Best Time To Buy Stuff: Discount Shopping On A Schedule

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-01-277

The subject of this post comes from an article I found in my email box today, care of Consumer Reports. CR put together a discount calendar showing the best times to save money during the year (and for what items). They based the information here on industry surveys and publications, among other things. From their research, it seems that sales are less predictable than they have been in the past. But according to the Consumer Reports article (from which I’m shamelessly lifting a lot of this information along with their sales calendar image below), you may still get some money saving deals by looking for patterns in sales schedules and store circulars you receive. Some interesting advice on bargain hunting:

1. Don’t buy a particular item during a time when that item is in high demand. Some merchandise may actually be subject to some level of seasonality. For example, avoid picking up jewelry right before Valentine’s Day or Christmas time. I’d suspect you’d do much better price-wise, by picking up your next year’s Valentine’s Day gifts or holiday presents during the summer. You’ll just have to store them somewhere inconspicuous for a while. And there’s no better time to buy holiday decor than in January!

2. Monitor online deal sites like Ebates, which frequently offers double cash back rewards and coupon codes from their partner sites and merchants during the year. Their merchant network is one of the largest I’ve seen anywhere. Check out my Ebates review for more on this popular deal site.

For additional shopping resources, check out these articles:

3. Get the best prices for airline tickets from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday. Avoid buying tickets during the weekend as that’s when airline fares are up! Here are more tips on how to book cheap flights.

4. DVDs and CDs are typically released on Tuesdays. Find them on sale for the first one through three weeks after their release.

Best Time To Buy Stuff: Discount Shopping On A Schedule

And here’s the good stuff. Check out this Consumer Reports’ discount calendar that I referenced earlier, which shows the time of the year when certain items go on sale.

bargain shopping discount calendar

So any other good shopping tips? Knowing when to buy certain merchandise can help you plan your shopping around sales events, so that you don’t need to wait for those Black Friday bargains and Cyber Monday deals for the best prices. Besides, who wants to cram all that shopping into a few days (or weeks)?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

20smoney January 28, 2010 at 6:59 am

I just wrote a very similar article to this…. For me, i’m looking to get a generator… they are “out of season” since we haven’t had a hurricane for a few years down here in Florida.

Great graphic in the post I’ll have to print that out.

Credit Girl January 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

Thanks for introducing me to Ebates! I’d never heard of that before so I’ll definitely be keeping track of that… The chart graphic is very useful as well! Thanks for the great post.

Silicon Valley Blogger January 28, 2010 at 11:02 am

One of the things that would get on my nerves is when I’d buy something and just several weeks to a month later, I discover the item being sold at much cheaper prices. Usually, the good stores will allow you to get the discount if you inquire about it later. But some stores aren’t so easygoing about it. This same concept is particularly aggravating when you’re dealing with airline tickets. Imagine paying a lot more than the guy sitting next to you! So that little bit of preparation and planning can save you both the money and the aggravation. ;)

@Credit Girl, glad you like Ebates! We use it quite a lot and even introduced my mom and other family members to it.

Sam January 28, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I’ve heard that the best time to shop for big screen TV’s is the day after the Super Bowl. I haven’t verified this myself, but I’m wondering if anyone else has heard this.

Personal Finance Student February 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm

This is great! Thanks for sharing this!

Ron March 10, 2010 at 11:37 pm

I agree with jewelry before Valentine’s and Christmas. But they’re still expensive even after those dates! Haha! For the others, it would help if you have coupons at hand. So your number 2 tip is helpful. For flights and vacations, book as early as possible. You’ll lose more opportunities to save money if you try to book them so close to the date.

Elizabeth May 2, 2010 at 10:17 pm

You’ll lose more opportunities to save money if you try to book them so close to the date.

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