I joke with family and friends that JoAnn Fabrics is my happy place, my mothership, my escape. It is all those things and more! They have pretty much any fabric, craft supply, candy making mold, or twine that you could need. If you can't find me, that's probably where I am ; )
I have noticed over the years, however, that their prices have increased pretty significantly, particularly in regards to fabric. So it is imperative that you know how to shop here or you will spend WAAYYY too much money. Believe me!
Let me share the money saving tips that I have learned, to help you save money at JoAnn Fabrics.
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1. NEVER pay full price for ANYTHING at JoAnn Fabrics
It's just not necessary. They have very good rotating sales and are very generous with their coupons and various discounts. In general, don't buy an item unless it is at least 40% off. Sometimes you just need something and can't wait for a sale, but certainly use a coupon for heaven's sake!
2. Coupons, Coupons, Coupons!
You may already know that JoAnn Fabrics has a generous coupon program and policy. But did you know that you can use a different or unique coupon for each item that you purchase? Let's walk through how to do it....
Sign up in all the places!
Coupons can be obtained for use at Joann's in several places. Coupons are made available:
You should sign up to get coupons thru each of these avenues. Why do you ask? Because coupons obtained thru these different avenues have unique coupon codes and can be used in the same transaction!!!
Each of these avenues provides different coupons, but almost always have at least one 40% off regular price item coupon (very common coupon!) available. That means that you could potentially gather and use, 40% off regular price coupons for 4 items in one transaction. Score!
Each UNIQUE coupon can be used once per transaction
Not sure if a coupon is "unique"? Check the code under the coupon barcode. If that numeric code is different from the codes on your other coupons, then it is unique and you may use them all.
There is another huge advantage to doing this. Often, coupons are very specific and available for use only on a certain category of product (ie. cutting tools, thread, specific types of fabric, etc.). When you receive coupons from all 4 avenues, you are making sure that you are getting every possible coupon category available during that window of time.
% off Total Purchase Coupons
Total purchase coupons have a few more rules to know about and consider. These coupons either apply to regular price or regular & sale price items. You can determine which coupon you have, by looking for the small print below the 20% off your total purchase printed in the middle of the coupon. This example coupon states "Includes regular & sale-priced items".
Far and away the best deal you can find at JoAnn Fabrics, is to wait for an item to be on sale (30 to 50% off) and use a 20 % off total purchase coupon, that can be applied to sale priced items.
Any coupons that are used on this purchase, exclude that discounted item from the "total purchase".
For example: Let's say I purchased 3 yards of $10/yard fabric using a 50% off coupon, in addition to other items (cause goodness knows I never get outta this store with just 1 thing!). The $15 that will be spent on this particular item, will not be eligible for the total purchase coupon.
The same applies for the $___ off a $____ purchase coupon. You can use coupons on items in your transaction, but those items are excluded from the total purchase amount.
As if this wasn't enough coupon awesomeness, they also accept competitor's coupons!
A few things to know:
- The item purchased with a competitors coupon, must be an item carried at both stores.
- Category restrictions apply, similar to JoAnn's own specific coupons.
- You can use 1 coupon from each competitor per transaction.
- You cannot use Total % off Purchase coupons from competitors.
The two most commonly used competitor coupons available and used, are from Michael's Crafts and Hobby Lobby. You cannot use Michael's coupons on fabric at JoAnn's, since Michael's does not carry fabric in their stores. See point 1 above. Hobby Lobby always has a 40% off regularly price coupon available online or on their app.
Download the app for both Michael's and Hobby Lobby, and you will always have 2 additional coupons for use at JoAnn's!
Like all coupons, there are some exclusions. These exclusions are detailed on the coupons (in UBER small print that my almost 40 year old eyes can't make out) and also on their website.
Big take away, the following items are excluded:
- Gift cards & classes
- Sewing machines, irons & steamers
- Cutting & laminating machines
- Cricut machines
- Cameras & printers
- Certain brands (LEGO, Seen on TV, LOL, etc.)
3. SMILES Rewards Program
Another benefit of downloading the free JoAnn App, is the SMILES Reward Program that is tied to it. It's pretty easy to use.
Simply have the app barcode scanned when you go to the store and make a purchase. Missions and rewards are created specifically for you, based on your buying trends and habits.
It's a nice bonus rewards program, but not nearly as great as the generous coupon program and policies.
4. Discount Programs
There are several discount programs for different subsets of the population as well. Generally, these programs offer an additional 15% off every purchase, every day. Sign up for these discount programs, if you are eligible, for extra savings!
These are the current discount programs and general eligibility criteria:
- Current military, veterans, their spouses and/or dependent children
- Licensed teacher, certified/licensed childcare provider or homeschool teacher
- Current & Alumni members, parents, volunteers and 4H staff
- Girl Scouts
- Current troop leader, volunteer, member, Girl Scout Council staff member, parents of active members and lifetime Girl Scout members.
5. Senior Citizen Discount
Seniors who are 55 years of age or older, can shop Senior Citizen Discount Day to receive an additional 20% off your Total Purchase (includes regular, sale & clearance items). That's a pretty great deal!
No need to sign up, just show your state-issued photo ID for proof of age upon checkout.
6. In-store vs online shopping
JoAnn Fabrics wants you to shop in-store...
