The Best Time to Save Money on Products and Services
Timing, they say, is everything. Being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference in finding your soulmate. Saying the right thing at the right time can help you ace a job interview. And shopping for a certain product or service at just the right time can mean dozens—or hundreds or thousands—of dollars in savings.
And no, we don’t mean you should sit around and wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday to arrive. There are specific months of the year, days of the week, even times of the day when smart consumers have a decided edge.
Sure, there are a lot of obvious strategies. You can get great deals on winter clothes when spring sets in. You can get a low price on those goofy blow-up reindeer as soon as Christmas comes and goes. But there are other factors that cause price drops. Here are some examples offered by consumer websites and personal finance experts that will hopefully put you on the path to timely shopping.
By the Month
Exercise Equipment: January and June. Fitness is an industry driven by New Year’s resolutions. Makers of home gyms and cardio equipment tend to drop their prices in January to entice consumers who might otherwise join a local gym. Why June? The weather gets nice. People like to go outside, and so indoor equipment sales can slump without aggressive price cuts.
Mattresses: February. President’s Day is the traditional big sales period for bedding. Experts recommend replacing your mattress every 7-10 years.
Furniture: February and September. New furniture styles hit retail floors every spring and fall. So if you’re looking to get a deal, you’ll want to shop during the months immediately beforehand. Toward the end of winter or the end of summer is when retailers discount their old stock.
Weddings: February and March. It seems that most couples want to get married on balmy spring or summer days. But if you’re willing to risk a little chill, you can get deep discounts on everything from dresses to reception venues in February and March.
Vacuums and Cleaning Supplies: April. Spring cleaning is a centuries-old American tradition. Enough said.
Technology: June. A lot of electronics are still made in Asia, and June is the end of Japan’s fiscal year. That means you can expect lower prices on technology, such as digital cameras and high-definition televisions.
Tropical Cruises and Vacations: June. Hurricane season starts in late summer, which scares off some potential tourists. If you book in June and keep an eye on the weather, you can get great travel deals.
Jewelry: June and July. Valentine’s Day is in the rearview mirror. Christmas is far in the future. With no gift-giving holiday, summer is a slow season for jewelry, so many retailers offer deep discounts on rings, necklaces, bracelets and more.
Amazon Prime Day: July. Amazon’s annual “Christmas in July” offers great deals on a variety of products. Many other retailers have launched similar mid-year deals to try to keep pace with the online giant.
Tax-Free Shopping Days: August. Many states eliminate sales taxes on youth-oriented items for a few days or weeks to spur back-to-school sales.
Computers: September. Lots of students buy laptops over the summer in advance of the academic year. When the back-to-school crush is over, prices tend to come down.
Lawnmowers and Tractors: October. As mowing season comes to end, stores want to move out old models to make room for snowblowers and plows that sell well over the winter.
Bicycles: October. New models start coming out in these fall months, meaning it's a great time to snag a sale on last year's bikes.
Homes: December. The weather is cold, kids are in the middle of the school year, and it’s a slow time for home sales. This often means somewhat desperate sellers are willing to accept lower bids.
By Day of the Week
Gasoline: Sunday and Monday. By later in the week, gas stations tend to nudge up prices in anticipation of weekend travel.
Cars: Monday. The conventional wisdom is that dealers offer their best prices at the end of the month as they try to reach sales quotas, or at the end of the model year as they make room for new inventory. But more granular data shows that buyers generally save more on Mondays. One theory is that with fewer customers in the dealership, the sales team has the time and incentive to negotiate a better price.
Movie Tickets: Tuesday. According to this local NC website, some theaters offer $5 movies, and some as low as just $1.75 movies on Tuesdays. Other perks might include half-priced popcorn and drinks.
Restaurants: Tuesday: After the weekend rush, Tuesdays are a lot quieter and many restaurants will offer extra specials on food, from appetizers to entrees. Added bonus: Tuesdays are typically the day most restaurants receive food delivery, so you’ll have the freshest meals.
Airplane Tickets: Tuesday and Wednesday. This goes for both booking and flying. On Tuesdays, airlines release weekly sales promotions, which often prompt competing airlines to match prices, making this a good time to book. As for travel, people usually choose weekends to set out on their vacations. Midweek tickets to popular destinations can be hundreds of dollars cheaper.
Groceries: Wednesday and Thursday. Many people grocery shop on weekends out of habit, so stores are less likely to discount foods they know will sell. Supermarket execs confirm that grocery stores tend to offer more sales in the middle of the week.
Clothing: Thursday. This is all about the advertising cycle. Most announcements of weekend sales and store coupons are made on Thursdays to attract a weekend crowd. You can get ahead of the curve by coming early.
Booze and Pub Grub: Friday. According to the website Rather-Be-Shopping, many bars and pubs across the U.S. offer Friday happy hour specials that you won’t find throughout the week or on weekends.
Used Stuff: Saturday. Of course, the best deals of all are found at your neighborhood garage and estate sales. Late Saturday afternoon is a good time to negotiate a good price, since sellers are usually eager to get rid of their stuff right before closing.
By Time of Day
Stocks: Right after opening bell. While most people invest over the long haul, day traders thrive on market volatility. The first 15 minutes following the opening bell is a prime time, as prices can fluctuate wildly based on international markets and overnight news.
Return Items: About 10 a.m. Did you buy something that doesn’t fit? Did you get a gift you just don’t like? The best way to get your money refunded or a get store credit is to come in right after opening time. That’s when stores tend to have the most people working and willing to spend time with you.
Online Shopping. Early morning and lunchtime. It’s all about when people have free time. Retailers tend to send out personalized email offers before you start work or during a time when you’re likely to have a break and can check your inbox.
It’s no secret that a good deal can be found anywhere when you’re determined. Take these tips from Piedmont Advantage Credit Union and start saving your money little by little.