When it comes to shopping, finding the best deals is a wonderful feeling. It’s a little like striking gold or locating the X on a map for buried treasure.
Missing out on those best deals and hearing from your friends or family about a great sale you had no idea was happening — well, that’s less fun.
So if you’re wondering if you ought to buy certain products now or wait until later, here’s a primer on when to purchase a variety of big-ticket items.
While you can buy any of these things at any time of the year, even in the backdrop of the pandemic’s supply chain issues, there really are some months that are better times to make specific purchases.
The Best Time to Buy Furniture
New furniture generally hits the showroom floor around the end of winter and end of summer, and so around February and August, you’ll often find better deals and discounts as retailers make room for the new season’s offerings.
In February, you can also take advantage of holiday deals and promotions around Valentine’s Day or Presidents Day. You can secure sales at retailers including Ikea, Williams-Sonoma and Ashley Furniture HomeStore.
The Best Time to Buy a Home
According to Michael Franco, a broker with New York City brokerage Compass Real Estate, the best time to buy a house is March, August or December. That was the case pre-pandemic and the case now.
“If you want a variety of inventory, then March is the best because everything is either coming on or is on the market for the spring,” Franco says.
Still, “if you are looking for the best bargain, then August and December are great because you have less competition with other buyers looking,” Franco says. There is also “a better chance that if someone listed their home in August or December, then they are truly serious about selling and either can’t afford to or don’t want to wait until the spring or fall when sales are busiest,” he adds.
However, if you’re aiming to buy a home with the lowest interest rate possible, you may not want to wait much longer. Or if you need to move into a home now, start shopping now. If you are still waiting for other reasons, such as to improve your credit score or to save more money for a down payment, then wait.
A house is the one thing that should be on your own time table and not the calendar’s.
But if you have time on your side and can wait until March, August or December, it can’t hurt to wait and try to buy during those months.
The Best Time to Buy a Car
Typically, the best months to buy a car are May, October, November and December. Here’s why:
Early May is when the major auto show season has stopped, and so many new vehicles are coming into showrooms and salespeople are often offering discounts on outgoing models. The end of May also has Memorial Day sales to attract summer crowds.
October is when many new models start arriving in dealer showrooms, and so old models need to go off the lots. So you’ll start seeing more discounts on cars.
Why is November a good month? Those discounts are still running, and car dealerships, like other retailers, tend to offer Black Friday deals.
And what’s so special about December? Along with holiday sales, salespeople are trying to meet monthly, end-of-quarter and year-end sales goals.
The Best Time to Buy Clothing
“The end of the season is the best time to buy clothing,” says Trae Bodge, a shopping expert at TrueTrae.com. “For example, tank tops and swimsuits will be deeply discounted in August and September. This can be a good time to stock up on a few warmer-weather essentials that you can still wear through September while the weather is still good.”
Kristen Gall, president at Rakuten Rewards, a shopping rewards and cash-back site, says, “September and October are when you’ll find steals for seasonal goods like swimsuits, shorts and summer dresses. Sandals, flip-flops and accessories like sun hats and beach cover-ups can also be found at great prices.” According to Gall, “This is also the perfect time to snag deals on seasonal outdoor items like camping equipment, pool toys and sports gear.”
The Best Time to Buy Appliances
The best time to buy large appliances — such as kitchen appliances, like a refrigerator or dishwasher, or perhaps an air-conditioning system or a washer or dryer unit — is near the end of the year.
“New models usually come out in November, so we see a lot of deal activity on large appliances from Labor Day weekend through October. It’s not unusual to see discounts in the 30% to 40% off range, which can mean big savings for such a big purchase,” Bodge says. You can find promotions for appliances at major retailers including Best Buy, Lowe’s and Home Depot.
New appliance technology also often debuts in January at CES, an annual trade show put on by the Consumer Technology Association. New models coming out in the following year can also bring down the prices at the end of a year.
The Best Time to Buy an Engagement Ring
When it comes to buying an engagement ring, “August is the month to get a deal,” says Apeksha Kothari, COO at RareCarat.com, a diamond ring search engine. “After low sales throughout the summer, retailers are itching to make a sale, and it’s when most inventory is available before the peak season of holiday buying in the fourth quarter hits.” Jewelry, in general, can often be purchased at a discount in February, with sales tied to Valentine’s Day.
The Best Time to Buy a Mattress
To secure the best deals on mattresses, whether you’re looking for a mattress from an online retailer or a traditional brick-and-mortar store, you’ll want to shop on holiday weekends, such as Presidents Day. “Three-day weekends, Memorial Day and Labor Day in particular are a good time to invest in a new mattress. We also see some mattress deals around July Fourth,” Bodge says. “You’ll find discounts being offered by the big brands, like Serta and Sealy, but also from the smaller ‘bed in a box’ companies, like Nest, Nectar and Purple.”
The Best Time to Buy a TV
“The best time to buy TVs is over Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Bodge says. “The discounts will be very deep, especially on last-season’s models. Right before the Super Bowl is another time for TV deals. People want to see the big game on the best screen possible, and many retailers will offer promotions around that time.”
Around the winter holidays, many stores such as Best Buy and Sears offer steep discounts on TVs, and some may throughout January, so don’t restrict yourself to looking for deals only around Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the Super Bowl.
The Best Time to Buy Electronics
There are a number of prime times during the year to buy electronics. November, as you get into Black Friday sales, is considered the best time of the year to buy personal electronics, including tablets, gaming systems and laptops. January, shortly before the Super Bowl, is one of the best times to buy a TV, but you can certainly find great deals on TVs during the November and December holiday season.
If you need a laptop or a computer, aside from November and December, you’ll want to look for deals in August, when back-to-school sales are in full bloom. July, too, is starting to become a good month for electronic sales, since that’s when Amazon generally holds Prime Day and its competitors usually have Christmas-in-July sales as well.
How to Score the Best Deals by Timing Your Purchases
Consider industry holidays to secure deals. May is “Better Sleep Month,” making it an ideal time to buy a mattress, new bedding or a CPAP machine. March is National Crafts Month, and every June 29 is National Camera Day. If you learn about a particular month tied to a product or service, you may find a deal when that “holiday” comes around.
Popular holiday weekends, such as Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend, Presidents Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, are also typically good times to find sales and discounts.
There are also popular days like Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when retailers traditionally slash prices to get consumers in the mood to shop. Small Business Saturday — the day after Black Friday — is another time for consumers to take advantage of deals at local independent businesses. And Cyber Monday — the Monday after Thanksgiving — is a popular time for online retailers to offer steep discounts. In July, you can score a variety of deals and discounts on Amazon Prime Day, a global event where Amazon Prime members can shop for numerous sitewide deals.
Factor in the day. There are many benefits to making some purchases during a strategic day of the week. For instance, Tuesday mornings and afternoons are said to be the best time to buy airline tickets, according to FareCompare.com (but make sure you aren’t flying for at least two to four weeks; if it’s less time than that, you will probably pay more than you would otherwise); and Wednesdays are good for grocery shopping, according to the recipe website Taste of Home. New sales often come out, and you might find grocery stores still offering sales from the previous week.
Buy in the offseason. If you want to buy a grill, patio furniture or a lawn mower, consider purchasing before the cold weather sets in. For instance, in November, when it’s still cold but after most people have purchased their winter gear, Gall says, “apparel retailers will be heavily discounting winter staples to get ready for the inventory they will bring in for next season. Look for great deals on coats, sweaters, boots and cold-weather accessories like scarves and gloves. This can also be a great time to buy cold-weather gear like ski jackets and pants, as well as snowboards and skis.”
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Update 11/24/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.