The Best Time of Year to Buy Essentials
February: The Best Time to Buy Furniture
Why: New furniture designs debut in spring, so retailers are clearing out old styles to make room, says Dan Butler, vice president of retail operations at the National Retail Federation. Scour showrooms for "as is" floor samples in good condition offered at deep discounts. Ashley Furniture typically offers major markdowns.
Your savings: Thirty to 60 percent off.
March: The Best Time to Buy a Television
Why: New models are introduced at the International Consumer Electronics Show each January. Retailers clear out old inventory to make way for the latest items, which ship in March, says Greg Tarr, executive editor of This Week in Consumer Electronics. Another smart time to shop: the day after Thanksgiving, when there is aggressive competition among retailers. You'll find jaw-dropping deals (up to hundreds of dollars off) on limited supplies of popular models, says Tarr.
Your savings: Around 15 percent.
March: The Best Time to Buy Sandals
Why: The first round of markdowns on spring shoes, which begin appearing in stores in January, happens in March, says Butler. Leftover sandals hit the clearance aisles by June, so visit brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers like Zappos.com and Endless.com early for the best selection.
Your savings: Twenty to 30 percent off.
April: The Best Time to Buy Raincoats
Why: April tends to be a rainy month in many parts of the country, so stores stock wet weather gear knowing that customers will be in the market. However, since sunnier days usually arrive shortly thereafter, retailers only have a limited amount of time to sell inventory, says Butler. To entice shoppers and move their merchandise quickly, stores offer discounts. For spring sales, head to retailers like Wilsons Leather and Kenneth Cole.
Your savings: Up to 25 percent off.
April and May: The Best Time to Shop at a Thrift Store
Why: To find a wealth of gems, hit up these merchants in early spring. “People tend to clear out their houses in April and May, causing donations of used furniture and household appliances to spike,” says Jennifer Byrd, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army. Credit spring-cleaning, too, for the huge selection of clothing that you’ll find this month.
May: The Best Time to Buy Athletic Apparel and Shoes
Why: As people emerge from their winter cocoons, retailers start offering discounts that will lure customers outdoors and shed their last-season inventories before the end of the summer, says Butler. If you can't find what you're looking for in May, shop when the seasons change or after a natural disaster. Oddly enough, these events cause retailers to extend sales or reduce discounted items even further. The reason? Some people will wear out their shoes during storm cleanup, and those who are unaffected invest in more durable pairs in the event that destructive weather hits in their ZIP code.
Your savings: From 30 to 60 percent.
June: The Best Time to Buy Dishware
Why: Early summer is the peak of wedding season, which means that soon-to-be-married couples are adding one or two full sets of dishware to their registries. Retailers take that opportunity to promote both their fine and everyday china, according to Butler. If you find a pattern you like on sale, snap it up, he recommends: While china patterns used to be available for two or more years, now most are on store shelves for only 12 months.
Your savings: Twenty-five to 50 percent off.
July: The Best Time to Buy Home Decor
Why: We’re still in wedding season, so retailers want to take advantage of ceremony-bound shoppers, says Butler. "From table linens to dinnerware, you can give almost any home item as a wedding gift," he says. Also, department and home stores, anxious to move merchandise that is already on the floor, host sales to increase foot traffic. Shoppers can also score deals in September and October, which are also popular months for exchanging "I do's."
Your savings: Twenty to 50 percent. You can also find an increasing number of two-for-one deals, such as silver candlesticks sold with candles.
August: The Best Time to Buy a Swimsuit
Why: Stores are eager to clear out summer leftovers, so you'll dive right into savings by holding out until then. Additionally, some websites, like victoriassecret.com and everythingbutwater.com, will have abundant inventory that's on sale. And because many suits are sold as separates, you can update an existing suit by picking up a new top if you already own, say, coordinating black bottoms. Another option: Wait until next May, when the warm weather prompts retailers to promote swim gear as shoppers begin to spend their time outdoors. You'll find prices slashed up to 50 percent.
Your savings: From 40 to 70 percent.
September: The Best Time to Buy Plants
Why: Garden centers need to clear their inventory of summer plants, trees, and shrubs to create space for fall and holiday plants, so they slash prices. And in September “the cooler weather allows plants to expand their roots,” says Charlie Nardozzi, a senior horticulturist with the National Gardening Association, “so it’s a great time to plant peonies and low-maintenance perennials, such as hostas, daylilies, and daisies.” If you prefer to plant in the spring, shop in February or March, when nurseries typically offer 10 to 20 percent off on preorders.
Your savings: From 30 to 50 percent. Independent nurseries tend to have bigger markdowns and a wider selection than big-box stores, says Nardozzi.
October: The Best Time to Buy Jeans
Why: The rush for back-to-school clothes has ended, so retailers are cutting prices on leftover inventory, which includes a lot of denim. “People are becoming more frugal with back-to-school purchases and, as a result, stores will have excess denim,” says Kathryn Finney, founder of thebudgetfashionista.com. Check out department stores and Loehmann’s and Marshalls for marked-down designer jeans. You’ll also find considerable savings―about 50 percent―on denim during the warm summer months.
Your savings: Thirty to 60 percent below retail price. Also look for buy-one-get-one-free deals at some stores.
November: The Best Time to Buy PJ's and Slippers
Why: These popular Christmas gift items go on sale in November as retailers try to appeal to shoppers with well-priced packaged sets. Try department stores and specialty retailers, like Garnet Hill, Victoria's Secret, the Gap, and Land's End. Marked-down leftovers will be on clearance in January.
Your savings: 30 to 50 percent off.
December: The Best Time to Buy Outerwear
Why: Retailers don’t want to carry this fall item into the next year, when they'll need room for swimwear and other warm-weather gear. So they often promote deep discounts on outerwear before Christmas, says Butler. Shop department stores and national apparel chains, like JCPenney and REI, for sales.
Your savings: Fifteen to 40 percent off.