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Shopping In and Out of Season

Knowing when the newest line of appliances, cars, furniture, and even mattresses will roll into stores means knowing when to snatch up last year’s models at deep discounts. Of course, waiting for the best bargains often means giving up a wide selection of inventory. Sometimes a happy medium can be struck if you hit up retailers and online stores the first day of clearance sales.

To give you the best chance at the best bargains, here’s a calendar of when to shop for what and why:

January: Winter attire, last year’s furniture inventory, motorcycles, fitness gear, carpeting, video games

Believe it or not, retailers are already making room for spring clothing by January, so now’s a good time to buy winter coats and accessories. The new year’s furniture and home décor fashions are also rolling in, so last year’s lines can be heavily discounted. Because fitness resolutions are popular for New Year’s, discount incentives on fitness equipment are popular this month.

February: More winter attire (but less inventory than January), flat-screen TVs, cameras, tools, bedding

Flat-screen TVs are on sale in anticipation of Super Bowl parties, while Presidents Day weekend is big for other electronics, like cameras, as well as tools and bedding.

March: Luggage, winter sports gear, frozen foods, golf clubs, boats, chocolates

Post Valentine’s Day is a good time to stock up on high-end chocolates. March is National Frozen Foods Month, so be sure to check your local grocery store for coupons and sales to fill your freezer. In anticipate of spring break, luggage is often on sale. Also in anticipation of warmer weather, last year’s golf clubs are on sale.

April: Tax software, tires, beauty products, sneakers, summer air travel, laptops, cruises, vacuums

If anyone has procrastinated doing their taxes until the last minute, now’s the time to buy tax software on the cheap! If you plan to fly anywhere in June or July, buy your tickets now for the lowest fares, especially if you book on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Athletic apparel stores run sales on sneakers this month to encourage people to get outside and get moving. Vacuums are often part of “spring cleaning sales” at department stores.

May: Lawn and garden products, mattresses, camping gear, spring clothing, some gym memberships, refrigerators, office furniture

If you wait until May to buy your spring clothing, you can easily cut 50% off the price tag. Memorial Day is popular for mattress, camping gear, appliance, and lawn and garden product sales. At this point, gyms see a decline in membership due to the nicer weather, which means they often run discounts for signing up in May.

June: Lingerie, home décor, Caribbean vacations, donuts

Thank Victoria Secret’s semi-annual sale for pushing the whole industry to run huge sales in June. If you don’t mind the threat of hurricane season, now’s the time to buy a really cheap Caribbean vacation. National Doughnut Day is June 7, so be sure to keep an eye out for free or BOGO (buy-one-get-one) deals at local bakeries.

July: Swimwear and outdoor furniture, back-to-school clothing/supplies, jewelry, Broadway tickets

Mid-July is the start of back-to-school season, which sees prices on summer apparel like swimwear drop. You might get even better prices later in the summer, but the selection will also dip, too. July is far enough from Christmas and Valentine’s that jewelers often run sales to increase sales this time of year.

August: Wine, office and school supplies, laptops, bed linens and towels

To make room on the shelves for the new harvest, wine is on sale in August. And while the adults are stocking up on wine, college students are on the prowl for new dorm essentials like sheets, towels, laptops, etc. You don’t have to be in school to take advantage of these sales, though!

September: Grills, older-model appliances, patio furniture, pool equipment, gardening supplies, lawnmowers, bikes

Labor Day sales are a great time to nab that grill you’ve had your eye on all summer. Same goes for pool equipment, patio furniture, gardening supplies, lawnmowers, and bikes.

October: Denim, back-to-school clothing, older-model appliances, cars, offseason travel

There’s still time to take advantage of clearance back-to-school supplies and clothing. Last-minute travel right after the start of school can also be a steal. Since new model cars come out in September, be ready to see steep discounts at dealerships on last year’s models starting in October.

November: Halloween candy and costumes, cookware, electronics, wedding dresses

Black Friday deals on electronics, including gaming systems, are appearing earlier and earlier every year. Don’t be surprised to see good deals early in November. The wedding dress of your dreams might fall into your budget this month as few brides shop during the holiday season, so retailers are eager to make any sales they can.

December: Winter apparel, Champagne, Christmas decorations, cell phones, cars

Stores are happy to discount bottles of champagne in anticipation of New Years. Many cell phone plans renew at the end of the year, so it’s a good time to check out a phone upgrade. If you didn’t make it to the car dealership in October, this is another chance to negotiate a great price on last year’s model as dealerships strive to meet end-of-year quotas.