For financial planners and consumer advocates, shopping in-season is about much more than the producer aisle.
Vancity financial advisor Sophie Salcito told Steele & Drex that the time of year affects prices for cars, vacuum cleaners, airfare, and wine – and that’s just the start.
In May, retailers slash prices for refrigerators, office furniture and mattresses. Check out Vancity’s guidelines below to find out when to buy what this year.
- Wrapping paper: Stores slash prices on gift wrap, holiday cards and Christmas decorations in the weeks following the busy shopping season. Stock up now for 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.
- Computers: Starting in January, keep in eye on computer and monitor prices as companies offer discounts on older models to prepare for the upcoming release of the newest systems.
- Active Wear: This is the best time to get back in shape as retailers capitalize on the post-holiday bulge by offering an average of 33% off active-wear.
- Furniture: Different furniture is better at different times of the year but January is a great general clearance time, since most furniture companies release new products twice a year: in February and August. That means they’ll be giving some sweet deals in January to make room for the new products next month.
- Motorcycles: It’s really cold outside. Not to mention icy. It doesn’t make for great cycling weather, but if you’ve been mulling over a motorcycle purchase, get it in January and then wait to ride when the snow melts.
- Cellphones: Valentine’s Day may seem like a strange time for cellphone sales, but you can often find buy-one-get-one-free sales in the “theme” of the holiday.
- Televisions & Home Theatres: You won’t find every TV on sale during the pre-Super Bowl sales, but you can usually find a good deal on older models before they come out later in the spring.
- Cruises: Sales on sailings usually arrive in January and February when people are booking their spring break and summer cruise. If you’re planning a holiday cruise, look for another round of sales in October.
- Sunglasses: If you are in the market for a new pair of sunglasses, March is when you can find most sales and promotions due to the influx of stock stores will receive.
- Golf clubs: New models are coming out for the summer, so your local golf shop is pushing the old ones out the door. Grab last year’s set cheaply and you’ll forget all about how awesome the new ones are.
- Luggage: It’s in between vacation seasons, so shops are dropping prices. Grab any extra bags you might need for the summer in March.
- Televisions and other electronics: Japanese manufacturers’ fiscal year ends in March, so they’re eager to get rid of old stock. This will probably be better than the Super Bowl sales, provided you’re okay with buying last year’s model.
- Cookware and kitchen accessories: Graduations are coming up, so even if you’re well out of school, take advantage of the grad-based sales for everything kitchen-related.
- Digital cameras: Digital cameras start going on sale in February, after the new models have been announced at the January Consumer Electronics Show. However, if you’re looking for the best deals, you’ll find them in the second quarter of the year – provided you are okay with buying a slightly older model.
- Vacuum cleaners: New vacuums come out in June. This is pretty convenient, since you can buy a vacuum for a low price beforehand and get started on your spring cleaning.
- In-between season clothing: This is when pre-fall collections hit the stores. In-between season items such as light weight sweaters and coats, suits, evening dresses, handbags and lingerie are marked down 35-58% on average. Swimwear also drops 30-50% so this is a great time to get a new suit for an upcoming vacation or the summer weather.
- Refrigerators: While most big appliances go on sale later in the year, refrigerators are the big exception. New models come out in May, so last year’s models will get discounted.
- Mattresses: While mattresses are generally a product that comes out year round, the spring sees quite a few reduced prices.
- Office furniture: If you shop after tax day – when most home businesses start up – you can usually find some great deals on those office chairs and desks.
- Spring clothing: This is the perfect time of year to snag those spring items you’ve had your eyes on. Blazers and shorts can be up to half off this time of year.
- Dishware: Wedding season brings deals on dishes to everyone, including those not getting hitched.
- Gym memberships & equipment: Everyone’s forgotten their New Year’s resolutions, so gyms are a bit more desperate for members (not to mention everyone’s working out outside). Haggle yourself a good price. Similarly, if you aren’t a fan of working out in front of others, you can buy gym equipment for your home at a similar discount.
- Tools: It’s hard to complain about gender stereotypes when power tool prices are this low. Shop before Father’s Day for a good sale.
- Furniture: July is the other big clearance month for furniture, since new stuff is coming out in August. Check out the clearance sales for some good steals.
- Home décor: From table settings to dinnerware, you’ll find lots of home décor on sale for the middle of wedding season.
- Linens and storage containers: As kids head off to college, lots of stores have sales on new dorm supplies.
- Office supplies: Back to school sales means good deals on lots of office supplies. You can either buy now, when the sales are going on, or later in September when stores are getting rid of leftovers.
- Swimsuits: While you can find good deals on swimwear at the beginning of spring, the best discounts come during the end of summer, when everyone is clearing out their inventory.
- Appliances: With the exception of refrigerators, September and October are the best time to buy big appliances, since it’s when new models start coming out. You can get last year’s leftovers for less.
- Bicycles: New models comes out at the end of riding season, which is around September. Look for good prices on last year’s models.
- Cars: New cars usually come out at the end of summer, so lots will be clearing out their 2017 models around this time. It should be easier to haggle down the price too. Buy at the end of the month for extra savings. This is also a good time to lease, since it’s when the banks estimate a car’s residual value.
- Lawnmowers: Stores have to make room for all their winter gear, which means summer staples like lawnmowers will be on sale. As usual, the selection won’t be as good, but that’s the tradeoff you make for good deals.
- Holiday airfare: You should buy plane tickets two months in advance of your trip for the best price, which means now is the time to prepare your holiday visits to friends and family.
- Wine: It’s harvest time, which means this is the best time to stock up on wine.
- Jeans: Research shows that this is the best time to purchase jeans as they can be marked down by about 50% after the back to school rush has passed.
- Cookware: Holiday deals start pretty early, and cookware is one of the more popular items that you’ll find on sale all quarter.
- Gas grills and air conditioners: As we drift into the cold season, you can pick up these summer staples pretty cheaply.
- Toys and games: Again, the Christmas sales start early at places like Toys R Us and will continue through most of the holiday season. The closer you get to the holidays, the better the deals.
- Patio furniture: Now that the outdoor season’s really wrapping up, you’ll find the best process on patio furniture before it all goes away.
- Fall clothing: Now that fall is in full swing, you will find fall merchandise on sale. Black Friday and Cyber Monday will also help to push out leftover fall stock. Sweater prices can drop by half and you’ll also find great deals on boots, sandals, coats, evening dresses and handbags.
- Champagne: This is one of those few times that prices drop as a result of high demand. Champagne companies are all trying to compete with each other, so grab it now for your holiday celebrations.
- Pools: It may seem like eons away, but if you buy a pool now, you can get a great discount on next summer’s fun. There are a few smaller sales during the summer, but you’d have to keep a sharp eye out to catch them.
General Buying Tips for Any Time of Year
Apart from the items listed above, there are specific days of the week or year that are best for buying certain items.
- Appliances tend to be cheap on Sundays when most people are buying new ones. You’re also bound to find great deals on any major holiday, like Remembrance Day.
- Computers and other electronics are cheapest on Mondays, when manufacturers apply their rebates. This applies to TVs, cameras and video games as well.
- Entertainment venues like museums and amusement parks often have discounts during the middle of the week when they are less crowded. Some museums may even have free admissions days, so check out the venues you’re interested in.
- Gas prices are higher on the weekends, hitting their peak mid-morning on Thursday to anticipate all the weekend drivers and travelers. Fill up on Wednesdays or early morning on Thursdays for the biggest savings.
- Jewelry is best bought on Wednesdays, when most people tend to shop for it. However, stay away from gift giving months like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas.