Read this before you buy kitchen items from HomeGoods

If you haven't walked through the aisles of HomeGoods, it's time to make a trip. This discount retailer (and sister store of TJ Maxx and Marshalls) is stuffed full of all the things you need for your home, from artwork and pet supplies to furniture and kitchen items. Whether you're in the market for new dishware or a French press coffee maker, HomeGoods is likely to have what you're looking for.

But just because the retailer is known to have steep discounts on popular items, that doesn't mean you should fill up your shopping cart and pull out your credit card without a second thought. According to Apartment Therapy, stores like HomeGoods get new shipments of merchandise four days a week, and its stock is always changing, so you need to keep a few things in mind before you head inside. By using insider tips and smart shopping strategies, you can give your kitchen a makeover for a fraction of what you might pay at other stores — just try to avoid those impulse purchases.

Make sure you're looking deep on the shelves at HomeGoods

When a big shipment of products comes in, HomeGoods employees generally do their best to stock shelves appropriately, putting dishware with dishware and coffee supplies with coffee supplies. But when you're just trying to make room for new products and you're dealing with limited space, disorganization is often the name of the game. It's not unusual for smaller items to be pushed behind larger items. This means that shopping at the discount retailer is often a bit like starting an Easter egg hunt. According to House Beautiful, if you're not searching to the very back of the shelves, especially in the kitchenwares section, you very well might miss out on some hidden gems.

Of course, this type of deep search takes longer to execute successfully, so you do need to allow an appropriate amount of time. If you're really hoping to seek out the best possible products, try focusing on just the kitchen section (it's easy to get distracted), and allow time to look carefully through each shelf, front to back. 

Search all over the store at HomeGoods

Even though you'll want to focus closely on the kitchen section when doing your deep-dive HomeGoods search, before you get started, it's worth doing a quick tour of the entire store to see if there are kitchen items on display in other areas.

For instance, look around the furniture section or outdoor area to see if there are cups or serving dishes displayed on top of tables. HomeGoods employees often use some of the cutest kitchenware, including placemats and drinkware, to stage the furniture around the store. For instance, the Instagram page HomeGoodsObsessed snapped a shot of a beautiful display bowl that's perfect for holding fruit on top of a coffee table, as well as a glass canister that could be used as a cookie jar, even though it's displayed with the furniture.

And while you're at it, don't forget to check out the seasonal and wall art sections. If your focus is on the kitchen, you don't want to spend too much time searching the shelves in these areas, but you might find the perfect seasonal mugs or a cute food-focused wall hanging to complement your decor. 

Use the HomeGoods app to see what the local deals are

It's a bit of a bummer that HomeGoods doesn't offer an online store. This may be due in part to the store's merchandise always changing (and the fact that it isn't identical store-to-store). But according to House Beautiful, HomeGoods does offer an app called The Goods that's available on the App Store and Google Play.

It doesn't get the best reviews, so the functionality is "meh," but it does enable you to follow stores near you. Each HomeGoods store is updated with photos of some of the new products to hit the shelves, so even if you're not planning a trip, you can get a preview of the types of items that you can find in-store. And if by chance the store uploads an image of something on your kitchen wish list, like the perfect set of nesting bowls, you can swoop in and try to grab a set before it's sold out.

Be wary of cheap kitchen supplies at HomeGoods

It's important to point out that HomeGoods sells highly reputable kitchen brands, including Le Creuset, KitchenAid, and Kate Spade, all for discounted prices. So before heading to a standard retailer for a new set of pots and pans (which can easily set you back hundreds of dollars), it's worth swinging through HomeGoods to see if they've got the set you're lusting after for a better price. 

That said, the online publication Reviewed warns against purchasing some of the less-expensive kitchen tools from unknown brands that are available at the store. The writer's point is that while these products are sometimes cute or inexpensive, they may ultimately lack the functionality you're looking for. Items like knives and can openers could break or fail to function smoothly much sooner than expected, ultimately making the cheap price a bad deal. There's a reason why high-quality kitchen brands have earned their reputation (and can charge a pretty penny): They actually work.

So, if you don't recognize the brand name of the kitchen tool you're purchasing at HomeGoods, proceed with caution. Look for reviews online and ask yourself if saving a few bucks is worth it if the product stops working.

