When it comes to big purchases, timing can be everything. Here's a month-by-month breakdown of the best times to buy cars, appliances and more.
By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com
Cheapism.com on MSN Money
Mark your calendar
Timing is everything, especially for frugal consumers who need to make big purchases. Knowing the best time to buy something — from a car or a house to a TV or appliance — goes a long way toward saving big bucks.
The best time to shop for a big-ticket item is usually when a newer model is introduced. For example, furniture makers release new styles twice a year, so the best time to buy furniture is the month before the new products hit the stores. The end of a season also brings excellent bargains. Consider lawn mowers, which go on sale when winter is on its way and the grass won't need mowing until spring.
Keep in mind, though, that following the best-time-to-buy rules requires sacrifice. In other words, forget about having the latest and greatest model. Older models — typically equal in quality to the replacements and in some cases with similar features — come with the biggest discounts. The longer you wait, the deeper the price cut but the smaller the selection.
Use this handy guide to help you keep track of deals month by month.
New furniture models come out in February, so bargains arrive this month. Keep an eye on office furniture, as stores target entrepreneurs launching new ventures in the new tax year. With the holidays over and winter setting in, department stores lure shoppers with "white sales," making this the best time to buy linens. The Consumer Electronics Show every January spurs price drops on digital cameras, HDTVs, and other electronics to clear shelves for new models. Also on sale: holiday items, winter apparel, select toys, home fitness gear.
After Valentine's Day, stock up on high-end chocolate, which rarely goes on sale. Retailers continue to discount select electronics such as HDTVs, GPS units, and audio equipment, along with video games released during the holiday gift-buying frenzy. Be on the lookout for deals on winter coats and apparel, especially over Presidents’ Day weekend, as stores prepare to display spring fashions. With the winter boat show season in full swing, February is the best time to buy a boat for less. Also on sale: tax-filing software.
As temperatures rise and demand cools, sellers are ready to strike deals on winter sporting equipment. The same goes for that last ski trip of the season. Updated luggage styles arrive in advance of summer travel, so now’s the time to buy last year's suitcases. March is National Frozen Food Month, which prompts extra promotions. Stack coupons on top of supermarket sales to fill the larder for months. With jewelry left over from Valentine’s Day and few gift-giving occasions until Mother’s Day, jewelers are eager to move merchandise.
Car dealers pick up used vehicles at auction this time of year and aim to move them quickly. April is also National Car Care Month, which brings deals on car parts and service. Participants in charity runs/walks can hit the pavement in discounted athletic shoes. New laptops send older models into a price dive and retailers mark down cookware as graduations and wedding season approach. In recent years Home Depot’s "Black Friday is Back" sale has discounted home improvement supplies. Also on sale: snow blowers, jewelry, cruise vacations.
The mattress industry does its spring cleaning over Memorial Day. Retailers offer exceptional discounts to open the floor for incoming merchandise. The long weekend also sees markdowns on spring clothes as summer wear moves front and center. Deals on office furniture pop up again in May, with price cuts continuing through June. With the start of wedding season and graduations, count on finding bargains on home goods and other gifts, especially during Memorial Day sales. Items such as kitchenware should be discounted heavily.
Warm weather heats up deals on health club memberships as many gym rats head outdoors. Showing off a new body? Victoria's Secret's semi-annual lingerie sale spurs the competition to slash prices too. The onset of hurricane season makes cruises cheaper yet, especially for last-minute bookings. Cinemas offer an escape from the heat and a plethora of deals on movie tickets if you buy online. National Doughnut Day falls on June 6 this year. Take advantage of freebies from places such as Krispy Kreme, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Tim Hortons.
With Father's Day past, July is one of the best times to buy tools. After July 4, retailers start firing up discounts on grills. Independence Day also heralds a handful of mattress deals worth getting out of bed for. On National Ice Cream Day (July 20 this year) look for specials at local shops and chains such as Baskin-Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery. The semi-annual release of new furniture models in August invites sales in July. And with no gift-giving holiday in sight, jewelry stores vie for business. Also on sale: summer apparel.
Back-to-school sales can work to your advantage even if you don't have kids. August is a good time to buy laptops and merchandise such as backpacks and office supplies. In addition to attractive deals on kids’ clothes, you’ll see summer apparel heavily discounted and swimwear at all-time-low prices. Items such as lawn mowers are tagged with some of the biggest discounts of the year as retailers start purging inventory for the fall. Summer travel wraps up this month, so you're sure to find good deals on camping gear and luggage.
This is the best time to buy plane tickets for holiday travel. New car models come out, leaving cut-rate leftovers from the last model year. Likewise, bicycles are released in September and last year's models go on clearance. Look for denim and desktop computers on sale after the back-to-school rush. Once again, mattress dealers roll out discounts for the three-day weekend. On Sept. 29, don’t miss the opportunity to get a free cup o’ joe for National Coffee Day. Also on sale: patio furniture, perennial plants, lawn mowers, sunglasses.
Not much goes on sale this month, but the remaining summer stock (bikes, grills, lawn mowers) takes on spooky-low price tags. Discounts on denim, new cars, and camping gear also continue into October. Deals on Halloween costumes and decorations start in mid-October and continue to increase as the witches and goblins close in.
The biggest shopping season of the year kicks off the day after Thanksgiving, but look for “Black Friday” deals all month long. Expect discounts on big and small appliances, vacuum cleaners, and furniture. This is also a good time to buy laptops, HDTVs, tablets, digital cameras, and other electronics. Tools make welcome gifts and sales abound; ditto for cookware. November brings a lull in the wedding business ahead of holiday engagements, and bridal shops stock up on wedding dresses. Also on sale: Halloween candy and trappings.
Savings continue on HDTVs, including bigger brand names such as LG and Samsung, as well as cookware, small appliances, tools, and wedding dresses. Toys reach their lowest prices as Christmas approaches. In the market for a new house? Sellers who leave a home listed during the holidays are usually very motivated to negotiate a deal. With New Year's right around the corner, producers of Champagne and other sparkling wines post sales. The day after Christmas brings a wave of fresh discounts, from holiday decorations to winter apparel.