The Best Time to Buy and Save

Many of us shoppers are knowledgeable enough to recognize that the best time to buy an item and get a deal is when it is out of season—for example, right now all of the winter clothing is on clearance in anticipation of spring’s arrival. But just like we have meteorological seasons, did you know that the retail industry also has seasons? According to the Wall Street Journal, retailers normally have 13-20 seasons that they plan for. They generally follow a yearly cycle offering particular items on sale during certain months.

In order to be a savvy shopper, you should familiarize yourself with this cycle, and plan your purchases, particularly larger ones like appliances, furniture, and cars, so that you can maximize the potential savings. I cut an article out of the newspaper years ago that detailed which months that you should buy particular items, and have kept the guide ever since. But this chart from makes it even simpler to keep track:

Not only do they divide up optimal purchasing times by month, but also by day and even time of day. Print out this useful chart and hang it on your refrigerator or in your office to allow you to plan ahead, and carry a copy in your wallet to prevent impromptu and ill-timed purchases. Even if something breaks down, and you need a replacement, you can look ahead to see if you might be better served waiting a month to get it.

The only item that I noticed was missing from this chart is the best time to purchase gasoline. Though they provided an optimal day of the week (Wednesday), experts like Kiplinger recommend that you get gas during the week “before dawn or late at night, when the sun and traffic volume are both down“, and before your tank is empty. Buying when it is cooler allows the gas to be denser, and ensures that you get what you pay for. Also avoid filling up when the gasoline truck is delivering or shortly after to make sure that you are only pumping gas and not settled dirt with it.

With a little forethought and planning, you can take advantage of the best prices year-round and slash your costs on life’s little necessities and luxuries.

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