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Big Lots

10 surprising ways to save at Big Lots

Mike Timmermann July 17, 2017
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With more than 1,400 locations in 47 states, more and more Americans are discovering the value of Big Lots.

The discount chain known for its closeout buys says its mission is to provide shoppers with “surprises in every aisle, every day” by offering unexpected prices, items and brands.

Read more: Save $1,000+ with this 12-week money challenge

Big Lots: Everything you need to know to save money

What exactly will you find at Big Lots? A little bit of everything…

The retailer sells household staples like laundry detergent and paper towels, but you’re more likely to find once-in-a-lifetime deals in the furniture, home décor and seasonal departments.

Whether you’re on a tight budget or not, we all like to save money! Here’s how to do it at Big Lots:

1. Join the Buzz Club

Big Lots has a free rewards program called the Buzz Club. After you sign up, you’ll receive a $5 coupon to use on your first purchase of $15 or more. It can be redeemed in the store or online at BigLots.com.

Rewards club members also receive special offers and discounts, including occasional 20% off coupons.

Bonus tip: If you’re moving soon, watch for this 20% off coupon that may come in the mail after you file an official change of address with the United States Postal Service.

Big Lots 20% off coupon

Big Lots 20% off coupon

2. Scan the weekly ad

Before you head to the store, go online to check out the weekly circular. This is the #1 way to identify the best deals of the week because there’s no guarantee that store signage will be updated.

For example, I found spiral notebooks on sale for 17 cents a piece, but only the regular $1 price is posted.

This is a great reminder to bring your smartphone along wherever you shop. You can easily pull up the weekly ad from BigLots.com and do a quick Google search to compare prices.

Here are a few of the great deals from the July 15 to July 22 ad:

17-cent spiral notebooks

17 cent spiral notebooks at Big Lots

Any size Just Home bed-in-a-bag for $29.99

2-liter Coca-Cola products for 88 cents

3. Follow the red clearance signs

Many traditional retailers have just one clearance section in the back of the store, but clearance items can be found all over the place at Big Lots. Look high and low for the big red signs!

Wall art for around $10

Clearance art

Candles starting at $1.50

Clearance candles

$1 makeup and beauty items

Big Lots makeup clearance

4. Cheap baked goods

Bread from brands like Pepperidge Farm, Arnold, Thomas’ and Nature’s Own cost between $1.20 and $1.80 at Big Lots.

According to in-store signage, the reduced-price bakery items may not be as fresh as those sold in grocery stores, which explains why most of them were approaching their sell-by dates.

Big Lots clearance bread

5. Clearance food rack

A lot of people love shopping at Big Lots for the cheap groceries! I discovered a rack of clearance dry goods next to the refrigerated cases that had everything from cake mix to chips and even Christmas cookies.

Again, check those expiration dates. The Christmas cookies had a September sell-by date.

clearance christmas cookies

6. Seasonal clearance

Located in the back of the store, Big Lots’ clearance section is a great place to come across hidden treasures. In July, patio sets, beach chairs, umbrellas, bird feeders and plastic drinkware were 25% to 50% off.

Later in the summer, some merchandise will drop to 75% off to make way for new inventory.

Bistro set for $64.99

7. Refurbished merchandise

Nearly all of the merchandise at Big Lots is brand new, but I did find a few exceptions in the home department. These refurbished Bissell vacuum cleaners start at just $35.

8. This Item Only!

If you see one of these “This Item Only!” stickers, you know you’re getting a great deal. I picked up this Crock-Pot for $9.99, down from a regular price of $19.99. These items are sold as-is and sales are final.

This item only big lots

9. Aisles and endcaps

Like other off-price retailers, you can find many of those one-time closeout deals in the center aisles and endcaps. Need your pumpkin spice fix year-round? Big Lots has 96 single serve brew cups for $18.75, less than 20 cents a cup.

big lots kcup sale

pumpkin spice k-cups

10. Furniture finds!

If you want to give your living room a fresh new look, Ikea certainly isn’t your only affordable option. This $299 faux leather sofa is pretty comfortable! Keep an eye out for furniture items with either price cut and clearance signs on them.

$299 sofa

Important: No manufacturer coupons

Big Lots doesn’t generally accept manufacturer coupons or discounts, so you may be able to find a lot of those household and pantry staples for less at Walmart and Target — but the closeouts can be incredible deals.

Frequent shoppers plan their trips to Big Lots around those 20% off store coupons, so sign up for the Buzz Club to get them!

Online ratings aren’t telling you the whole story!

Check out more from our Michael Saves series:

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Michael Timmermann paid off his mortgage in two years. Now, he shares his money-saving tips on his blog, Save on Almost Everything.
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