The Best Times to Buy Stuff

You know that produce is cheapest when it’s in season.

What you may not know is that there are also “seasons” for many consumer products. Time your purchases correctly, and you can rack up big savings—so you can buy the shoes and the bag you’ve been eyeing. 

Tech: Computers are on sale right when most families need them—in August and September. Nerds on Call founder Shawna Bell says that’s when retailers are aggressively competing for your back-to-school dollars. If you need a new laptop at another time, Bell says to buy on a Monday, which is when manufacturers apply rebates. Bell says gaming systems are usually announced in May and rolled out for the holiday shopping season. If your little gamers can sit tight, you can score huge savings on new systems in January and February.

Health: If you’re looking for a deal on gym memberships, May is the best month to negotiate. “When the weather becomes conducive to running and exercising outside, consumers have more ammunition to haggle a price for a gym membership,” says Dealnews.com features director Lindsay SakraidaMeanwhile, home fitness equipment is priced to sell in January, when New Year’s resolutions are still fresh in consumers’ minds. “Look for stationary bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers, complete home gyms and training accessories and DVDs that are marked 15 to 60 percent off,” Sakraida says.

Home: Jon Lal, founder of BeFrugal.com, says home organization supplies are usually cheapest in May, just after tax season. As for furniture, you may be able to save up to 50 percent if you buy pieces in January or July, because manufacturers are eager to unload inventory before new lines are rolled out in February and August.

Kids: If you’re expecting a baby, Lal says you can save 10 to 20 percent on essentials like cribs, car seats and strollers if you buy in July. Stock up on toys in October and November. “Since holiday shopping is approaching, stores will reduce prices on some items in stock to make room for the season’s hottest toys that they anticipate will be in demand for gifts,” Lal says. Kenilworth mom and journalist Donna Bozzo blogs about affordable family fun at LadyWithTheAlligatorPurse.com. She recommends buying Groovy Girls and American Girl dolls and doll clothing on eBay during the summer months, long before shoppers start hunting for holidays gifts