Sharon Mosley: Summer clearance racks can be like Christmas in July for savvy shoppers

When it's sale time, it's savings time. And when "Christmas in July" rolls around, it's time to give yourself and your family the gift of a little extra cash. Summer's waning, and fall's not quite here, but there are some things you can't go wrong with buying at bargain clearance prices to wear any time of the year.

• Scour the shoe sales. Shoes are basic necessities, and when you can find them on sale, snatch them up, especially if they are your favorite go-to brands. A new pair of shoes can make you feel like you've got a whole new wardrobe. The workhorse shoes like flats, pumps, sneakers, driving loafers and boots are always good deals. Sandals may be summer favorites, but if you've had your eyes on that pair of designer leopard print slides, now is the time to watch for end-of-season discounts. Pay close attention to all the BOGO deals out there. You still have a few months to wear them, and they'll be ready and waiting for you in your closet next year.

• Bring on the bags. Handbags, backpacks, totes and carry-alls - these are accessories that we rely on year after year. While the fashion trends are constantly changing, there are lots of classic shapes and styles that you can depend on forever - the ladylike top-handle satchel, the oversize slouchy hobo, the cross-body messenger bag, the sturdy leather backpack. Now is also the perfect time to stock up on beach bags, too. Take advantage of store coupons and customer reward points to save money on these everyday classics.

• Dig for the deals on denim. Another basic in most of our wardrobes, denim, especially jeans, don't change in style that much from year to year. Most of us do have a label we love, but when you find denim on sale, it may be a great time to try something new. This may be the time to let your teens splurge on that one pair of "Mom, I have to have those" jeans. Don't be afraid to pass up the bargains on summer denim shorts either. You can always trade in the flip-flops of summer for tights and ankle boots this fall.

• Dive into swimwear. If you've been squeezing into the same swimsuit for the last five years, take some time this summer to shop for new inspiration. Update swimwear wardrobes for the entire family. Add mix and match swim separates to stretch what you already wear on and off the beach or poolside. Get creative with cover-ups that you find on the sale rack. The popular kimono-style tops in flirty florals are easy to layer over swimwear or cropped jeans and tank tops later.

• Get ahead of the back-to-school rush. At the same time you're shopping the clearance sales, and you've got school-age kids, then think ahead. Many retailers are getting into the "Black Friday" spirit early, offering lots of deals for savvy shoppers who love a bargain. And who knows ... those graphic T-shirts for young boys and patterned rompers for girls that were the hit of the summer and promise to also be back-to-school favorites may be marked down even more.

• Work on workwear. Everyone loves scoping out bargains on "fun" summer clothes and accessories, but when we have to get back to work, our professional wardrobes are what we rely on. So, when you're shopping for deals, think about those basics that need to be replaced or refreshed in your everyday workwear. Staples like trench coats, white shirts, neutral-colored trousers, pencil skirts, tailored jackets and little black shift dresses are perennial classics. Find these classics on clearance, and maybe you can give yourself the gift of a few more days of vacation time ... and wear that new swimsuit you also found on sale.

To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at

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