You can always ask for a deeper discount at HomeGoods

There's no denying that prices at HomeGoods tend to beat the prices you'd find on the same items elsewhere. But that doesn't mean you can't score an even better deal on a new set of dishes or a small kitchen appliance. In an Apartment Therapy interview with a HomeGoods "super shopper" Christine Lee of the Instagram account @HomeGoodsObsessed, Lee points out that even a little bit of damage to a product can result in a deeper discount. 

These discounts come at the manager's discretion and range from ten to 28 percent, depending on how much damage there is. You can even ask for discounts on items on clearance — if someone's willing to buy a slightly dented teapot, that helps clear the store of older merchandise to make way for new products. 

Lee also says highlights the store's markdown system. Markdowns happen every three months, and labels indicate when the product first arrived by listing the numerical value of the month and year. This gives you an easy way to calculate when markdowns are scheduled to take place. For instance, if a label includes the numbers 0318, it arrived in-store March 2018. So if you're shopping in May of the same year, you know the next scheduled markdown will be in June. Use this to your advantage and ask the manager if they'll offer an early discount if the product you're looking to buy is about to receive its three-month markdown.

Cross-reference prices with online stores before buying from HomeGoods

Generally speaking, you can feel confident that the Kitchenaid mixer you're coveting at HomeGoods is a better deal than the one you'd find online, but that's not a hard-and-fast rule. A writer at Hip2Save offers a good tip to make sure you're getting the best prices, whether you're shopping at HomeGoods or TJ Maxx (they're sister stores, so the policies are basically the same).

All you have to do is download the Amazon app to your phone. Then, when you pick up the rice cooker you've been eyeing, simply open up the Amazon app and use its barcode scanner to scan the barcode of the product you're interested in. Assuming Amazon sells the product, it'll pull up the pricing on Amazon. And just like that, you can comparison shop because, generally speaking, Amazon has similar prices to other big retailers like Target and Walmart. So if the price you find on Amazon is equal to or more than the price at HomeGoods, you know you're scoring a great deal.

Shop the checkout line for plates and other seasonal items at HomeGoods

It's easy to overlook the checkout line when doing your HomeGoods shopping, but according to an HGTV article, that's a mistake. The editors actually suggest starting your next HomeGoods shopping trip at the checkout line due to the types of kitchen supplies and food items you just might score. 

For instance, seasonal melamine plates or other fun but inexpensive items, like reusable straws or wine glass markers, are often displayed in this "impulse buy" section. But if you know you're in the market for these items because you're about to host a party or event, looking through the checkout line first actually could expand your selection. Go ahead and throw the best kitchen items into your basket before you tour the rest of the store.

If you end up deciding you don't need them, or you find something better, you can just put them back when you walk through the line to purchase the items you do want to buy. Really, it ends up being a more efficient shopping strategy all-around. 

Buy decorative kitchen items from HomeGoods

In a HomeGoods "haul" posted to YouTube by Sarah Ashley Spiegel, the lifestyle influencer pointed out that HomeGoods offers excellent deals on kitchen decor items, especially functional pieces like serving trays that can be used to, you know, serve people with, or to display candles, drinkware, or expensive bottles of alcohol. Spiegel herself suggested using serving trays to group olive oils, seasonings, and fancy salts, all of which you can also find at HomeGoods or its sister stores, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. 

Of course, serving trays aren't the only decorative kitchen items you can find at HomeGoods. Look for crystal serving bowls or carafes, cute wine bottle stoppers, or decorative trivets. All of these items serve a functional purpose, but instead of buying something purely functional, you might be able to score an extra-cute decorative item you can't easily find elsewhere. 

The only downfall to shopping for items like this at HomeGoods is that you might get caught up in impulse buying, racking up a bigger bill than you want. Instead, try keeping a running list of items you're in the market for — things you don't need but that you might want to buy if you find the perfect item to fit your decor. Then, when you shop at HomeGoods, simply pull out your list and keep your eyes peeled. You never know what you might end up finding.

Shop at HomeGoods during the weekdays to find the best selection

One of the best ways to score killer kitchen deals at HomeGoods is to make sure you're shopping on the days that new products are being stocked and that you're viewing them before they get picked over by other deal hunters. Kris Jarrett of Driven by Decor points out that weekdays are generally the best bet, as weekends tend to be packed, leaving shelves a little more bare and employees a little more busy, preventing them from restocking new items.

