Is your tax return burning a hole in your pocket? Not quite sure how to spend it?
If you have a hankering for that HD flat screen…or that hot new car…take a breath and don’t blow that stash of cash just yet. Call it a science or marketing secret, but there are proven ways to get the best bang for your buck on big-ticket items throughout the year. You just need to know when to hit the stores.
Furniture – Manufacturers ship new designs and furniture sets to stores in January, so deals can be found on existing stock in retail stores.
Exercise equipment – Remember that New Year’s resolution? Retailers do, and that’s why they radically drop prices on exercise equipment in January.
Linens and bedding – The first “White Sale” hit store ads in 1878, and the tradition stuck. Shop in winter for comforters, sheets, mattresses and all those fluffy linens that make life more comfortable. For the best deals on furniture, exercise equipment, linens, electronics and more, try searching dealnews.com.
Cell phones – Cell phone prices and plans vary throughout the year, but shop Valentine’s Day for two-for-one deals for you and your sweetie.
Televisions – Black Friday may be king, but a second time to shop for TVs comes around and just after Super Bowl Sunday. No matter who wins the Super Bowl, you come out the big winner with great TV deals.
Golf clubs – New models are released for the summer, so your local golf shop starts chipping the old clubs out the door in March.
Luggage – It’s between vacation seasons, so grab deals on bags in March, and get ready to hit the beach in the summer.
Houses – Spring is the best time of year to buy a house, but beware that competition will be fierce. You may have to do a little extra hunting for the home of your dreams.
Digital cameras – Manufacturers usually introduce their latest models of digital cameras in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. By the time spring rolls around, retailers start discounting older models to make room for the newer ones. So you might consider buying last year’s model for less.
Refrigerators – While most appliances go on sale in the fall, May is the time for refrigerators. New models hit stores in June, so shop now for cool deals.
Mattresses – Tradition rules with mattress sales, which have been staples of holiday shopping for decades. Best bets are Memorial Day, 4th of July and Presidents’ Day, according to the International Sleep Products Association. Don’t forget, mattresses are one of the last “haggle” items in stores, so see if you can shave an extra $100 or so off your big purchase.
Tools – Dads love tools, and retailers know when Father’s Day is on the calendar. This makes June an ideal time to fill Dad’s toolbox.
Computers – New editions are often on the horizon in June, so discounts are prevalent on the remaining computers on retail shelves. It’s also a great time to take advantage of back-to-school offerings on computers and related equipment.
Home décor – It’s wedding season, which means savings on wedding gifts for friends and family. If you’re ready for a change in your own home, you can gift yourself with a few new items.
Laptops – Shop for laptops during back-to-school sales, when you can save 20%-35%. Big discounts can also hit whenever Microsoft releases a new Windows operating system. For great deals on technology and even several non-technology items like cars, clothing, travel and home furnishings, check out TechBargains.com.
Appliances – New models come out in October, which means big bargains on the previous year’s models.
Cars – Brand-new models of cars are introduced in late summer and early fall, so dealers are anxious to empty their lots. Savings can be anywhere from $500-$3,000 for “older” cars. To find great deals, car comparisons, buying advice, ratings, car values and leasing information, try Edmunds.com.
Holiday airfare – Shop early – a month or more out, if you can – for that holiday visit to grandma’s house. A tip: It’s typically cheaper to fly on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday, and airfares change at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and once each Saturday and Sunday.
Gas grills – At this time of year, your thoughts may be turning to winter, but it gives you a perfect window of opportunity to buy gas grills, as managers clear out store displays. Pricegrabber.com offers deals on home improvement, clothing, furniture, appliances, home goods and more.
Air conditioners – You may be shivering through the first nights of winter, but the best time to buy an air conditioner is late fall and early winter. Think COOL!
Televisions and other electronics – ‘Tis the season. Eat your turkey and head out to the Black Friday sales for outstanding bargains, even if you have to shop at 2:00 a.m. Hitting up the stores on Black Friday? Try mobile apps like TheFind and RedLaser, which allow you to use mobile phone cameras to scan bar codes to compare products and prices.
Pools – Purchase that pool of your dreams during the holidays, and look forward to a splash-filled summer.
Cars – At the end of the year, lots need to empty. Drive home a 2013 model to get the most mileage from your dollars. And don’t forget: Many great deals can be snagged over long holiday weekends. Watch your newspaper and store and company websites for the deal of the day. A little advance homework can save you hundreds of dollars that you can use to buy more fun items!