The Best Time to Buy… Just About Anything

by Jacqueline Curtis on January 7, 2013

DiscountRetailers are crafty folks. They know just when to price some items higher for account for more demand and when to cut their losses to sell items at a deep discount. It’s your job as a savvy consumer to figure out when a retailer is trying to play the calendar to get you to pay more for the stuff that you want. Since you probably won’t get an inside look at a store’s sale calendar, the next best thing is using a bit of common sense and tracking typical sales so you know when to hold and when to fold ’em for the best deals.

January

Didn’t get that big screen TV you wanted for Christmas? Now is the best time to grab big-ticket items that didn’t sell over the holiday season. Televisions, DVD players and video game consoles will be discounted. Also on the sale calendars are those digital frames that people tend to give at Christmas and never any other time, along with winter clothing.

February

February is usually when the weight-loss resolutions have died down, which makes it the perfect time to buy elliptical machines and treadmills that aren’t selling well. It’s also a good time to score a killer deal on a digital camera after the holiday rush. If you’re looking to really make a deal, it’s also a good time to buy a boat, since February is the slow season for all things nautical.

March

Planning a trip in the summer? Go shopping for luggage in the early spring. It’s a pretty slow season for travel, so you’ll probably get a few deals on suitcases and duffels. Small electronics – think MP3 players and personal gaming consoles – should also be on sale this month, so it’s a good time to comparison shop for your next toy.

April

April marks the end of the Japanese fiscal year, so check out Japanese electronics at a deep discount – manufacturers will be eager to sell to amp up their bottom line. It’s also a good time to buy next year’s winter boots and gardening gear, like lawn mowers and tools.

May

Brilliant idea alert: Hit y0ur local thrift store in May, since it’s when a ton of households are doing spring cleaning and you can get good-quality secondhand stuff on the cheap. It’s also a good time to look into larger household items, like refrigerators and vacuums, since new models come out during the summer and retailers are anxious to get rid of old stock.

June

Most fitness clubs have lost their fairweather members after the New Years rush and they’re competing with outdoor exercise, making June the best time to negotiate a new contract. You’ll also find good deals on dinnerware and small household items, since June marks the beginning of wedding gift season.

July

Be smart and buy a new computer in July. Stores are gearing up for back to school and should be clearing out older machines for the newer stuff. You can also get a good deal on grills and barbeques as long as you buy after the 4th – um, 4th of July sushi instead?

August

Outdoor stuff and swimwear closes out as summer nears its end, so you can snag patio furniture, gardening tools and that swimsuit you’ve been eying for cheap. Obviously school supplies go on sale too, so comparison shop to get the best deal.

September

In the market for a new ride? September is the best time to purchase a new car, since new models roll out at the end of summer and dealers are trying to free up lot space for the newer versions. It’s also a good time to save on holiday plane tickets – it’s a slow season for travel, prompting airlines to have fare sales.

October

Time to shop for yourself! Jeans and other items left over from the back-to-school rush will all go on sale as the fall season continues, since retailers need to make room for holiday inventory.

November

The day after Thanksgiving obviously brings deep discounts for dedicated shoppers, but don’t forget about your online options. Some of the best deals to be had include large electronics, video games and of course, pajamas.

December

The end of the year means it’s time to gift the handyman in your life, since tool sets are usually on sale. Or, kick it Clark Griswald-style and use your Christmas bonus to put the down payment on a pool – you’ll get a great deal if you buy now instead of waiting until summer.

Great deals are to be had all year long – if you know how to wait for them. What’s your year-long shopping strategy?

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Jacqueline Curtis

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