When's the Best Time to Buy? A 12-Month Breakdown

published by:
AMANDA CLOUSER, CFA, CFP®
August 13, 2020

When's the Best Time to Buy? A 12-Month Breakdown

Impulse spending: everyone does it; many regret it. About half the purchases made by young adults are impulsive, but the number tends to decrease with age.1 Commercialism and online shopping have made spending both accessible and instantaneous.

In the modern market, it's easy to buy anything you want whenever you want. This only makes waiting for sales less desirable. Yet waiting for the ideal time to purchase specific items can make the difference between a considerable expense and a lesser one. Here's what you should be looking to buy, month-by-month, to generate a year of savings.

January

Post-Christmas Merchandise

With Christmas over, retailers are rushing to clear out their holiday inventory and make room for other items. Now's the best time to stock up for next holiday season; look for sales on decorations, ornaments and artificial trees.

Televisions

Major retailers will be offering TV discounts in preparation for the Super Bowl. In anticipation of new TV models announced at the Consumer Electronics Show, you'll also find discounts on older models.

Bedding

Sales on bedding and linens, typically called "white sales," hit stores in January. These discounts are notoriously generous, so now's the perfect time to buy.

February

Mattresses

Mattresses boast some of the most prominent Presidents Day sales. If you need a new bed, take advantage of discounts and additional perks such as free shipping.

Post-Valentine's Day Merchandise

On average, consumers plan to spend almost $200 on their loved ones for Valentine's Day.2

The demand for romantic gifts skyrockets. But don't overlook the potential savings after Valentine's Day, when you can purchase discounted jewelry or chocolates.

March

Summer Prep

With summertime on the horizon, Spring is an excellent time of year to purchase grills and luggage. March sits between travel seasons, but it's good to anticipate your summer plans early.

Tax Software

In preparation for Tax Day, there'll be great deals on tax software. If you take a do-it-yourself approach to filing taxes, purchasing now could help you save big.

April

Beauty Supplies

Major players in the beauty industry, such as Ulta and Sephora, have some of their best sales events during April. Think beyond makeup - hair care, nails, facial cleansers, perfumes, and more.

Vacuums

April means spring cleaning, which means discounts on essential cleaning products. Vacuums have some of the most significant price cuts.

May

Memorial Day Sales

Memorial Day is another holiday sellers capitalize on. There'll be sales on almost everything, but look out in particular for appliances (especially refrigerators) and clothes.

Large Pieces of Furniture

May is one of the cheapest times to make those typically expensive purchases if you've been planning a home makeover. Shop around Memorial Day for the best sales.

June

Gym Memberships

Gyms offer great deals in late June in an attempt to increase membership. This time of year, they're often competing with the beautiful outdoor weather.

Father's Day Goods

Father's Day is in June, causing prices to drop on classic gifts such as tools, outdoor fitness equipment, and camping, hunting, and hiking gear. Anyone can reap the benefits of these sales even if you're not buying exclusively for dad.

July

Summer Apparel

The rush to buy summer clothes peaks in June, making July a hotspot for deals on apparel. Clothing retailers will be putting extra effort into selling their summer collections before the back-to-school season starts.

Paint

Were you planning on taking up a paint job at home? Paint is discounted in July due to a lack of demand, so consider purchasing even if you won't be needing it for a few months.

August

Back-to-School Sales

August headstarts the back-to-school rush, and the sales are always huge. Buy school or office supplies such as backpacks, pencils, and calculators, which will be similarly discounted.

Computers

Students usually flood retailers in August to purchase laptops for the upcoming school year. Student or not, August is an ideal month to look for competitive laptop and computer prices.

Outdoor furniture

Summer's drawing to a close, but that doesn't mean you should stop shopping for it. Look at items on summer clearance to purchase outdoor furniture and decor.

September

Travel

If you are traveling in the upcoming holiday seasons, buy your plane tickets in September to get ahead of rising prices. Fares are likely to increase the closer you get to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Phones

Apple usually announces its new iPhone in the fall. If you need an upgrade and either want the latest release or older models at a discounted price, hold on until September before making the switch.

October

Cars

With new car models coming into the market, dealers will want older models off their lots. Waiting until October to purchase a new car (as long as you don't want the brand new model) will pay off financially. The dealer might even have other perks in-store to encourage you to buy.

Jeans

As temperatures start dropping, jeans tend to go on sale in October. They're an essential part of any wardrobe. Jeans can be expensive, so look for deals at your favorite clothing retailers during this month.

November

Black Friday Sales

It's the biggest sales event of the year: Black Friday. This is the time to buy almost anything, but especially toys, appliances, electronics, and clothes. Electronics specifically are at some of their lowest prices for Black Friday. If heading to crowded malls is too daunting, Cyber Monday has fantastic sales as well.

Wedding Dresses

If you or someone you know is getting married soon, November is a great time to purchase a wedding dress. Bridal shops will already have discounts in response to slow business, but discounts are even more prevalent as shops look to clear out old styles to welcome new releases.

December

Toys

If you missed Black Friday, don't worry — toy retailers will have even more sales in preparation for Christmas. Now's the time to buy if you're shopping for a child or a young family member.

Champagne

Big New Year's plans or just want some champagne for the house? Champagne sellers will be offering great deals as New Year's comes up.

Pools

Summer is not the best time to get a pool installed, as prices usually skyrocket. Instead, get a pool installed during the off-season; it will be cheaper, and many companies prefer to install in the cold (rather than the heat).

It's tempting to buy everything right when you need it. But if you can wait it out until the time of year when deals are hot, you'll save in the long run.

  1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/826442/share-of-purchases-bought-on-impulse-by-age-us/
  2. https://nrf.com/insights/holiday-and-seasonal-trends/valentines-day

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