Month-By-Month Guide for Big Purchases

The following is Part 4 in our 5 part series on finances, courtesy of Nationwide Insurance's blog

Save big by learning the best times to buy.

The best bargain shoppers know that timing is everything in deciding what to buy when. Different products follow different cycles of pricing, depending on everything from holidays to weather to annual trade shows. Check out our month-by-month suggestions for the best deals and steals.


Fitness equipment: Maybe they want to help you stick to your New Year’s Resolution, or maybe they just know an easy sales opportunity when they see it. Either way, retailers tend to cut prices on fitness equipment at the start of each new year. Wearables, like step and fitness trackers, see price drops at this time of year as well.

Winter apparel: Everyone asks for winter clothes for Christmas, and department stores know it. After the holiday passes, they’re left with quite a bit of merchandise that they need to move in order to make room for spring fashions. This is your time to snag that heavy parka you’ve had your eye on, or maybe some outdoor snow gear—it’s still going to be cold for a while.

Linens, bedding, and towels: Some historians claim the “white sales” that January is known for were started by merchant John Wanamaker. He wanted to drive business during the winter months, so he slashed prices on bed linens, which at the time, were only available in white.

Modern retailers continue this tradition, but with a more colorful spin. Look around stores and online for a variety of linens, towels, and more this January.


Tax software: The closer it gets to tax day, the more likely you are to find deals on tax processing software.

Mattresses: For some reason, Presidents Day weekend seems to be prime time for mattress sales. Sleep is important, so take time to pick a really good mattress. If you wait until February to buy it, your splurge can actually earn you some savings!


Boats: After the close of boating trade show season, prices will take a nosedive. And while boat insurance prices don’t dip in March, if you buy a boat, it is also a good idea to shop for coverage.

Luggage: Holiday traveling is over, but summer vacations are still a distant dream. This means interest in travel related goods is low, and retailers are lowering their prices on luggage to drive product interest and ride out the sales lull.

Electronics: The Japanese fiscal year ends in March, which means Japanese-made goods like electronics are on their way out of stores to make room for new models. These discounts might even be better than February’s Super Bowl TV sales.


Thrift items: It’s spring cleaning season. Clear out your house, hold a yard sale, and use the extra cash to purchase some select secondhand items.

Houses: If you’ve already begun your home buying research, April is a good time to start looking for the perfect place. Prices aren’t quite at the rock-bottom lows they reach during winter but they’re usually well below the summer listing prices, that tend to peak right as the school year ends. There are also more houses on the market than there were in the winter, so you’ll have more options to choose from.

Vacations: It’s not traditionally a vacation month, so it’s a great time to book a vacation. The weather is pleasant in many locations, and prices haven’t hit the peak season highs that usually come May. Cruises are especially affordable this month. Don’t forget to do your research on where to find the best travel deals, as member discounts and loyalty programs can go a long way.


Memorial Day Sales: Clothing, party supplies, cookware, swimwear and more are all available at discounted prices as Memorial Day sales stretch throughout the entire month.

Refrigerators: New refrigerator models are released this month, so department stores offer last year’s stock at reduced prices.


Tools and hardware: It might be cliché, but dads seem to like tools, and retailers seem to like offering Father’s Day sales with deeply discounted power tools, hardware, and more.

Gym memberships: Many people prefer to exercise outdoors once it gets warm – so gyms try to lure you back inside with promotional rates.

Dishes and housewares: As wedding season peaks, the prices on wedding registry gifts (like dishes and kitchen appliances) tend to dip.


Summer clothes: Next month marks the start of back-to-school season, and stores need to make room for the accompanying fall fashions. That makes July a great time to pick up summer essentials and still get a few months use out of them.

Outdoor furniture: Take advantage of mid-season discounts to upgrade your patio.


Laptops and computers: Back-to-school specials mean great deals on computers – whether or not you’re actually going to school.

Office supplies: Back-to-school sales don’t have to just apply to students. Pens, paper, notebooks, organizers and more are on sale this month, to the benefit of professionals and academics alike.


Airfare: Off-season offers make air travel especially affordable this time of year.

Lawnmowers: The grass-cutting season may be ending, but now’s the time to buy a new lawnmower for next summer.

Bicycles: As new bike models come out at the beginning of fall, you can take advantage of sales on existing stock and score yourself a set of new wheels.


Cars: Car dealers need to clean out their lots to make way for new inventory this month, so it can be easier to negotiate a good price. Don’t assume you’ll be getting the best price however. Here are 5 things you should know before buying a car to help you get the best deal, regardless of when you purchase.

Gardening tools: True to the principle of supply and demand, garden tools become less vital as the temperature drops, so prices drop right along with it.


Appliances: If you can handle the Black Friday crowds, this is the best time to snatch up a deal on high-end appliances.

Toys: The holiday season is here, and Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are a great time to get great deals on the latest and greatest toys.

Wedding dresses: Are you or someone you know getting married next year? Bridal shops are clearing their inventory to make space for next year’s gowns, so current stock will be discounted.


Gift cards: Prices on gift cards can fall to nearly 20% of their value this month, which means your money can stretch further.

Golf clubs: Few golfers are hitting the links this month, so sporting goods stores tend to price their clubs below retail value.

Champagne: New Year’s Eve toasting traditions mean Champagne distributors must compete for sales. Stock up now for a year of celebrations.

Part 5 "How to Save on a Family Vacation" coming next week