If you’re a budget-conscious person, you likely want the best items for the least expensive price possible. Makes sense and cents, right? If you’ve budgeted for a new personal computer this year and have been surveying prices, you probably realize that the price can vary by several hundred dollars depending on when you’re looking.
Almost every item you can think of has a time of year when sales are best. The reasons vary.
In some industries, new models roll out at a particular time of year. Stores want to sell the old merchandise to make way for the new. They offer cuts in the usual prices to make it more appealing to customers and thus move the merchandise out quicker.
That’s why, when you’re watching television in August, you’ll see car dealerships literally tell you they’re making way for the new models, which will be arriving in the fall. August and September are a great time to buy a car, which is new but not as new as the latest model arriving in a few weeks will be.
In other industries, sales follow major holidays. Stores ramp up to sell chocolate around Valentine’s Day and Halloween, for example. But the day after, and as long as inventory lasts, they want to sell it to make way for the next holiday’s items. Cheaper prices are the incentive for more sales. If you’re looking to buy candy cheap, mark February 15 and November 1 on your calendar.
Other industries simply have a traditional time they have sales. White sales, for example, always happen in the winter months of January and February. If you’re looking for bedding and towels, white sales are your friend. Did the term start because linens were mostly white back in the day? Because January and February are white with snow? It doesn’t matter at this juncture, because “white sales” are synonymous with less expensive sheets, duvets and towels.
There are multiple other reasons too. Some business sectors have slow periods. They try to counteract slowness by offering deals. Other business sectors have busy periods, where inventory is greatest because stuff sells like hotcakes. They may promote deals then to spur sales even more.
Here’s a month-by-month look at what goes on sale when.
First Quarter Money Saving Sales
Head for anything slow in the cold months. Air conditioners and lawn furniture are likely to see steep discounts then. January is also a slow month for Broadway shows, which can be pricey. The best discounts will be found then.
Televisions are often heavily promoted for Super Bowl watching. Once it’s over, it’s your chance to pick up the latest and the biggest models for cheap.
Time to get that Valentine’s Day candy for rock bottom prices! Swimsuits may also be discounted, as it’s not yet time to think about summer and resort wear buying season is past.
Second Quarter Money Saving Sales
If you’ve wanted to go on a cruise, now is the time to look for inexpensive tickets. The season is nearly past, and cruise lines will be wanting to fill every available seat they have.
May is when the new model year begins for refrigerators, so it’s peak time to buy the past year’s model at a steep discount.
Many stores promote tools and lawn care items for Father’s Day. Once that’s over, the items remaining will likely be marked down.
Third Quarter Money Saving Sales
Back to school sales start now! The summer is therefore a great time to buy furniture, office supplies and anything one could use in a dorm. The furniture and supplies, of course, are also those that grace a home office! If you’ve been looking to buy hand-crafted hardwood furniture, summer is the time to browse the catalogs for sale items.
Back to school clothing is in heavy rotation. Stores actually do have sales for busy parents, so it’s a good time to fulfill clothing needs for the year for cheap.
Cars, remember? New models will be rolling out soon, so dealerships want to sell last year’s models. September is also a great time to buy airfare for the holiday season. The ticket prices will start to trend higher in October.
Fourth Quarter Money Saving Sales
Looking to stock up on notebooks and pens? Back to school sales are over, but might be followed by even steeper discounts on inventory. Summer items, like lawn furniture, start to go into heavy sales now also.
Hit that Halloween candy! Needless to say, Halloween decorations for next year can be obtained cheaply early in the month, too. Appliances, like refrigerators, are also on sale this month because new items are rolling out.
Many items might be more expensive this month because merchandisers are taking advantage of the holiday buying rush. But exceptions to price ramp-ups are readily available as well. If you’re in the market for a swimming pool, now is the time to find great discounts. If you want to ring in the New Year with a glass of bubbly, champagne manufacturers often offer genuine sales to make buying it more attractive. You can also find great deals on Christmas decorations toward the end of the month after the holiday.
There you have it! Armed with a sense of what items go on sale when, you can make the most cost-effective purchase decisions possible. Good luck!
Anum Yoon is a personal finance blogger and writer. She created and maintains her personal finance blog Current on Currency. You can subscribe to her blog newsletter right here for her weekly updates.