Sales used to be the crème de la crème for shoppers. You had access to items you were eyeing for months while treating your wallet to a little less heartbreak. But these days, a sale isn't enough. To be a smart shopper in the modern age, you need to be a discount code extraordinaire and have the inside scoop on all the hush-hush deals — we're talking an early heads-up on those mega, once-a-year blowouts (save to cart the night before!), and a knowledge of stores that secretly offer a gift with purchase, or that'll give you a discount on clothing with minor damages.
Unfortunately, the only way to extract these kind of insider-y secrets are through, well, insiders themselves. To crack the code on saving the most, we found five former retail employees who were willing to divulge a secret or two. In the intense race that is budget shopping, no tip is too small. Click on to learn how to get the most bang for your buck at places like J.Crew, Urban Outfitters, and more.