Plan Ahead to Get the Best Shopping Deals

Chances are you’re going to buy lots of stuff this year. Sometimes you have no choice about when to shop, like when the ‘fridge is running on empty, your microwave nukes its last leftover or your clothes washer gurgles a death rattle.

Many purchases, however – big and little – can wait until the time is optimal for getting the very best deals. So if you’re thinking of upgrading an item you currently own or adding something new to your inventory, mark your calendar now and then watch for deals from national and local retailers. Here are tips from consumer experts on the best months to target for shopping for specific items.

January

Fitness is a key component for this post-holiday period with elliptical bikes, treadmills and bathroom scales on sale. For tucking in comfortably on cold winter nights, bed linens are on sale, as are towels. New model office furniture debuts next month, so retailers put existing inventory on sale.

February

If high-end chocolates appeal to you, shop the sales immediately after Valentine’s Day, as you won’t find these premium products on sale often. Mattress sales are huge for Presidents’ Day in mid-month, and winter sports gear and coats are on season-end sales, even though winter will linger awhile. February is also a good time to shop for major appliances, housewares and cookware. To get a jump start on spring, look for bargains on running shoes.

March

This change-of-season month is a good time to shop for luggage, in preparation for spring and summer travel. You can find great deals on winter sports equipment and all winter clothing and cold-weather accessories. Digital cameras and humidifiers also go on sale in March. If you missed the January deals on fitness equipment, this is another good time to look for treadmills, ellipticals and small workout-at-home items like weights and fitness mats. March is frozen food month, so think about stocking your freezer with frozen veggies, fruits and prepared meals. Try out a new set of golf clubs on sale as spring begins.

April

New carpeting is a popular upgrade after winter and as spring sets in, deals abound. Desktop and laptop computer also go on sale and you can find great offers on jewelry. As thoughts turn to vacation time, cruise lines offer special rates through the entire season if you book now. Car auctions for dealers are plentiful in spring and they’re trying to move used cars quickly, so this is a good time to upgrade your ride. It’s also a good time to improve your old ride with new tires.

May

If a wedding is on the horizon, bridal gowns are on sale in May. Baby necessities like high chairs and strollers are on clearance, so plan ahead if a new arrival is expected in your family. You can find good buys on desktop and laptop computers and mattresses, if you missed February’s sales. If your home needs a bright new look, interior and exterior paints go on sale in May, as do wood stains.

June

As the 2018 hurricane season starts, you can get great rates on Caribbean cruises starting now. If a northern route is more appealing, it’s off season for Alaskan cruises, so you can find good packages for remaining sailings for 2018. To record your upcoming summer adventures, camcorders are on sale in June. Indoor furniture is on close-out prices, as much of the focus is now on outdoor living. To add to your outdoor fun, summer sports gear is on the seasonal promotion tables. With the focus on outdoor recreation, gym memberships are attractively priced in June.

When to Buy Anything

July

 

Tools, barbecue grills and decking are big clearance items in July, as the outdoor season remains the main retail focus. As thoughts start to turn to back-to-school time, however, summer clothes end up on the sales racks and you can find good buys on computers. With no major gift season coming up, jewelry retailers are looking for customers and offer enticing specials.

August

The retail focus this month is on the end of summer and start of the school year. Look for bargains on air conditioners, outdoor furniture and dehumidifiers. Backpacks, school supplies and kids’ clothing are on sale, as retailers compete for traffic in stores and clicks online. As you shop for back-to-school season, watch for tax-free shopping days in your area on many essential items. If you like to plan way ahead, look for pre-season offers on snow blowers.

September

New cars debut in late September and October, so dealers need to clear their lots of the remaining 2018 inventory. This is also a good time to shop for major appliances and office supplies. If travel is on your holiday agenda, book now for the best rates on airfares, hotels and car rentals. In advance of the holiday entertaining season, look for sales on wine.

October

Summer is now truly history, so remaining bikes, barbecue grills, lawn mowers, tractors and camping gear are on clearance sales. If you’re looking for big-ticket items for holiday gifts, check out the offers on digital cameras and desktop computers.

November

For great buys on TVs, November is a good time to hunt. Electronics on sale this month include camcorders and GPS systems. If you want to spruce up your home for holiday entertaining, furniture is on sale in November, as are vacuum cleaners and tool kits. For the gamers on your shopping list, video games are on close-out special. And of course, check out the Black Friday offers, if you can deal with the strange shopping hours and the crowds; and Cyber Monday offers, for click-and-buy convenience.

December

Not surprising, December is a good time to buy just about anything, as the make-or-break retail season rushes toward its conclusion. If your budget allows, put some cash aside for shopping for yourself, in addition to the family and friends on your holiday shopping list. Numerous items on sale now include camcorders, e-book readers, gas grills, GPS systems, headphones, kitchen cookware, major appliances, TVs and of course, toys. December is also a good time to shop for a new house, as the market is slow and sellers may be willing to lower their asking price considerably if they really need to move on. For New Year’s parties and stocking up for the coming months, champagne and other bubbly wines are on sale. Cheers to smart shopping in 2018!

The best shopping advice for year-round, of course, is to avoid an impulse purchase of any high-ticket item. Do your research, know the typical price, comparison shop, and if you can, wait for a great deal and then act before you miss it. Afterwards, feel satisfied that you’re a savvy shopper.

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