Every day seems to bring a sale, so you might wonder if there’s any rhyme or reason to shopping by season. A link does exist to the time of year and when to buy certain items. Some things go on sale according to long-standing traditions, while others cost less when new models are released or demand is low and inventory is high.
Get the best deals on a wide variety of merchandise by following our month-by-month buying guide.
What should I buy in January?
Exercise equipment: Retailers wait all year for New Year’s get-in-shape resolutions so they can unload items like treadmills, ellipticals and indoor bikes, which often experience steep discounts during this month.
Linens/Bedding: White sales in January date back to 1878, when department store owner John Wannamaker held the first beginning-of-the-year sale on linens and bedding.
Calendars: Once the New Year hits, calendars start plummeting in price, ending up a mere fraction of their original cost by the end of the month.
Other bargain products: Wrapping paper, gift cards, video games, suits, gas grills, home theater equipment, winter clothing and toys.
What should I buy in February?
Furniture: As retailers make room for new spring designs, indoor furniture costs dip.
Humidifiers: Dry, heated air and the flu season bring up the need for moisturizing the air, and retailers jump on this buying surge.
Digital Cameras: New digital cameras appear at the beginning of the year, which means you can often nab a good price on one of last year’s models at this time.
Other bargain products: Chocolate (all month), hardware, boats and cars.
What should I buy in March?
Television sets: New models of televisions are introduced at the beginning of the year. When March rolls around retailers are ready to clear out old inventory to make way for the latest technology, which generally comes in this month.
Frozen foods: It’s National Frozen Food Month, so deals for microwave meals and snacks are plentiful.
Garden tools: When it’s still cold and frozen in many areas of the country is time to get some good deals on landscaping items, which are bound to jump in price once the weather warms.
Golf clubs: New models are coming out for summer, so now’s the time to get steep discounts on last year’s gear.
Luggage: Since this month is in between vacation seasons, you’re sure to find deals.
Other bargain products: China/flatware, boots/winter wear and vacuum cleaners.
What should I buy in April?
Car parts/accessories: Many people work on their cars when the weather thaws, so bargains tend to appear at this time of year.
Home office furniture: After tax day, you’re bound to find good deals.
Sneakers: Look for great deals on athletic footwear, as outdoor exercise increases.
Snow blowers/ snow tires: With spring in the air, retailers offer enticing prices to unload these items.
Other bargain products: Laptop computers, cruises, raincoats, umbrellas, cookware, fabric and blowers.
What should I buy in May?
Mattresses: New mattresses come in this month, which means retailers are eager to clear out last year’s merchandise.
Refrigerators: New refrigerators are due out soon, so it’s possible to get a good deal on an older model.
Patio furniture: Summer is on its way and retailers have more outdoor furniture coming in, so take advantage of any deals while they’re available.
Other bargain products: Picnic/party supplies, cookware, kitchen accessories, designer clothing and jewelry.
What should I buy in June?
Dishware: Wedding bells are in the air, so you can often get a good deal on china.
Hardware: “Dad” merchandise like tool chests and the tools to put in them go on sale this month.
Gym memberships: By now resolutions to become fit are all but forgotten and people are getting exercise outdoors, so this is an ideal time to negotiate a good deal on a gym contract.
Other bargain products: Paint, lingerie, computers, MP3 players and suits.
What should I buy in July?
Outdoor furniture: After the 4th of July, expect discounts on backyard furniture.
Barbecue grills: After the beginning of the month, find great deals on gas grills.
Summer clothing: By mid-month, except sales to start on warm-weather attire.
Other bargain products: Computers, paint, cameras, Broadway tickets and home décor items.
What should I buy in August?
Swimsuits: Now that summer is coming to a close, find steep discounts on swimsuits and other beaches/pool apparel, like flip-flops.
Camping gear: With fall in the air, retailers want to sell as much gear as possible before camping season is a mere memory.
Plants/flowers: At the end of the month, home and garden centers and nurseries will have last-of-the season deals on a variety of perennials and shrubs that can be planted next month and will burst into bloom next spring.
School Supplies: With back-to-school days on the horizon, find loads of good deals on supplies this month.
Other bargain products: Swing sets, wine, outdoor toys and kids’ clothing.
What should I buy in September?
Lawnmowers: While much of the country gets ready for winter weather, now is the time to take advantage of mower deals.
Cars: Dealers are often eager to get rid of last year’s models for a good price to make room for new models. Wait until the end of the month for the best deals.
Holiday airline tickets: If you’re planning on going out of town for the holidays, make sure to get your tickets now when prices are relatively low.
Bicycles: If you waited all summer for a good deal on a bike, now is the time to get it. New models will soon be coming in, so you can get deep discounts on old ones.
Other bargain products: China/flatware, patio furniture, garden bulbs, wedding and school supplies.
What should I buy in October?
Jeans: Now that back-to-school has ended, retailers are ready to make some good deals on denim jeans.
Fine jewelry: This month things are pretty quiet in jewelry and the holidays haven’t yet arrived, so you can often find a deal.
Large home appliances: Many new appliances are released in the fall, so this is the time to nab good deals.
Other bargain products: Gardening tools and furniture and car accessories and parts.
What should I buy in November?
Halloween costumes/decorations: Right after the holiday during the first week of November is an ideal time to nab some great deals.
HD Televisions: Retailers offer steep price reductions on specific models, especially at the end of the month.
Wedding dresses: If you’re in the market, now is an ideal time to find deep discounts on wedding dressings.
Kitchen accessories: Good deals abound on a wide variety of kitchen necessities, including small appliances.
Other bargain products: Electronics, candy, aluminum foil and plastic wrap, pajamas and slippers.
What should I buy in December?
Outerwear: Once January hits, new spring fashions are right around the corner, so this month retailers want to sell items like coats, which means big discounts.
Champagne: Prices drop on bubbly this month because demand is high and many retailers want the sales.
Pool: The weather may prevent having a pool installed, but pool contractors are likely to give you a great price if you strike a deal now.
Other bargain products: Recreational vehicles, motorcycles, small appliances, electronics, toys and tools.
Now that you know what to buy when you can put your shopping list on autopilot and save a bundle.
Julie Bawden-Davis is a widely published journalist specializing in personal finance and small business. She has written 10 books and more than 2,500 articles for a wide variety of national and international publications, including Parade.com, where she has a weekly column. In addition to contributing to SuperMoney, her work has appeared in publications such as American Express OPEN Forum, The Hartford and Forbes.