Memorial Day Deals You Can't Afford to Miss

Save on clothes, jewelry, and furniture this weekend.

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In addition to appreciating the military and grilling, Memorial Day is known for shopping—specifically, getting great deals. Whether you plan to rub elbows with fellow discount-seekers at the mall or click-and-shop from home, you can find some of the deepest discounts of the year this weekend. Here is your guide to the top six steals, as well as five strategies you can use to save anywhere.

The Gap. At the Gap, men's and women's shorts are marked down to $25. (They're usually priced from $36.50 to $49.50.) Over at sister store Old Navy, flip flops are going for $1 each on Saturday only. And at Banana Republic, shoppers will get 30 percent off all regularly priced purchases through Monday.

Macy's. You can find deals, including up to 50 percent off, on mattresses, furniture, clothes, and other items. Many sofas and outdoor furniture are marked an additional 10 percent off prices that were already marked down, so if you're trying to set up your backyard patio before grilling season officially kicks off, you're in luck. Jewelry, including diamond rings and bracelets, is also marked down by up to 50 percent. Online shoppers can get free shipping on orders over $99 by typing in the word "summer" at checkout.

Ann Taylor Loft. In addition to providing free shipping on online orders over $125, Ann Taylor Loft is also offering colorful tops for under $25 as well as discounts on skirts, dresses, and capris, so it's easy to reach that minimum to qualify. (Ann Taylor, meanwhile, is offering free shipping on orders over $150.)

Nike. Through Memorial Day, Nike is offering free shipping on all orders over $125. Brad's Deals reports that women's running jackets are an extra 25 percent off with the code 2FAST4U. That means the Slacker Running Jacket goes from its original $75 to the already-marked down $51.99, and then, with the extra 25 percent off, drops to $38.99.

Home Depot. The do-it-yourself home improvement store is offering a special military discount through next Wednesday. Customers with valid military IDs can get 10 percent off their purchases for a total savings of up to $200. The discount applies to all active duty personnel, reservists, retired service members, veterans and their immediate families.

Chrysler, Ford, and GM dealers. The big three auto makers are fighting slumped auto sales with a big push to move cars off the lots this weekend. The best deals can probably be found at the Chrysler dealers who were recently told that they must stop selling new Chrysler vehicles within a few weeks as part of the company's bankruptcy proceedings. Customers can take advantage of the fact that those dealers are under pressure to sell their remaining inventory quickly.

[Check out these 8 money-saving websites.]

If you have your eye on other retailers that aren't on this list, don't resign yourself to paying full price. Here are five ways to save at any store, even the ones not offering Memorial Day sales.

Check the newspaper. Some stores, including Target, aren't releasing any specific sale information until their weekend circulars are published in newspapers, for competitive reasons. So be sure to check out your local paper Saturday and Sunday mornings for the best deals.

Negotiate. When Marcia Brixey, author of The Money Therapist: A Woman's Guide to Creating a Healthy Financial Life, presented a 20 percent off coupon from another store to Macy's a few months back, the store manager agreed to honor it. With retailers so desperate for consumer sales, Brixey says, more stores are willing to accept coupons from competitors. If the store clerk is hesitant, Brixey recommends asking for the manager.

Search for free shipping. While many retailers advertise their free shipping deals on their homepages, others make it harder to find the correct code. Before clicking "complete," type the retailer's name and the phrase "free shipping" into a Web search. Much of the time, the results will direct you to a coupon code providing free shipping, or sometimes a hefty discount.