How do I know that? They only allow you to use 1 coupon code per online transaction. That is pretty crazy, considering they allow you to use almost an unlimited number in-store, depending on the current sale and promotion. They also charge $8 standard shipping on purchases less than $150 and $12 for orders over $150.
I have given in to their desire and shop in-store as much as possible to maximize my savings. I recommend you do the same, if you want to save as much money as possible...
7. Remnant Bin & Clearance Section
Some of the best deals in the whole store are in the Fabric Remnant Bins! Fabric remnants by definition, are pieces of fabric that are less than 1 yard in length. Items in the remnant bin, are AT LEAST 50% off the current sale price of the fabric in question.
You can get some GREAT deals on fabrics in this bin! I check the remnant bin every time I stop in. It's a great way to get really expensive home decor fabrics for CHEAP. I get all my throw pillow fabric here, since I can make a throw pillow with about 2/3 yard of fabric. This works for my style, since I am a "one pillow per fabric" kind of decorator and don't like things matchy-matchy.
Here is an example of a remnant purchase that I recently made. Everything you need to know is on the printed remnant tag, but be sure to wear your glasses....the print is SMALL!
This is a 29" cut (0.806 yard) of Anhu White Hopsack Linen (52" wide). You can see that it is a linen/rayon blend and the care instructions are also listed below the fabric info.
The regular price of this fabric is $14.99/yard and the price listed on the tag based on that, here $12.08. But that is not what you pay!
The day I purchased this, Hopsack Linen was 30% off in store. To calculate the purchase price, you first take 30% off the price listed on the tag (in this case $12.08). Then you take an additional 50% off that price, since all remnants are 50% everyday!
This fabric remnant cost me: $4.23
$12.08 - 30% (3.63) = $8.45
$8.45 - 50% (4.23) = $4.23
Unless you really know the ad well, it might be tricky to determine the price of certain remnants. When in doubt, it is AT LEAST 50% off the price listed. The awesome cutting counter ladies are also happy to get the price with their handy-dandy scanner.
You can find every type of fabric in this bin. I have bought velvets, linens, cottons, flannels, fleece and home decor fabrics for GREAT prices. Make a habit of checking this deal gold mine!
Also make a habit of checking the fabric clearance section. This is a harder job, since it is usually a much bigger section and is often quite messy and unruly. Fabrics are often not organized by type and it can be hard to look through everything. However, there are great deals to be had on larger cuts of fabric, for when you need big cuts and not remnants.
Watch out for advertisements regarding extra discounts on clearance fabrics. Usually that means that they have a BUNCH that they need to clear out and it may be worth a trip to check it out!
8. Use the Fabric Cutting Counter!
Yardage vs. Fat Quarters
Try to buy fabric by the yard vs by the fat quarter. Fat quarters are "quarters" of a yard of fabric which measures 18 inches x 22 inches and cost $2.49 each (regular price).
While you cannot have fabric from the bolt cut into a fat quarter for purchase, you can buy it across the entire width. You usually get a much better deal doing this and using a coupon.
For example, if you were to buy a $9.99/yard fabric with a 50% off coupon, you would pay the following:
- $2.50 for 1/2 yard
- $1.67 for 1/3 yard
- $1.25 for 1/4 yard
Don't be intimidated by the cutting counter, but do plan ahead! If you have a question, by all means ask the lovely folks who work this area of the store. They tend to know what they are doing and most of them are sewers with experience to answer your questions. I have become very friendly with my cutting counter ladies, they are great resources.
Make sure you have ALL the things that you need to have cut before you get a number and wait in line! Don't ask me why I mention this... : ) Remember elastics, trims or battings that need to be cut for purchase. I always forget to grab the trims and cordings!
If it is a busy day in store, grab your number for the cutting counter before you are ready and watch/listen carefully for your number. It can be a significant time saver on particularly busy days (Black Friday, ahem...).
9. Shop after the Holidays
What can I say, I grew up shopping sales. My mother taught me percentages and fractions during January and July Clearance shopping trips...so I am no stranger to clearance shopping strategies.
Like many retailers, JoAnn is quick to mark down it's seasonal merchandise. Usually starting mid-season, items will start to be clearanced for around 70% off regular price. These items get marked down to 75 to 90% off regular price, 5 days after the holiday.
If you are hoping to score a deal, be there the day after the holiday for your best chances....
10. JoAnn Calendar
Another great source of valuable coupons! These wall calendars are available for purchase in store, usually starting in December and available thru January.
In addition to being a fun, crafty calendar, it is FULL of coupons. There is a valuable coupon on the back of the calendar, one for each month of the year.
11. Learn the Sale Cycle Schedule
JoAnn Fabrics follows a pretty cyclical sale schedule, with regular campaigns that are offered thru the years.
Check out this Sale Calendar put together by the Krazy Coupon Lady, for a complete list of when certain items go on sale.
I find this to be an accurate representation of their sale schedule, based on my personal experience. It also can really help you plan your project list! I wait to buy my home decor fabrics for big projects (chair reupholster, draperies, etc.) until they are on sale AND I have a % off total purchase coupon. Luckily, since I get ALL the coupons, that is usually pretty easy to accomplish ; )
Did I miss anything?
What is your favorite JoAnn Fabric shopping tip?
Be kind & stay well,