George Washington and Abraham Lincoln have a lot to do with money, and no, we’re not just talking about the portraits of our founding fathers stamped on our currency.
President’s Day — the third Monday in February reserved to honor our past commanders in chief — is a huge day for retail sales and a big opportunity for you to score a great deal. Here’s a guide to what you should buy this Feb. 16.
As you’re scrolling through President’s Day sale emails, flipping through advertisements and browsing online, you’ll want to keep your eye out for truly worthwhile deals. As a general rule, you can expect the best discounts to come in a few select departments.
The first category is winter apparel. Often, sale prices are cycled according to season. So just as you’ll find better prices on Christmas decorations after Dec. 25, you’ll likely find better deals on winter apparel at the end of the season rather than at the beginning.
Take advantage of these if you’re hoping to stock up on jackets for next winter, or even if you want something new to ride out the remaining chilly months. Last year, for example, many apparel and department stores offered storewide, percent-off sales. You can expect something similar again this year.
Next up is furniture. Historically, the beginning of the year — and President’s Day in particular — has been known to boast impressive sales on home furnishings. As new furniture models and styles are released, you can bet retailers will be motivated to move old inventory.
Finally, you should consider outlet sales. This is more of a where-to-shop than a what-to-buy tip, but with so many different types of products sold in outlet stores, the possibilities are essentially endless.
Outlet stores typically offer lower prices than their traditional retail counterparts. Additionally, some outlet malls will be hosting President’s Day discount events, creating the possibility of deals on top of deals. Check your local outlet mall or store for any such presidential promotions.
On the flip side, while you’re contemplating what you should buy, pay attention to what you shouldn’t. Toys and most electronics, for instance, normally reach their lowest prices near the end of the year. As for summer clothes, those are best bought in August, when the demand for shorts and tank tops has subsided.
Patriotic price cuts
Forget red, white and blue. It’s time to see green with President’s Day savings. Now that you have a general idea of what to look for, let’s get down to the specifics. Here’s a rundown of some President’s Day sales from a few major retailers:
— Macy’s. Storewide President’s Day sale with discounts of 20- to 50-percent off.
— Walmart. Online specials starting Feb. 16.
— Sports Authority. Savings of up to 60-percent off while supplies last.
— Overstock. Online deals of up to 70-percent off across a variety of home and furniture categories.
— Belk. Discounts on men’s golf apparel, women’s clothing, home electronics, kitchen accessories and jewelry.
— Dell. Sales on select PCs and electronics.
Despite the countless sale signs and patriotic balloons you’ll see over President’s Day weekend, remember: Not everything that will be discounted is actually a good deal.
You might not necessarily want to spring for everything you see, but you can do your part to investigate prices and make your savings as big as possible. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
— Be savvy. Judge the value of the deal based on the price of the product, not on how much you think it’s been discounted. Huge percent-off sales may sound appealing, but it’s the actual price of the item that you’ll want to consider.
— Comparison shop. If you’re shopping online, or even if you’re not, don’t forget to compare deals between stores before making a purchase. This will help guarantee that you’re getting the best possible price.
— Save on shipping. If you’re going to be buying more than one item online, consider bundling orders together to reach the free shipping minimum (if the retailer you’re shopping at offers one). There’s nothing better than a great sale and free shipping all in one.
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