Smart shopping is an art form.
Some people can afford to buy anything they want so they never worry about the price or best time to buy anything. For the rest of us, knowing how to take advantage of every little trick of the trade is huge.
Getting something on sale or at a special rate can often be the final deciding factor between taking something home and it still sitting on the shelf. But how do you know when to buy?
While it isn’t an exact science, many categories of items often go on sale around the same time each year. Knowing the seasonality of items will keep you from buying a big ticket item and then seeing the same item for $200 cheaper three weeks later.
The seasonality of items is based on two things…when things are going to sell really well and when items need to be got rid of.
For example, if you are in the market for a new TV and you don’t have to have the latest and greatest model, you can find a lot of great deals before the Super Bowl when demand is high as people are trying to upgrade their viewing experience for the big game.
There are also discounts soon after the Super Bowl. A few weeks after the Super Bowl, the newest models of televisions are shipped out. Stores want to get rid of their old inventory in preparation and drop the prices of last year’s models to get them out the door.
The seasonality of other big ticket items works just the same. Here’s a few of those:
Automobiles: July – New car models begin to come out as summer ends. Dealerships don’t want a bunch of leftover models sitting on the lots, so they try to boost sales with extra incentives and rebates. You can also get good deals at the end of the calendar year since sales lag around the holidays with people spending money on gifts for others.
Cell Phones: December – New models come out during the holiday shopping rush, so instead of picking up the iPhone 5, grab the 4s for hundreds less.
Chocolates: Mid-February – If you don’t have a Valentine on February 14, don’t eat your sorrows away…until a few days later when you can do it for much cheaper.
Housecleaning, Home Improvement Supplies: April – Stock up on the cleaning supplies you’ll need for the year while everyone else is just worried about spring cleaning.
School Supplies: August – Back-to-school sales reign supreme.
Sports & Recreation Goods: September - As the weather begins to cool, sporting goods become bargain items. Hunting and camping supplies are also popular items to go on sale.
Winter Clothing: March – Clothing stores really don’t want to have to store all those sweaters and jackets that take up so much room. With the sun showing itself more often, cold-weather gear goes on sale.