top from Travel Smith, Red Envelope and other big names are piled up in bins and overflowing off tables. Pajamas were $10 a pair; wine stoppers were $5 each and when I went back for more, they were $1 each. I bought some organza gift baggies so that now I have a cache of house gifts, Valentine's presents and even gifts for next Christmas for a really pretty penny. The Travel Smith clothes were $5 a hanger and the second piece costs one penny. Honest! Go to to get all the info.

OK, get a look at this. I bought a VERY expensive pot at Bed, Bath & Beyond. The marked price was almost $200. I needed it for holiday cooking and I didn't have time to hunt around, so I used one of those 20 percent off coupons they mail you, or you can find in magazines, and bought it. I went back after Christmas and discovered, to delight and dismay, that this item is not marked down. The store didn't have any good sales and suggested that shoppers go to the Web sites of their favored manufacturers before shopping. They said discounts are coming from the makers, not the stores.

Finally, let's talk about rebates. I hate these things! I bought electronics and then spent hours with the codes, the photocopies, the box tops, the mail-ins and registered mail. Furthermore, in the fine print on the receipt I only had five days in which to file for the refund. It was a good thing that I checked! If you don't get an instant rebate at the time of purchase you may want to think twice about buying items that require mail-in rebates.

P.S. Don't forget to use any gift cards you have, especially while sales are on. If you haven't used a gift card by the end of February, chances are that you will never use it. There's more than $8 billion in unused store cards, so get shopping.