Bargain Hunting: The Best Time to Buy
by Reader Contributors
A big part of bargain hunting is knowing the best time to buy. Some of our frugal readers share their calendars of the best time of the year to find bargains on any item.
Dear Dollar Stretcher,
My grandma used to have a sheet of paper on the refrigerator of the best time to buy things listed by months. All I can remember from it is that January was linens and towels.
Can your readers help by sharing their calendars and lists? Thanks!
The Best Time to Buy Grocery Products
With 5 years experience in doing layouts for supermarket circulars for the largest chain in NYC, here are some basics:
Frozen Food: March is nations frozen food month. Always great sales.
Dairy: June is national dairy month. Not quite as big a deal as Frozen Food month.
BBQ Products: (Ketchup, mustard, relish, salad dressings, napkins, etc.) Early in the summer. These companies want to fill your pantry so you don’t buy any competitors products all summer. Good time to stock up a years worth.
Beverages: (Soda, beer, juice drinks, apple juice, etc.) All summer, especially around holidays such as Memorial Day, Labor Day and July 4th. Also usually good prices on large size items (like 2 liter soda) during holiday sales in other months. (See also: Simple Beverage Savings That Can Reduce the Grocery Budget.)
Baking Needs: (Flour, sugar, corn/vegetable oil, aluminum foil, etc.): Thanksgiving and December Holidays. This is also a good time to stock up on holiday related items that you like to eat all year such as cranberries and canned yams.
Italian Products: (Ricotta, mozzarella, crushed tomatoes, olive oil) Christmas, Easter and Columbus Day. Holiday stock-up goes for all ethnic products, such as Chinese products at Chinese New Years, Jewish products during Rosh Hashana and Passover, etc.
It is also good to follow what is going on in the world too for indications of what will happen in the store. Items that can’t be stocked up on, just buy now and enjoy them as you won’t be buying it again for awhile.
Listed by Type of Item
Garden Tools: February/April – Look for up to 50% off on things like rakes, hoes, and shovels then. (See also: Inexpensive Tools for Beginner Gardeners.)
Linens and Towels: January/February and July/August – Pick up discontinued fall and spring merchandise.
- indoor plants – January
- perennials and annuals – March through October
- shrubs, trees, and rosebushes – March through May
- fall bulbs – September
- spring bulbs – February/March
Kitchenware and Small Appliances: Mother’s Day shopping in May or after holidays (See also: Affordable Small Kitchen Cookers.)
Furniture: December – Supposedly, furniture sales slow down for the holidays.
Carpeting: January and February
China and Flatware: March and September (on last season’s styles)
Hardware: December and during June’s Father’s Day specials
- March for spring patterns
- September for fall patterns
Flowerpots, Statuary, and Barbecues: During the winter
Major Appliances: No special time of year was given, just to consider buying floor-demonstration models and to ask the larger chains for bigger discounts when making major purchases. (See also: An Insider’s View on Kitchen Appliance Deals.)
Paint: May through August (See also: Finding Quality Paint at An Affordable Price.)
Building Supplies: There’s no way to predict times for sales prices. Your best bet for saving money is to look for free cutting, delivery, and other service perks.
Cleaning Supplies and Pantry Staples: January or August/September
Patio Furniture: February and late August
Start living better for less.
Subscribe to get money-saving content by email that can help you stretch your dollars further.
Twice each week you'll receive articles and tips that can help you free up and keep more of your hard-earned money, even on the tightest of budgets.
Subscribers receive a free copy of our eBook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better for Less.
We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.
A List by Month
Here’s my month-by-month schedule for dedicated bargain hunters that I use.
January: After-Christmas sales, appliances, baby carriages, books, carpets and rugs, China and glassware, Christmas cards, costume jewelry, furniture, furs, lingerie, men’s overcoats, pocketbooks, pre-inventory sales, shoes, toys, white goods (sheets, towels, etc.)