Regan from Blooming Nest agrees, pointing out that Tuesday through Friday mornings are the best time to search for your pots, pans, and other HomeGoods deals because most restocking takes place on weekday evenings. That means the early morning crowd gets to see what was put on the shelves the night before. But if you absolutely have to shop on a weekend, show up right as the store opens on Saturday morning — you may get first dibs on a cute measuring cup set that got put out on Friday night. 

Don't skip the groceries at HomeGoods

You probably don't think of HomeGoods when it comes time to restock your refrigerator, but writer Hali Bey Ramdene of the Kitchn cites HomeGoods as one of the best places to go when you want specialty food items. While she notes that different stores stock different items, you're bound to find specialty oils, coffees, seasonings, and snacks. And not only are these items often discounted from the prices you'd find at other stores, but you'll often find things you don't see just everywhere. For instance, Ramdene points out she relies on HomeGoods for special (often impulse) buys like pink Himalayan salt, sour cherry jam, truffled salt, harissa, and pumpkin curd.

The other section Ramdene can't live without is HomeGoods' snacks, which she always loads up on before having company over. She notes that HomeGoods often stocks "quirky" cookies and biscuits and imported sodas, which can make for a fun party platter of flavors. 

If you're not sure if you want something at HomeGoods, buy now, return later

Even though you probably shouldn't overspend on kitchen items you're not 100 percent sure you need, HomeGoods isn't the place to shop if you're relying on predictable inventory. It's not like Target where you can browse one day, think about what you want, and return the next day to pick up your new indoor grill. The good stuff goes fast, and there's no guarantee that once it's gone it will ever return.

That's why Regan of Blooming Nest says if you're on the fence about those sparkly champagne glasses, you're better off putting them in your basket and purchasing them the day you find them. Even if you get home and decide you don't need them, you can return them (with your receipt) for up to 30 days. And that's better than going home, realizing you really do want a new set of pastel-colored mixing bowls, only to return to make a purchase and discover someone else scooped them up before you. 

But if this type of shopping is tricky for you, here's another idea: Put every item you're considering into your basket as you shop. You can think about what you actually want and need and calculate the total amount you're considering spending as you continue to shop. Then, when it comes time to check out, you can reconsider what you've selected and pare down what you don't really want or need.

Remember, HomeGoods is a sister store of Marshalls, which does offer online shopping

HomeGoods doesn't offer an online store, which admittedly is a bit of a bummer if you love online shopping. That said, Marshalls, a HomeGoods sister store, does offer online shopping. This means that many of the same types of kitchen products you can find in-store at HomeGoods you can also find listed on Marshalls' online store.

For instance, an article on Delish pointed out that Marshalls often stocks functional kitchen items like air fryers and All-Clad non-stick cookware sets, as well as cute decorative kitchen products like wine glasses, baking molds, Kate Spade coasters, and cutting boards. While shopping online at Marshalls won't give you the same "going on an Easter egg hunt" feel you'll get by walking the aisles at HomeGoods, it will give you a good idea of the types of products you're likely to find in-store.

Use HomeGoods' social media for inspiration

If you're not a party planner or an interior designer, it can be tough shopping at stores like HomeGoods because the merchandise selection is so broad. Even though you know the prices are good, you may not know exactly how or when you'd use a cheese board or set of drink dispensers. That's where HomeGoods' social media channels come in handy. You can follow the company on Instagram and Facebook.

The brand's social channels feature photos of beautiful home interiors designed to show off the types of products people can find in-store at Homegoods. So if you're not sure how you'd put a pink tea set to use, HomeGoods has an idea for that. Or if you're not sure what items you need to set the perfect Thanksgiving table, HomeGoods breaks it down for you on Facebook.

While you're at it, you can also set up alerts to follow the #homegoodsfinds hashtag too. This gives you the chance to see what other people have found at HomeGoods and how they're putting their finds to use. For instance, there's a cute coffee bar display by @our.connecticut.home and a skeleton-hand wine glass that's put to good use by @mamacicotta. You just never know what type of inspiration you might find.