How to shop Nordstrom on a budget (and still look fabulous)

by Emilie on November 1, 2012

This is Emilie here and if you haven’t picked it up yet from my posts, I love clothes and I love saving money. Nordstrom has helped me to do that and I can honestly say, I love my closet and spend way less than I used to when I shopped the clearance racks at the mall for clothes I never truly loved.

An example is my underwear. I used to buy it at Fred Meyer or Target. I hated it, it was terrible. I found a brand at Nordstrom that I love and I threw out all my underwear and got five pairs of the good stuff. Every year, I get a few new pairs at the Anniversary sale (when it’s almost 50% off) and I haven’t had a wedgie or panty-line since. Worth the investment. Proud to say I’m Wedgie-Free since 2008.

A few tips on shopping at Nordstrom

  • Everything always ships free and returns are free. Online returns can also be done in a store.
  • If something isn’t available in your size in the store, they will track it down and ship it to you for free and with a good attitude about it! The generous help is the most incredible part.
  • They are amazing about price adjustments. I have gotten an item and watched it go down in price over a few months span. Each time it goes down, I call the 800-number and they credit my card. In fact, because Melody loves me, she let me pick out her bridesmaid dresses several years ago. I paid full price and over the next six months the price went down repeatedly until it was only $29. They credited me each time it went down and I paid $29 for a bridesmaid dress. What?!?! Awesome!
  • If it isn’t available online, call the store. They usually can track it down in one of the stores and will ship it free to you.
  • Because of their generous and amazing return policy, this is the only place I’ll buy shoes. If they hurt my feet a month after I buy them, they return them. If they break a year after I buy them, they fix them. I recently scuffed my new boots and they spent 15 minutes cleaning them up and then taught me how to do it for the future.
  • They have a new focus on Nordstrom Rack stores. This means there are now Racks in more locations then they had in the past. They just opened one up at my small, local mall. The selection is good, the prices are similar to what you would see at their sales and it’s available all-year round. You’ll see brands discounted here that you won’t see discounted anywhere else. If you need a men’s suit, this is the ONLY place to go! Click here for Nordstrom Rack locations.

What about the sales?

The sales are predictable and easy to navigate. They even post the dates a year in advance. For example, I found this schedule for 2012 on their website. Every year the sales seem to happen about the same time. You can go to the FAQ page for current sale date information.

  • Half-Yearly Sale for Women and Kids – starts Wednesday, May 23
  • Half-Yearly Sale for Men – starts Friday, June 15
  • Anniversary Sale – starts Friday, July 20, ends Sunday, August 5
  • Half-Yearly Sale for Women and Kids – starts Thursday, 11/1
  • Half-Yearly Sale for Men – starts 12/25 online, and 12/26 in-store

The Half-Yearly sales are basically discounted merchandise on more seasonal items. For example, you will see summer/fall type items on the sale starting in November. The Anniversary Sale is pre-season items that aren’t being clearanced but are the fall/winter items available in summer at AMAZING prices. I buy almost all of my clothes and shoes in July at this sale.

Throughout the year, Nordstrom has items marked down throughout each department (usually always on one or two racks, not spread through the department) but during the Half-Yearly they pull it all out! Insider Tip: They usually actually put it out the few days before the sales starts. If you want the best pick of selection and sizes go early.

A few of the many brands I love (for the quality, price, style and fit) from Nordstrom:

Other things I love about Nordstrom besides the customer service, which is honestly INCREDIBLE:

  • Free inserts for your shoes and they’ll stretch them if they are too tight
  • Kids get free balloons every time you go in the kids department. It’s our first stop everytime we go to the mall.
  • My favorite place to meet a friend for lunch is Nordstrom Cafe. Great food, quick service and good prices.
  • Free gift with purchase of select cosmetic brands throughout the year
  • The unbeatable customer service! I think I’ve mentioned it many times already but it’s so amazing, it must be mentioned again.

Click here to do some shopping. Do you have any tips on shopping at higher-end stores and still getting good deals? Please share!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Trina November 1, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Great post, thanks Emilie! Very comprehensive! Now if only I had a Nordstrom’s nearby…

I also like their shoe department, which carries narrow widths that are difficult to find elsewhere.


Emilie November 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm

You don’t need one with free shipping to and from online! They have all the same stuff!


sara gilden November 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Thanks for the tips will definitely be checking this out!


Diana November 3, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Great tips! I love Nordies. They have had the best customer service ever since I can remember. Do you know how long the sale lasts? I’m trying to budget, and need to know how much time is left before the prices go up.


Emilie November 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm

The prices will never go up (like they do for the anniversary sale) but they will get sent to the Rack pretty soon (within a couple weeks). The prices will be about the same if it hits the rack. My sister (who used to be a manager) thinks within 1-2 weeks. Because it is more of a clearance, what will happen is the sizes/colors will just sell out. Hope that helps!


Diana November 5, 2012 at 2:39 am

Thanks, that does help! How lucky to have the inside scoop from a family member. 😉


Joyce Hawkinson March 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Nordstrom’s is the only store I know of that will do an intentional mismatch on show sizes for those of us with different size feet. And they still stand behind them just like any other shoe sale. So I can buy a Right 6W and a Left 8N, and walk without pain!


Jessica August 29, 2014 at 1:28 am

What are your thoughts on their Black Friday and after Christmas sales in comparison to their anniversary sale? 🙂 Thanks!


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