*Know where to look for clearance. Most stores have their clearance items in the back of the store. Other stores, such as Wal-Mart, have their clearance items spread out. Holiday discounts are usually located in the front as a major display or in the back of the store along an "obscure" wall. Or my favorite, Kohl's, has clearance spread through out the store towards the outside perimeter of the store. (Sadly, I have a clearance route I take anytime I go to Kohl's
*The longer you wait after a holiday or a price reduction, the deeper the discount. However, it will also be more picked over. For example, I want to start collecting earrings for the different holidays but I am unwilling to pay full price. The earrings I bought today were 50% today at Target. A few days from now they may be 75% off, but they may be gone as well. This was the last of this particular set so I picked them up.
*Look for holiday (or everyday) items that can be used with a coupon. My favorite are the Christmas patterned Ziplocks after Christmas. I also used my Kohl's coupons to buy 4 Halloween/Thanksgiving wall hangings for $4.64. (Kohl's already is putting their fall/Thanksgiving home decor on clearance!) Target and Shopko are good places to brows the clearance section to use coupons on top of reduced prices.
*Look for holiday items that can be used anytime of the year. Today I picked up Kleenex's and baking liners for less than a dollar a piece. I won't care that my muffins have a skull on them in the middle of February. :) (I also picked up some pet toys. My cat's won't care they are playing with a bat and freaky looking skull!)
Total: $11.24 compared to $22.58+
***Be careful when buying food items on clearance. Make sure to check expiration dates. When I don't buy Zaycon meat, I often look for the meat that is reduced due to a near expiration date and then freeze it.