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When should you buy? Here’s what to buy -- and when -- by the month

The best times to buy things, broken down by the month.


Morning Musings 🤔

Happy Monday!

Today is Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year. It’s basically a day where people browse Amazon’s hottest gift list and then buy a bunch of things that will inevitably end up sitting in your junk drawer by March.

Instead of adding 12 things to your Amazon cart today, may I suggest an extension of Small Business Saturday.

Now, more than ever, is an important time to support local businesses. They are the backbone of our local economies and buying something from Amazon -- perhaps for $1 cheaper -- doesn’t benefit your neighborhood in anyway.

As you browse Cyber Monday deals today, perhaps think about what you could find in your local downtown area or nearby shopping district, and add that to your physical cart, instead.

- Ken Haddad (Have a comment or topic idea? Contact me: Email | Twitter)

Morning Dive 🏊

While the holiday shopping season offers some of the best deals on products, there are actually certain times of the year that are specific for certain things.

Here’s a look at what to buy every month of the year:

January

With a fresh page on the calendar comes a fresh start for sales. These items are discounted in January:

  • Bedding and linens. Department stores hold bedding and linen “white sales” in January with deep discounts on sheets and towels.
  • Fitness equipment. Retailers know you want to get in shape. Expect fitness equipment and apparel sales to abound at sporting goods stores.
  • TVs and electronics. Just before the Super Bowl, retailers normally discount TVs and other home-theater essentials.

February

It’s the month of love and gift-giving, but February might be a better time to buy major items for yourself than trinkets for your loved one. Options include:

  • TVs. TV sales spill over from January into February. Aside from Black Friday, this is one of the prime times to buy a new TV.
  • Winter items. With winter winding down, retailers will be looking to unload inventories of cold-weather products. Look for sales on apparel and winter sports gear.
  • Home goods. Expect retailers to have home and apparel sales on Presidents Day and the weekend preceding the holiday.

March

There aren’t any major shopping holidays in March, but that doesn’t mean a lack of sales. Look for deals on these products:

  • Tax software. Retailers like to discount tax-prep items in March ahead of Tax Day in April.
  • Grills. Buy your summer grilling necessities in March to avoid the spike in prices when summer arrives.
  • St. Patrick’s Day essentials. Around St. Patrick’s Day, online retailers and department stores usually discount green-themed clothing, party supplies and jewelry.

April

April has its fair share of spring deals and discounts, including:

  • Vacuums. Buying a vacuum isn’t the most exciting purchase, but it’ll be less painful if you take advantage of a spring cleaning sale. Look for markdowns at department stores as well as manufacturers like Dyson.
  • Tax-themed items. Year after year, retailers and restaurants try to lighten the burden of Tax Day with discounts and freebies on services like paper shredding. Keep an eye out for these around mid-April.
  • Easter candy. The days after the Easter holiday will be filled with markdowns on candy, plastic eggs, stuffed animals and more.

May

April showers bring May flowers — and sales blossom then, too. Here’s a look at some items to consider buying this month:

  • Spring apparel. By May, retailers will discount spring clothing that has already been hanging on racks for a month or two.
  • Furniture. Three of the biggest blowout shopping days are Black Friday, Labor Day and Memorial Day. Memorial Day is in May, so look for furniture and home-decor discounts from big-box stores.
  • Small kitchen appliances. Use May discounts as an opportunity to buy small kitchen appliances, such as coffee makers and blenders. These products normally are included in Memorial Day sales and make great wedding gifts.

June

June may be one of the shorter months of the year, but its supply of opportunities to snag deals isn’t lacking. Smart purchases include:

  • Lingerie. Stock up on undergarments in June. That’s when Victoria’s Secret, for example, has been known to host its famed Semi-Annual Sale. The sale usually also occurs in December.
  • Gym memberships. Consider buying a gym membership during the summer and be sure to negotiate for the best deal. Gyms may be eager for sign-ups at this time.
  • Movie tickets. During the summer months, many movie theater chains offer film programs, which usually include cheap tickets to children’s movies.

July

The temperature usually rises in July, but the prices of certain items drop. Consider buying these:

  • Apparel. If you don’t want to wait for end-of-summer sales, buy clothes now. You’ll likely find a better price than you would’ve at the start of the season.
  • Patriotic items. Retailers like a reason to celebrate. In the days leading up to the Fourth of July, there’s usually an abundance of sales on red, white and blue products (and items that are all three colors), as well as on sporting goods, jewelry and furniture.
  • Personal electronics. Black Friday is a big deal day that falls in November, but many retailers have added Black Friday in July sales, including Best Buy and Amazon (which features Prime Day). Expect discounts in nearly every product category.

August

Close out summer by buying summer products? That’s right — look for end-of-season clearance sales in August on:

  • Back-to-school supplies. The start of school marks the need to buy small items such as pencils and expensive ones like laptops. Generally, the closer to the start of the school year you buy, the better your chances of getting a good price.
  • Outdoor products. Ride out the end of summer with a big deal on lawn mowers and other seasonal outdoor equipment.
  • Swimsuits. There may not be many swimming days left by the time August rolls around, but that’s exactly why swimsuit clearance sales will crest. Buy swimsuits now for next year.

September

With deals on items as varied as mattresses and back-to-school supplies, September is a surprising month for good buys. Pick up reasonable prices on these:

  • Mattresses. Year after year, September is the time for mattress sales. Expect these from department stores and mattress centers, usually as a part of Labor Day sales
  • iPhones. Apple has been known to announce its new iPhones at the company’s annual keynote in September. Usually, the unveiling is followed by a drop in prices on the current phones in anticipation of the new models.
  • Appliances. Expect a series of blowout deals in the week leading up to Labor Day, including promotions on appliances big and small.

October

Don’t let the cost of shopping scare you during the Halloween season. There will be plenty of deals on these product categories in October:

  • Outdoor furniture. People generally spend less time outdoors when the temperature drops. Expect deals on patio furniture and outdoor living products when summer ends.
  • Jeans. Fall inventory arrives in stores in August and September, but you’ll pay top dollar unless you wait a few weeks. October is a great time to buy a new pair of jeans.
  • Candy. As the month gets closer to Halloween, your chances improve to snag a discounted bag of candy for trick-or-treaters.

November

November is the month for Black Friday sales, which means some of the most popular technology products fall to their lowest prices:

  • Electronics. Electronics like tablets, laptops and gaming systems take center stage during Black Friday sales. Look for discounts on smartphones and activity trackers, too.
  • Home appliances. Reserve your major home appliance purchase — refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, etc. — for Black Friday deals. Often, sales can also be found throughout the month.
  • Tools. Home improvement stores discount tools, ladders and toolboxes during Black Friday promotions.

December

The end of the year is just the beginning for discounts in some product categories. Look for sale prices on these items in December:

  • Electronics. Since Cyber Monday falls in December this year, those Black Friday electronics deals from November will spill over into the new month.
  • Toys. Toys are a popular Christmas gift, and stores generally host big toy sales as the holiday season draws to a close.
  • Christmas decorations. Beginning the day after Christmas, shop sales for deep discounts — often upward of 50% — on decorations, wrapping paper, ornaments, artificial trees and similar seasonal fixings.

Thanks to Nerd Wallet for the tips!

Chatter 🗣️

Housekeeping 🧹

Hey, if you like this newsletter, let us know. We’d love your feedback. We also offer several other newsletters that probably cater to at least one of your interests -- unless you’re only interested in candy canes. We don’t have one for candy canes. Sorry.

- Ken Haddad (Have something to say or a topic idea? Contact me: Email | Twitter)

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