Why it is that every time I go to buy a $5.99 white t-shirt I ended up walking out of H&M with two shopping bags of sweaters, blazers and a $275 receipt? We’ve all been there. Assuming that this is exactly what the fast-fashion magnet wants from their customers, I dug deep into the roots of this issue to learn more about this potential conspiracy.

Just like any chain store, there has to be a smarter way of shopping and I needed to find out how to maximize my shopping efforts and help out my wallet before my closet exploded and my bank account went dry.

I took my questions straight to the source and scored an interviewed with an H&M insider. Here are 5 things I learned that H&M doesn’t want you to know.

1. Stick to the Basics

H&M is my go-to store for basics; a white t-shirt, a black henley and an occasional man-ccessory. If a cheap white t-shirt is all you need, focus on that rack and don’t be thrown off by fancy displays and other more costly items within reach. H&M will purposely blend the $5.99 t-shirts with the $49.99 shirts in hopes to distract you, so avoid the temptation and stay focused.

2. It’s On Clearance For a Reason

Was it overpriced to begin with? Did no one want it in the first place because it’s a whack-ass color? Is it already out of style? It is out of season? If I buy it for fall next year will it still be in style then? These are questions you need to ask yourself when you hit the bargain racks.

3. Never Pay Full Price

As mentioned above, shopping the clearance racks might not be the smartest thing, but that’s still no excuse to pay full price. At H&M, you have the opportunity to save an additional 15% off of your entire purchase everyday, a little known fact for many customers. Simply bring in an unwanted item from home that you are no longer wearing, and donate it in their recycle bins. It can literally be any textile … a sock, a pillowcase, or a pair of pants you found in your front yard. You’ll earn 15% off your entire purchase, and even a higher percentage off in April for Earth Day.

4. Avoid the Front of the Store

Upon entering the store, close your eyes to resist the new item displays and head for the middle and back of the store. Not only is new full-priced merchandise placed in the front, but also sale items in the front of the store were intended to be on sale in the first place! These are known to H&M insiders as “top priority products” in which multiple size runs and quantities are brought in for the sole purpose of being part of an eye-catching sale display. Keep on moving to the back!

5. Avoid Goods in the Check Out Line

Just like a kid in the grocery store check out lines grabbing candy bars then throwing a tantrum when mom says no, the H&M check out lines are no different. Don’t be that asshole kid. Act your age and resist the temptation of grabbing those socks and that faux clip-on man-bun.

As my H&M insider concluded, “H&M is an awesome employer, and really does want to do the best for their employees and customers. While their tactics are strategic, they take a very honest approach with their customers without lies or gimmicks. But just as any chain store, there are definitely tips and tricks to shop smarter.”

Of course there are going to be exceptions. If you really want that purple-ish sweater hoodie thingy or those shorts with embroidered pandas, go for it. But following these rules is not only good for your wallet but good for our landfills, and that’s a win-win in my book.