You can save a lot of money if you buy things when they’re off-season. So if you are planning a big purchase, you might want to hold off for a few months. Here are the best things to buy throughout the year…
First Quarter (Jan/Feb/March)
- Gas grills & air conditioners: They’re obviously off-season, but it’s not like “next year’s model” will be remarkably better or different.
- Bicycles & Sporting Goods: Not only is it prime off-season pricing, you’ve got the attention of salespeople who think they’re talking to someone who’s for real about their exercise.
- Furniture: It’s both a lull and a changeover for the showrooms, so find that dining room set and haggle.
- Digital frames: Hey, where’d all last month’s buyers go? Pick up the leftover stock on the cheap.
- Carpeting: Most people are focused on holidays, not renovations, and it’s before the big tax rebate buying season.
- Tools: The kinds with batteries and cords and lots of warnings, because their makers put on a big push.
- Chocolate (after Feb. 14): Because, well, you know.
- Digital cameras: The newest models are out, fresh from the trade shows, so anything left over goes cheap.
- Luggage: Halfway between buying seasons, stores eager to move.
- Frozen foods: Goofy, but it’s “National Frozen Food Month.” And you can buy and freeze.
- Winter coats & sports gear: Winter fun season is coming to an end. Where to find end-of-season goods? Try commenters’ suggestions.
- Boats: It’s the end of boat show season; you’ve got the upper hand.
Second Quarter (April/May/June)
- Televisions: Japanese manufacturers’ fiscal years end in March, so old inventory must go to make the cut.
- House (for availability): It’s a tricky thing, house buying, but if you do it early enough to see how the house survived winter, but not at the height of warm-weather open house season, a good deal can be found.
- Boots & winter wear: Nobody’s buying, except your think-ahead self.
- Cruises: Cruise lines are moving ships around the world this month; Book and travel short-notice this month; they’ll be happy to have passengers. (via BKIM).
- Car accessories & parts: Prime car-fixin’ season is coming up, so old inventory must go. Commenters point out best spots for online car parts.
- Laptops: Might be inventory, or some other reason, but laptops go cheap this time of year.
- Fabric: Craft stores are shifting from heavier winter fabrics to lighter spring stuff.
- Cookware: Graduations are around the corner, so get in on that going-away gift sale (and consider buying stainless).
- Vacuum cleaners: The new models arrive in June, so this here is clean-out time.
- Sneakers: Spring has sprung, charity races are plenty, and sneaker makers are targeting less serious runners.
- Patio furniture: New stuff hits the floor, old stuff needs to go. Also check your local garage sales.
- Party supplies: Whether or not you’re hosting a graduation party or early-spring picnic, stock up now for later.
- Cookware: Graduations, weddings, and cheaper goods at both the high and low price points.
- Vacuum cleaners: Just like last month, clearing out old models before June roll-outs.
- Gym memberships: Nobody’s making resolutions, and it’s nice weather out. Get your haggle on.
- Tools (June 1-20): Father’s Day sales don’t require birth certificate proof, now, do they?
- Suits (June 1-20): Same as with tools: fathers need suits, but so might you, as JCMasterpiece tells it.
- Dishware: Like May, June is a wedding month, so dishes are cheaper, whether or not you’re registered.
- Off-season sports gear: If you support a team, now might be the time to show it, as college and pro gear for most sports is off-season.
Third Quarter (July/Aug/Sept)
- Big appliances: Showrooms are moving out last year’s models, making room for new stuff, and all the scratch-and-dent pieces that are totally operational are offered at deep discounts.
- “Older” computers: As in not just arriving. Intel and AMD and system makers start ramping up for new stuff now, discounting old stuff.
- Furniture: Stores make an inventory push, so if you like something, make an offer.
- Broadway tickets: It’s off-season for NYC tourism, so now’s the time to snag those half-off tickets. StubSearch.com’s CEO agrees.
- Grills (after July 4th): Wait for it, wait for it … now, grab that grill, while stores shift toward back-to-school and yard gear.
- Older computers: Same as July; newer stuff is on its way.
- Laptops: Big-box stores and direct retailers want everyone going back to school to tote a laptop.
- Outdoor toys & camping equipment: They take up lot of space, so as the season ends, stores want rid of them—at 65% off, even.
- Kids’ clothing: Don’t have kids? Buy gifts, or surprise a nephew/niece, maybe.
- Wine: Small-run, eclectic wines can be found early in the harvest, often cheaper.
- Linens & storage containers: For the college crowd, but we all occasionally need to tuck stuff away and cover a bed. Macy’s, for example, has deep sales.
- Cars: It’s the sweet spot between two years’ inventory. Watch a car you like on the lot, come in later to make an offer.
- Wines: As with August, but September is more of the traditional wine-buying season.
- Laptops: More back-to-school discounts.
- Holiday airfare: You’re about eight weeks out from Thanksgiving, so it’s a good time to buy those air tickets.
- Grills & lawn mowers: Stores are moving ‘em on out and making room for colder-weather gear.
Fourth Quarter (Oct/Nov/Dec)
- Shrubs, bushes, bulbs, etc.: If you have a cellar or other area to store plants over the winter, you can jump in now and get these items, plus ever-plant-able bulbs, very cheaply.
- Jeans: Whatever jeans they couldn’t sell for back-to-school, it’s yours now, just cheaper.
- Cookware: Is October too early for holiday deals? Is cookware a gift? Manufacturers and retailers offer a resounding “yes.”
- Health insurance: You may not really have another time to buy it, if you’re employed full time. During open enrollment, look around and see what’s new in the offerings.
- Toys and games: Sales are often offered to kick-start the holiday season, but maybe you, too, enjoy a good video game or board game.
- Candy: Post-Halloween glut.
- Aluminum foil & plastic wrap: Weird, but true.
- Cookware: Early holiday sales make it just a bit cheaper.
- Wedding dresses (starting Nov. 15): As with next month, it’s a slow season, and just before cutesy Christmas engagements.
- HDTV & home theater gear: From now until after the Super Bowl, the gear is new and the prices are relatively good.
- Wedding dresses (and other wedding gear): Few are buying, but many to-be-marrieds are arriving after Christmas engagements. Move the price around to your liking.
- Tools: Winter home repairs are less appealing, but just as viable in most cases—and the tools are cheaper.
- Champagne and sparkling wine: Believe it or not, this is both the time it’s prevalent, and the time to buy it.
- HDTVs and home theater equipment: The deals are a bit better in January, but now is a good time to look before the big push in spring.
- Off-color cars: Fancy a purple, orange, gold, or other off-color ride? You can probably get it for a steal right now as a year-end write-off for the dealership.