When is the Best Time to Buy? – Smart Shopping

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Smart Seasonal Shopping The Best Times to Buy - Save Money

As the 1960’s American folk rock song “Turn, Turn, Turn,” covered by the band The Byrds, reminded us: “To Everything There is a Season.” Originally written almost entirely from the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, the catchy hit song instills the principle that there is a time and place for everything.

Who knew that this truth also applies to shopping?!

It’s true! You may think coupons and deep discounts are the best you will do when it comes to saving on your purchases, but you would be wrong. There is so much more to smart shopping and it begins with figuring out when is the best time to buy things. You can save a ton of money by purchasing expensive items at the right time. Factors that affect pricing include:

  • Seasonality
  • New Product Releases
  • Major Holidays
  • Weather
  • School, Educational Institutions
  • Fads

We have examined pricing over the course of the year and found that these specific factors will cause major price decreases that you can take advantage of. You will probably need to exercise some will power. A shiny new TV looks great underneath the Christmas tree, but you could save 20% by delaying your purchase until February.

The following “shopping calendar” is a basic breakdown of the best items to buy during specific months:

January

  • Apparel - Any clothes left over from the Holidays will be marked down heavily.
  • Winter Clothing – the later in the season, the better. Most sales are toward end of the month
  • Carpeting
  • Bedding and Linens - Department store Annual White Sales
  • Computers
  • Tax Software - It is cheaper because no one wants to think about taxes - Tax software is most expensive in April
  • Televisions - The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) occurs at the beginning of January, with new models being announced. Current HDTV's will fall in price and also go on sale for the Superbowl.

February

  • Furniture
  • Treadmills and Ellipticals – now that the New Year’s Resolution workout folks are done stocking up on exercise equipment, you can find great deals of leftovers!
  • Mobile World Congress in Barcelona usually takes place at the end of the month. New phones appear, so smartphones slated to be replaced fall in price.

March

  • Small Consumer Electronics – stores need to sell the remaining holiday inventory of MP3 players, DVD and Blu-Ray players, etc.
  • Boats, Swimwear, Golf Clubs – these items are associated with outdoor activities and it’s too cold for most people to think of purchasing these items this early
  • Samsung has announced their latest Galaxy S Series Smartphone in this month, causing previous generation Smartphones to fall in price.

*General tip: it is always a great way to save by buying things before or after the season in which you plan to use them!

April

  • Televisions and Other Electronics – the Japanese fiscal year ends in March, so as long as you’re willing to get “last year’s model” you can find great deals in April. The selection of HDTV's will not be as good as in January
  • Digital Cameras – new models are announced in the January Consumer Electronics Show, so the spring is a great time to buy previous models;
  • Refrigerators – new models come out in May, so buying older models before the new ones come out cuts costs considerably

May

  • Thrift Stores – spring cleaning means awesome finds at thrift stores
  • Vacuum Cleaners – June is the “release date” for new vacuums so buying one before then ensures the best deals as stores make way for new models

June

  • Tools – everyone else stocks up in the early spring so there are great deals for those waiting a bit later in the season
  • Dishware – by June, wedding season is wrapping up and you can find great deals on dishes and related items
  • Many stores have Friends and Family Coupons including Bloomingdales, Toysrus, Gap

July

  • Furniture – new stuff comes out in August, so buy clearance items in July
  • Computers – the back-to-school crowds drive hard bargains…and great deals toward the end of July
  • Black Friday in July Sales occur

August

  • Swimsuits and summer wear– along with the beginning of spring, the end of the summer is a fantastic time to stock up on swimwear and summer clothes. You will still have a month or two of heat
  • Outdoor furniture and Snow Blowers – these items come at the end of one season and before another begins so you can find great discounts!

September

  • Bicycles – “riding season” ends around September, so the fall is a great time to grab a new bike. Be sure to check local bike stores and Craigslist
  • Holiday Airfare – buying tickets three months in advance saves a ton: less money spent and less stress due to waiting until the last minute!
  • Apple usually releases a new iPhone in the September to October time frame. Previous generations will fall in price, once the new model is released

October

  • Friends and Family Sales - Many large stores have their friends and family coupons available at this time.
  • Cars! – New models are out by September so waiting until after that ensures deep discounts on the previous year’s models
  • Broadway Tickets – along with February, October is a super-slow “off season” for Broadway…and the perfect time to take in a show

November

  • Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, many items go on sale this day or on the following Monday, Cyber Monday.
  • Many clothing stores will offer their best store wide discount during these major shopping days.
  • Video games, toys, and electronics are heavily discounted during these sale days. Laptops, tablets, printers are great deals.
  • You might get a great deal on a car on Black Friday because of the end of model year effect
  • Gas Grills & Pools – it’s still too cold for most people to think about next year’s outdoor needs, so the best time to buy these is immediately following the summer and fall
  • Toys and Baby Products – stock up before gifts come out for Christmas

December

  • Home appliances, large and small – new models come out in January, so December is a good time to clean up on a store’s remaining inventory
  • Wedding Supplies and Venues – the most popular time for a wedding is in the spring, so the later into winter you get, the better deals you are going to find on winter wedding essentials!

Some general things to keep in mind when seasonal shopping include:

  • Always be on the lookout for special promotions and sales – if you register with stores via email, you can ensure they include you when they offer “valued” or “VIP customer” events and deals that go above and beyond their annual discounts;
  • Purchasing during seasonal times sometimes means you are getting a limited selection from which to choose – stores are usually trying to clear out floor models and older inventory to make room for the new models;
  • The above lists are intended to be general in nature and your favorite store may not strictly adhere to the seasonal sales on the items listed – there are always exceptions!

If you plan ahead, you can make sure you are getting the best deals on things you would buy anyway!

Plus, by arming yourself with a bit of knowledge and insider information, you are equipped to not only make smart purchases but also to negotiate for even better prices in some instances.

Always look for money saving in store or online coupons.

Finally, it never hurts to ask a store (make sure it’s the manager or someone else with authority to act on behalf of the company – sales associates need a supervisor’s sign-off before offering discounts) if they can do better on a price. The worst thing they could say is no.

In fact, many stores will price-match and give rain checks if they are out of items so don’t be afraid to ask someone in charge to honor a competitor’s coupon…all they can do is say “no.” But they just might say “yes!”

What are some of your favorite seasonal times to stock up on items? Have you found additional items that are on sale certain times of the year?

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