Here are the tips that even your friends won't share with you. 

HomeGoods, the savvy Southern lady’s answer to stylish living on a budget, is tops on your Saturday must-do list. As you drive over to the Big Box bastion of chic-bargains with Starbucks in hand wearing carefully selected athleisure attire and your meanest deal-seeking game face, you think: “If Sally from next door scored those $900 ceramic gourd lamps for $80 -- when she wasn’t even looking -- who knows the goodies that I will find since I’m actually looking. Maybe I’ll finally find that set of eight dining chairs that’s been on my list.”

Heart racing, palms sweaty, you swing open the doors, grab your buggy and are instantly overwhelmed–and frozen. A forced stroll through the store and all you see is junk. You now doubt everything that Sally said. “What a farce,” says you’re dejected inner voice. Relax. Sally didn’t lie completely, she just over simplified. Here’s the secret strategy that Sally kept to herself.

  1. Don’t go on a Saturday or a Sunday. That’s their busiest time. If possible, go on a weekday. Most stores get shipments on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that is when the inventory will be the freshest.
  2. Manage your expectations. Yes, you can find great bargains on home accessories particularly bedding, lamps, picture frames and rugs. If you’re looking for that statement-making piece like the table for your dining room, HomeGoods should not be tops on your list.
  3. Have a wish list and an open mind. Know what you really need, but more importantly know what you really do not need. As I said before, you’re going to be overwhelmed by the variety of goods so don’t let that $39.99 white enamelware Dutch oven convince you that you need a third Dutch oven. That’s plain stupid. However, it’s easy to find extra shelf space for 8 stemless Riedel wineglasses for $24.99 even though you came for baskets.
  4. Read labels carefully. HomeGoods carries panoply of little known brands and companies. A lot of times these are still first-rate products. Do your shopping homework to suss out if it’s a quality product: read the label (Where is it made? What is it made of?); do a feel test; and give it a quick Google search.
  5. Be ready to buy. The inventory turns over quickly so this isn’t a place where you can hem and haw over an item. Luckily, they have a pretty reasonable return policy.

Take some tips from these girls for a high-end look at HomeGoods prices.