The Best Time to Buy
Stretch your shopping dollars. Here, the best times of the year to find the deals
– Love LED and solar lights, but not the price? Plan ahead for next year and buy your Christmas decorations at an attractive discount just before the big event and right after.
– Didn’t get your fill of holiday treats? Watch for holiday foods like cookies and frozen appetizers to go on sale after the holidays. A word of warning: stock up on chocolate now, or wait until after Valentine’s Day (when this popular treat goes up in price).
– The busy holiday shopping season is over, so it’s time to clear out all the things that didn’t sell. Many popular gift items go on sale in the New Year including cookware, linens, movies, music and toys. If you’re looking for electronic devices like digital cameras or music players, start hunting in February. If you missed the Christmas sales on computers, hold on for March.
– Winter is far from over, but it’s a good time for deals on winter clothes and gear. Winter clothing sales start in January (if not sooner), and the prices of coats and sports gear will dip even further as the winter months wear on.
– Sales on small consumer electronics and computers generally continue well into the spring. It may be a good time to pick up the latest camera ahead of your summer vacation.
– It’s also the start of wedding and graduation season, so watch for items like cookware and linens that would help set up a new home. (Or to add to your own stash.)
– If you’re hosting a party or major event, May is a good time to stock up on party supplies.
– Need tools? You don’t have to be a dad to take advantage of Father’s Day sales.
– Don’t shop too early if you’re in the market for outdoor furniture. Price drops won’t appear until summer is already underway. However, if you’re shopping for indoor furniture, check out the sales in June and July.
– In most areas of Canada, this time of year is undoubtedly the best for fresh produce. Time to stock up your freezer and make your preserves and jams! (See Savour summer all year long.)
– Need an upgrade? Computers and accessories start to go on sale ahead of the busy back-to-school season.
– Not surprisingly, prices on summer items continue to drop as the season becomes an ever-distant memory and retailers want to get rid of seasonal merchandise. (After all, they don’t want to be stuck with the items for another year.) The longer you wait, the better the deal — but the more limited the selection.
– The fall harvest offers some tasty and inexpensive fare, especially if you’re a wine enthusiast. Many wineries launch their new vintages during the fall harvest season, and it’s also a good time to take in a wine festival.
– If you still haven’t bought this year’s tech gadgets, now is your chance. New products are on the way for Christmas, so look for deals on current models.
– Same goes for cars: new vehicles are showing up on the lots, so it’s time to start hunting for deals on the current model year. If you’re not fussy about colours or options, wait until later in the season (and until the end of the month) to negotiate the best deals. (That’s when salespeople are most eager to meet quotas.)
– While wedding season is long gone, Christmas/New Year’s engagements haven’t happened yet so there’s a bit of a drop in demand for wedding dresses in the late winter months. Watch for year-end sales and discounts too.
Year-round rules of thumb
Not all sales revolve around the months and seasons. Here are some general trends to keep in mind:
– Buy off-season for seasonal items like snow blowers, patio furniture, clothes and holiday decorations.
– Avoid peak season summer months and holidays for travel. If you don’t want to risk off-season weather and closures, try the shoulder season (the transition months between peak and off-season) instead.
– Buy fresh food when it’s in season, and watch for sales on produce and non-perishable goods around major holidays and celebrations. (About.com has a list of when food items go on sale here.)
– We all know that clothes go on sale as the season draws to a close, but many staple items like jeans, sweaters and career separates can be layered and adapted for multi-season use.
– Watch for pre-inventory or year-end sales at your favourite stores — but beware their fiscal year-end doesn’t always match the calendar. (Sign up for their newsletters to keep up with the promotions or ask the staff.)
– According to experts, holiday long weekends are a prime time for sales, especially on big-ticket items like appliances.