February: Air conditioners, art supplies, bedding, cars (used), curtains, furniture, glassware and China, housewares, lamps, men’s apparel, silverware, sportswear and equipment, storm windows, toys, TV sets and stereos
March: Boys’ and girls’ shoes, garden supplies, housewares, ice skates, infants’ clothing, laundry equipment, luggage, ski equipment
April: Fabrics, hosiery, lingerie, painting supplies, women’s shoes
May: Handbags, housecoats, household linens, jewelry, luggage, Mothers’ Day specials, outdoor furniture, rugs, shoes, sportswear, tires and auto accessories, TV sets
June: Bedding, boy’s clothing, fabrics, Fathers’ Day specials, floor coverings, lingerie, sleepwear and hosiery, men’s clothing, women’s shoes
July: Air conditioners and other appliances, bathing suits, children’s clothes, electronic equipment, fuel, furniture, handbags, lingerie and sleepwear, luggage, men’s shirts, men’s shoes, rugs, sportswear, summer clothes, summer sports equipment
August: Back-to-school specials, bathing suits, carpeting, cosmetics, curtains and drapes, electric fans and air conditioners, furniture, furs, men’s coats, silver, tires, white goods, women’s coats
September: Bicycles, cars (outgoing models), China and glassware, fabrics, fall fashions, garden equipment, hardware, lamps, paints
October: Cars (outgoing models), China and glassware, fall/winter clothing, fishing equipment, furniture, lingerie and hosiery, major appliances, school supplies, silver, storewide clearances, women’s coats
November: Blankets and quilts, boys’ suits and coats, cars (used), lingerie, major appliances, men’s suits and coats, shoes, white goods, winter clothing
December: After-Christmas cards, gifts, and toys, blankets and quilts, cars (used), children’s clothes, Christmas promotions, coats and hats, men’s furnishings, resort and cruise wear, shoes
From “Miserly Moms”
Here is the list from the book Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two-Income Economy by Jonni McCoy.
January – February: men’s shirts, towels, linens, sheets, clothes dryer, used cars, water heaters, art supplies, bicycles, books, curtains, clearance furniture, Christmas wrap and ornaments, toys, meats (turkey, ham), baking items
March: coats, clothing for all, shoes, TV, washing machines, ski equipment, housewares, artichokes
April – May: dresses, suits, coats, summer clothes, towels, TV, tires, outdoor furniture, paint, tools, garden supplies, summer sports equipment, gift items, artichokes, dairy products, ham, eggs, chicken
June – July: summer clothes, shoes, air conditioners, school supplies, outdoor furniture, building materials, most furniture, gift items, dairy products, fresh fish, barbecue foods, limes and lemons
August – September: summer clothes, fall clothes, school clothes, swimwear, school supplies, garden supplies, outdoor furniture, rugs and carpets, bicycles, car batteries and mufflers, seasonal items, season passes, fresh fish, lamb, canned goods
October: cars from dealerships (buy close to last day of month for best deal), summer sports equipment
November: men’s shirts, water heaters, home improvement supplies, houses are cheaper.
December: Not a good time to buy anything, until December 26.
Reviewed June 2021
Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher, our free twice-weekly newsletter aimed at helping you live better for less on the money you already have!
Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!
- 7 Habits of Highly Frugal People
- 5 Simple Budget Cuts That Can Save $200 a Month
- How to Track Down Unclaimed Funds Owed You
- 32 Ways to Save Money on Your Utility Bills
- Do You Need Credit Life Insurance When Buying a New Car?
- How to Maximize Profits When Selling Online
- Staying Motivated to Continue Digging Yourself Out of Debt
- 9 Things You Need to Do Before You Retire
- You Didn’t Save Enough for Retirement and You’re 55+
- When Empty Nesters Reorganize and Declutter Their Home
- Reinventing Your Career in Your 50s or 60s
- What Mature Homeowners Should Know about Reverse Mortgages
- 2 Reasons to Collect Social Security Benefits As Soon As Possible