Shop right, save money.

By Kristine Gill
August 07, 2020
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Each month offers different ways to save money and a new assortment of price drops and sales to watch for. This roundup of the calendar year gives you a sneak peek at what sales and discounts to expect each month and season.

Of course, if your appliance breaks in October or you need a new car in April, there’s not much to be done—but if you can wait to make major purchases or time your purchases right, you can get some major savings from buying the right things at the right times.

1

Holidays are the busiest time of year for air travel, and the most expensive time to buy airline tickets. Ticket sales and prices drop immediately after Christmas.

The best deals are typically during less-popular travel dates, says Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet. “That means avoiding holidays.”

Book your vacation for early in the year and save more money than you would in the busy summer months, too.

2

Prices on electronics, including everything from televisions to smart refrigerators and robot vacuum cleaners, will drop immediately following the annual Consumer Electronics Show held in January each year.

“Usually new models for electronics are released in January when they have the Consumer Electronics Show, and that’s when all old models go on sale,” says Michelle Madhok, online shopping expert and founder of deals site She Finds.

You won’t get most cutting edge TV, but you can definitely snag a relatively recent model for a steep discount if you time your buy and wait until February.

RELATED: The Best Time to Buy a TV

3

Outdoor furniture usually gets stocked in early spring, and retailers begin clearing their inventory—aka, indoor furniture—shortly before. If you’re looking to purchase indoor furniture for your home, the first half of the year is the best time to do it. If you can wait to update your decor until the first and second quarter of the year, that’s when Madhok says most retailers are looking to move their home furnishing inventories.

Madhok says couches aren’t typically holiday gifts, meaning they’ve likely been sitting on the sales floor for a while and sellers are eager to be rid of them.

4

If you’re looking to move or make an upgrade from your starter home, you’ll be able to shop from the largest selection of homes in spring, the best time to buy a house.

Spring is typically considered home buying season, Palmer says, with prices lowest in January and highest in the summer. You might get a better deal in January, but it might also be slim pickings, and you might have to make some sacrifices on what you’re looking for in your new home.

Zillow lifestyle expert Amanda Pendleton says you’ll have the largest selection of homes to choose from if you begin your hunt in spring. That’s when the most homes are listed, and April is the month when newly listed homes sell the fastest.

5

Much like shopping for major appliances, home furniture, or outdoor patio sets, the best time of year to buy a mattress is also around the major holiday weekends. That’s when Madhok says you’ll find huge discounts at many of the big box stores as well as mattress stores specifically.

While Memorial Day might evoke images of backyard grills and pool parties, you should also start thinking about whether it’s time to replace the mattress in your main or guest bedroom (or both).

6

Conventional Father’s Day gifts are commonly on sale in June, according to smart shopping expert Trae Bodge—think outdoor gear and accessories usually sold at home improvement stores. 

“Sales typically kick in about two weeks before the actual day,” Bodge says. “The items that are on sale are usually tools, grill gear—not necessarily grills, as those deals pop up at the end of the summer—ties, small electronics, etc.”

With deals like that, it’s a good time to buy for Dad and for yourself in June.

7

If you’re looking for new outdoor furniture, it pays to wait.

“The best outdoor furniture sales fall between July 4 and Labor Day,” Palmer says.

In other words, don’t spend your cash in early spring right as the newest styles for lounge chairs and hanging planters go on sale. Wait a bit for the major sales, which are often centered around holidays in the summer, including July 4 and Labor Day.

RELATED: The Best Time to Buy Furniture

8

Bodge says college students qualify for major savings year-round, but especially around the start of each school year in late summer or early fall.

“Typically, tech companies have student discounts,” Bodge says. “And the discounts do ramp up around back-to-school time for students, and in many cases teachers, so they can get supplies for the year.”

Check Apple, Best Buy, and Adobe for deals on everything from laptops and tablets to photo editing software. You might also notice sales on junior clothing, backpacks, and shoes, plus office supplies for remote workers or students.

9

Similar to sales for televisions each year, Madhok says your best bet on discounts on Apple iPhones will be in September, right after the company holds its annual conference.

If you want the newest iPhone model, you’ll have to pay full price. But older models experience an immediate dip in price after the new ones launch, so you can still upgrade to a new phone even if it doesn’t have the latest bells and whistles. The good news is that Apple usually announces its conference a few days or weeks in advance, so once you know it’s coming, you can plan your phone purchase accordingly.

10

If you’re trying to figure out the best time to buy a new car, Palmer says you should strike when the deals are hot—right before the newest model hits the sales floor. Major sales regularly take place in the fall as dealerships trade out their inventory for the latter part of the year and when dealers are usually trying to move older models off their lots as quickly as possible, she says.

11

Forget the turkey: The most exciting day in November for mouth-watering sales is Black Friday. That’s when Madhok says you’ll see major discounts on everything from electronics to appliances to clothing to vacuum cleaners. The month will come to a crescendo with Cyber Monday, when online retailers like Amazon flip the switch on massive discounts for online shopping.

Bodge agrees, but adds that not everything is on sale this time of year. 

“The things I would wait to buy on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are small electronics, TVs, beauty gift sets, and fall apparel clearance deals,” she says. With other items, do a little research to make sure Black Friday and Cyber Monday actually offer the best deals.

12

Sales during the month of December revolve around Christmas, the shopping finale of the year. It stands to reason that the discounted items you’ll spot before and after December 25 will vary drastically.

Bodge says to keep your eyes open for toys and games for kids right before the holiday hits. There are usually some sales on holiday-themed gifts and winter apparel as well. Once the holiday passes, you’ll want to grab Christmas lights, ornaments, and even new artificial trees for next year.

“Post-Christmas, anything holiday-themed will be on clearance,” she says, “so if you’re buying for yourself, you should wait on that.”