Shopping for Less
A Site for Great Deals
When Jody Mace, forty-four, and her husband found themselves in a financial bind, they turned to coupons. But Mace took it a step further, launching a website designed to provide savvy Charlotte shop- pers with the best deals in town. Since 2008, CharlotteontheCheap.com has offered details on free jazz concerts and beer tast- ings alongside deals on diapers and even quirkier freebies like “free burger at Red Robin if your name is Jim.”
“After my husband lost his job, we had to live on less, but we still wanted be involved in the community,” says Mace. She came across Atlanta on the Cheap and contacted its found- er. Soon, other cities—Houston, Madison, Miami, and Wichita—started sites too. “One of the most unusual things I ever wrote about was a guy in Rock Hill who was building coffins and selling them for $300,” says Mace. “And one Mother’s Day there was a tattoo shop on North Tryon Street giving all moms a free tattoo.” The site offers details on area farmers markets and an extensive roundup of all the daily-deal offers (such as Groupon, Living Social, and their imitators). Mace says the most popular section is a weekly blog post she fills with free events. “If I’m just a few hours late on a Sunday, I get emails from people saying, ‘I don’t know what to do this week!’” she says. —V. B.
Retail stores aren’t flea markets, but that doesn’t mean you can’t haggle. From work clothes to haircuts, price tags are often just a jumping-off point. Negotiators say the key is to get to know people. Treat clerks like you’d want to be treated and kindly ask if there are mailer coupons or preferred-customer discounts you can use. Especially at off-price apparel and home fashion retailers, if an item is missing a button, comes in poor packaging, or is a floor model, don’t be shy to request a discount. Bottom line: you never know until you ask, and the worst that can happen is you’re told no. —V.B.
These three popular Dilworth boutiques break out the big-time discounts once a year. Don’t miss out
- On the first Saturday of June each year, Cottage Chic’s Sidewalk Sale features past-season clothing, discontinued linens, candles, and body products for 25 to 75 percent off, plus tables full of assorted goodies for $5 and $10. 704-375-1888
- Score 50 to 75 percent off vintage finds and new merchandise, like lamps, furniture, and home décor accessories, at design haven Luxe Home Couture’s yearly Flea Market. The sale, which happens at a different time each spring, will be announced closer to the date. 704-370-2644
- Paper Skyscraper’s Annual Summer Sale represents a full-on housecleaning for the store. Discontinued, scratched, and dented items are marked down 50 to 75 percent, and select in-store items, like Thymes bath and body products and picture frames, are 30 percent off. 704-333-7130
They don’t come much bigger than these big sales. Mark your calendars now
At the Charlotte Motor Speedway Black Friday sale, when you spend at least $50 on race tickets or paraphernalia from the more than fifteen NASCAR souvenir haulers or donate $25 to Speedway Children’s Charities, you can put the pedal to the metal (in your own car) for three laps on the track. charlottemotorspeedway.com
It only happens at select times each spring and fall, but when the Charlotte Warehouse Sale opens its doors, you should be there, saving big (like 75-to-90-percent-off big) on women’s, juniors’, and kids’ clothing and accesso- ries by the likes of Tahari, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and more. Specific dates announced closer to the sale. charlottewarehousesale.com
When the calendar strikes October, throw on your Halloween costume for Charlotte’s annual Habitat for Humanity Fall Festival, where you can fill up a bag with books (there’s a tent full of 8,000 hardback, paperback, fiction, nonfic- tion, and children’s to choose from) for $25 and enjoy a free hay maze and face painting. Specific date announced closer to the time. habitatcharlotte.org
In these tough times, local consignment shops are overflowing with great stuff. It can take semiregular stops to find the best stuff, but here are eight great places to add to your must-visit list
Who Shops: Dilworth label lovers willing to shell out some extra dough, but not as much as the designer originally demanded.
We Found: A brand new, sequined Alice and Olivia dress for $99
Location: 2400 Park Rd, 704-375-1334
Who Shops: Plaza Midwood hipsters along with uptown office- workers looking to add vintage to their closets.
We Found:Two vintage, 1940s mink and rabbit hair fur coats for $200 each
Location: 1521 Central Avenue, 704-372-2300
Who Shops: Central Avenue’s artsy crowd, clad in edgy attire and hunting for everything bygone.
We Found: A pair of retro Tony Lama men’s snakeskin and tooled leather boots for $75
Location: 1514 Central Avenue, 704-334-0538
Who Shops: Elizabeth locals and Junior League supporters on a dual mission to land deals and help fund community initiatives.
We Found: Mint-condition Coach handbags for $35-$59
Location: 1117 Pecan Ave, 704-377-1854
Who Shops: East Boulevard boutique loyalists alongside Myers Park moms and style socialites perusing barely worn, recycled (designer) riches.
We Found: Diesel dark denim wash, straight leg jeans with fresh tags for $59
Location: 1222 East Boulevard, 980-613-8395
Who Shops: South End fashionistas loyal to this spot and its always-replenished array of designer finds
We Found: A pair of vintage Chanel earrings for $199.50
Location: 300 East Blvd # 2, 704-372-0002
Who Shops: South Charlotte style mavens hunting for Juicy Couture handbags and home furnishings
We Found: Leather Tory Burch loafers for $98
Location: 8145 Ardrey Kell Rd #101, 704-443-7987
Who Shops: Park Road shoppers privy to this somewhat under-the- radar shopping center gem
We Found: A houndstooth coat by Coach for $295
Location: 4301 Park Rd # D, 704-527-2211