This Is the Best Time to Buy These 43 Cheap Finds Throughout the Year
When's the best time to buy a car, airline tickets, appliances, a TV, furniture, a mattress, a laptop, and more? Here's a month-by-month guide to smarter spending.
January: Best time to buy a computer, holiday goods
• Other people’s unused gift cards: Consumers with unwanted gift cards hit sites like CardCash.com, GiftCards.com, and even eBay after Christmas to sell them at discounted prices. Find out how else you can get paid for your gift cards and other clutter.
• Wrapping paper: Stores slash prices on gift wrap, holiday cards, and Christmas decorations in the weeks following the busy shopping season. Buy now; they’ll keep till next year.
• Bed linens: Retailers offer deep discounts on sheets, towels, and blankets in January. “White sales” actually date back to 1878, when a Philadelphia department store held a “White Sale” on linens to help keep linen makers in business during a slow period.
• Computer: Starting in January, keep an eye on PC prices; companies offer discounts on older models to prepare for the upcoming release of the newest systems. Find out what tech products you should (and shouldn’t) buy refurbished.
February: Best time to buy furniture, washer and dryer, wedding items
• Wedding: Once you’ve finished these must-do’s for newly engaged couples, it’s time to start planning the wedding. Tying the knot in this off-season month means taking full advantage of discounted prices on reception venues, catering, and photography. Plan around the Presidential holidays, though, and beware of nasty weather.
• Air conditioner: During cold weather months, many appliance stores offer units at cheap prices—if you can find them.
• Furniture: New inventory hits showrooms in February, so retailers often offer deals around now. Politely negotiate on good-condition floor models, and you can often pay much less than cost. Just make sure you know how to spot poor quality furniture before you strike a deal.
• Washer and dryer: New models arrive in winter, meaning you’ll spot deals on last year’s appliances. Don’t be afraid to haggle.
March: Best time to buy luggage, a camera, golf clubs
• Frozen foods: March is National Frozen Foods Month, a large-scale marketing campaign that encourages grocers to offer price-cuts and coupons all month long.
• Luggage: Retailers such as Walmart, Macy’s, and Sears discount luggage before travel-heavy spring and summer.
• Boats: It’s the tail end of boat-show season.
• Golf clubs: The season tees off in early spring, meaning last year’s irons are on sale. But find out why golf clubs and these 13 other items are better to buy used.
• Digital camera: Consumer Reports advises snapping up a digital camera in March and April—sales are best.
April: Best time to buy vacuums, clothing
• A cruise: Plan a getaway that’s months ahead of time to snag a deal, or book at LastMinuteCruises.com for spur-of-the-moment discounts. Learn these secrets cruise lines won’t tell you before you plan your trip.
• Vacuum cleaners: Most new models come out in June, so retailers discount old vacuums now—just in time to plan it into your perfect spring cleaning schedule.
• Thrift stores: People clearing out closets means a larger, fresher selection.
• Winter clothing: Spring collections hit stores, and cold-weather clothes are often dramatically marked down for clearance.
May: Best time to buy appliances, a gym membership
• Spring clothing: Memorial Day sales include discounted clothing and home goods at department stores, apparel retailers, and big-box stores.
• Gym memberships: Whether New Year’s resolutions are history, or outside exercise is possible, gyms offer discounts to bring in more bodies. Don’t miss these other 9 ways to save on a gym membership.
• Cookware and dishes: Kitchen items make popular gift choices during graduation and wedding season, and stores often run sales.
• Refrigerators: Spring is refrigerator season! Last year’s appliances will be discounted to clear the showroom.
June: Best time to buy a laptop, vacation tickets
• Lingerie: Apparel retailers such as Victoria’s Secret and BareNecessities.com turn over inventory this month, and hold storewide sales.
• Laptops: Back-to-school laptop sales actually start as early as June, often bundling the computers with a printer or a gift card. Make your new computer last with these tricks to make your laptop battery last longer.
• Caribbean vacation: With the beginning of the Caribbean hurricane season, you’ll see steep discounts on vacation packages and cruises.
• Tools: You can score plenty of good deals—right before Father’s Day.
July: Best time to buy jewelry, ice cream
• Summer apparel: In the middle of the season you’ll start to see prices start to drop. Make sure they last until next year and beyond with these tips for taking care of summer clothes.
• Picnic supplies: Once the 4th of July has passed, pick up discounted picnic and party supplies.
• Ice cream: July is National Ice Cream Month; scoop up coupons from both local stores and online deal sites.
• Jewelry: With no major holidays in July and August, jewelers offer lower prices to lure in customers.
August: Best time to buy office supplies, grills
• Grills: You’ll see huge deals, especially on big outdoor grills. It’s not too late for cookouts! Use this crazy grilling hack to make the juiciest burgers ever.
• Office supplies: Retailers roll out the discounts on backpacks, notebooks, and dorm supplies for back to school.
• Bathing suits: Stores might have had sales around the 4th of July, and most of the selection is picked over. But if you see your size and can find the best swimsuit for your body type, the price will be right.
September: Best time to buy a car, airline tickets, a mattress, a bike
• Patio furniture: Major sales on outdoor furniture, which needs to be cleared out—often for Christmas items, as that season gets pushed up earlier each year.
• Cars: Car dealers promote deals on current vehicles to make room for the newest ones.
• Bikes: New bicycle models come out at the end of the summer riding season, so check out discounts on last year’s bikes.
• Airline tickets: Book your holiday flights now for the best chance on finding low prices.
• A mattress: Is your mattress showing signs it needs to be replaced? Many mattress companies boast big Labor Day sales, though if you miss out, similar sales run around President’s Day and Memorial Day. Don’t miss these other 56 frugal tips for saving money.
October: Best time to buy toys, jeans
• Jeans: Denim left over from back-to-school sales get discounted for a short time before holiday shopping begins.
• Outdoor goods: Score deals on lawnmowers, gardening tools, and even camping supplies.
• Toys: Toy stores sometimes offer sales ahead of the holiday season.
November: Best time to buy a TV, small appliances, candy
• Candy: Grocery stores discount Halloween-themed candy in November, and it still tastes just as sweet.
• Gadgets: Black Friday and Cyber Monday (which might extend the entire week) are prime opportunities to score very inexpensive TVs, small appliances, and more. Just don’t make these Black Friday shopping mistakes when you’re out with the crowds.
• Free turkey: Some grocery stores give away Thanksgiving-ready turkeys when customers spend a certain amount. Keep an eye on your weekly circulars.
December: Best time to buy Champagne, athletic gear
• Champagne: Competition actually drives prices down during the holiday season, not up. The peak month of December is the best time to spend on bubbly.
• (Lousy) NFL merchandise: If your team isn’t even close to the Super Bowl, gear will be discounted. Better luck next year.
• Athletic apparel and equipment: Stores slash prices in the weeks before January 1, when they can cash in on New Year’s resolutions.
• Wedding dress: Look for bargain prices on gowns during the wedding off-season; most couples are focused on holiday shopping and not wedding planning. And make sure you know these 20 ways to save money that you’ve probably never tried.