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This Is How Much Money People Really Save with Employee Discounts

Inside the shadowy world of employee perks

Unless you've worked in retail yourself, there are some things you'll just never understand about the job. For example, what it's like to listen to a store's playlist on a nightmarish loop, how to fold clothing with military precision, and what it truly means to live by the motto "the customer is always right." There's also that whole thing about having an employee discount.

While it doesn't happen everywhere, most stores reward employees with incentives like a percentage off. In some cases, those job perks can add up to saving serious cash, but in other stores, the discounts won't make much of a dent in your spending. And after researching the employee discounts at stores like Target, Gap (and all of its sister stores!), Barnes & Noble, REI, and more, we can tell you exactly which ones are worth looking into.

At 10 percent off, Target's employee discount is on the lower end of the spectrum, but considering staff can use it on anything from new shoes to this week's groceries, it stacks up pretty well—especially because some products get bigger discounts. With Target's "wellness initiative," staff get an extra 20-percent off healthy items like fresh or frozen produce, items from Simply Balanced (Target's food line emphasizing organic products and fewer ingredients), and C9 activewear. (For more of an inside scoop on everyone's favorite bullseye brand, learn the 30 Amazing Secrets Target Managers Don't Want You to Know.)

If fashion is more your thing, you might get the most bang for your buck by working at Gap or any one of its sister stores. Employees at each of these stores (Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Intermix) get up to half off at Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic, and 25-percent off at the athletic-wear store Athleta. Meanwhile, H&M and Topshop/Topman discounts are on par with Athleta's: 25 percent off. Employees at Nordstrom, as well as their dependents, enjoy a 20-percent off discount (some managers receive 33 percent), and those who work at Brooks Brothers enjoy a 60-percent off discount. At those prices, there's no shame in revamping your wardrobe every season!

Outdoorsy types might be excited to hear REI's employee discount. Workers get half off REI Co-op clothes and gear, plus 30-percent off non-store-brand items and 10-percent off sale items. Considering how pricey sports gear can get, that could mean saving some serious cash. For their time off, employees are also entitled to between 10- and 30-percent off trips through REI Adventures. Employees at Dick's Sporting Goods receive a less competitive discount of 25-percent off.

More inclined to cozy up with a good book? You'll want to consider a gig at Barnes & Noble, where staffers get 30-percent off. There are a few exclusions—like gift cards, electronic gaming products, and textbooks—but the fact that the discount also applies to the cafés makes up for it. "I use my discount in the café pretty much every time I work, and maybe once a month or so on the book floor," one Barnes & Noble employee from Pennsylvania told Best Life.

If you're job-hunting (or convincing your kid to apply so you can get the benefits), it's worth investigating exactly how big a discount the store can offer. You just might benefit from following the money—or money saved, in this case. And if you're just looking to save more in general, check out the 40 Ways to Save 40 Percent of Your Paycheck.

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