The Best Times of Year to Shop (When Everyday Items are Cheapest!)
Sales come and go, and if you’re a savvy shopper, you know when to wait and when to buy.
The best sales are predictable. Big-ticket items are offered at big enough discounts at certain times of the year that it’s worth waiting for them so you can save money.
Here’s our monthly calendar of the best times to buy specific items that are on sale.
Why are there best times to buy?
Stores drop prices for certain products in specific months for a few reasons. New models may be coming out soon, so they’re looking to clear inventory. Or some may just be traditions, such as white sales in January.
The biggest discounts can during low inventory, so you may not find exactly what you want. Other items, however, may be plentiful and sales start in the month we list and last for two more months.
Some items such as furniture that take up a lot of space may be on sale a few times a year because inventory is always coming in and the older items must go.
With those tips in mind, here are the best times of the year to buy things from retailers, listed by month.
The best time of year to buy sheets is in January. That’s been a fact since 1878 when department store owner John Wanamaker had extra bedsheets in his inventory and slashed prices with the hope to draw customers inside his store during a slow shopping period. The only sheets he had were white, and thus white sales began.
Now, white sales include much more than just white sheets. Discounts of 70-80% can be found in January on sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and other soft home goods.
Other items with major discounts in January as a new year begins include:
- Fitness equipment: Up to 60% off as people make New Year’s resolutions to get in shape. At the low end, Amazon may offer discounts starting at 20% off.
- Gym memberships
- Winter clothing for cold weather
- Holiday decor
- Tax filing software so you can be ready for tax day and get a head start on your personal finance resolutions.
Valentine’s Day and President’s Day are two holidays where you may be able to double up and find combined sales in February. Leftover candy will go on sale on February 15 when Valentine’s Day is over, and President’s Day sales around mid-February should lead to deals on home goods and other deep discounts.
Other deals in February include:
- TVs: The Super Bowl used to be held in January, but it’s now in February, and the TV sales have moved with it. Just don’t wait until after the Super Bowl to find a big sale.
- Jewelry: 20-30% off at some retailers around Valentine’s Day.
- President’s Day sales: Mattresses at 60% off, computers at 70% off, winter clothing at up to 75% off, and large appliances such as washers and kitchen appliances.
- Furniture as retailers look to make room for new furniture arriving at the end of winter.
St. Patrick’s Day sales aren’t a big thing in March, which can be a slow shopping month and be an incentive for department stores and other businesses to have sales to entice shoppers.
March can be a good time to buy a house, as a lot of inventory is on the market or about to be listed before the traditional home selling season of spring begins in April. Summer is also a busy home-buying time, and you may find deals in August when home sales start to fall.
Other March sales include:
- TVs: We know we’ve already listed this once, but televisions go on sale more often than you’d think throughout the year. Shoppers who missed the Super Bowl sales can often find twice as many deals in March.
- Cruises: The coronavirus pandemic may change things, but traditionally the cruise industry ends its “wave season” in March when deep discounts and packages are available.
- Luggage: Up to 50% off.
- Winter sports gear: Yes, again with the winter clothing sales. The winter season is winding down in March, and clearance sales can hit 60-80%.
April is full of many reasons to have sales, including tax day, the start of spring cleaning, and Easter. Here are some things to buy at deep discounts in April:
- Spring clothing: If the winter gear is already sold out, look for clearance sales on other types of clothing from 50-70% off.
- Vacuum cleaners
- Easter items: Candy, cookware, and anything with a bunny theme to it.
- Tax Day: April 15 is when tax returns are due, and some businesses offer deals, such as on home office supplies.
Memorial Day at the end of May is one of the biggest sales events of the year. Look for these deals:
- Large appliances: 40% off before Memorial Day.
- Mattresses: Up to 70% off
- Swimwear: 50% off
- Mother’s Day: Flowers, cards and other gifts mom might like are often on sale before this day dedicated to moms.
- Star Wars Day: May 4 is when “May the Fourth Be With You” sales accompany Star Wars merchandise.
- Kitchen gadgets: 40% off
The year is half gone, so remember these sales in June:
- Athletic apparel: People are preparing for summer and all of the outdoor activities they plan to do.
- Lingerie: June is when Victoria’s Secret has its semi-annual sale.
- Gym memberships: After deals around New Year’s resolutions, these June deals will help you get fit at a discount as summer arrives.
- Father’s Day: Sales of 30% off items dad likes, such as new tech.
- Spring clothes: 50% off clothes that are now going out of season.
- Air conditioners: Anticipating a warm summer? So are some retailers with sales on AC.
July is between Memorial Day and back-to-school sales, though the Fourth of July holiday gives retailers a reason to start sales to get customers in the door or on their computers. July deals include:
- Laptop computers: Great deals can be found now, though you may find better ones in November on Black Friday.
- Amazon Prime Day: This big sale was delayed to October in 2020, but in 2021 it will most likely be July 12-13. It’s a two-day sale for Amazon Prime members on gadgets and all sorts of tech, especially smart home gadgets.
- Camping, hiking gear: 50% off around Fourth of July sales.
- Home decor items: 75% off decor items for Christmas.
- Electronics: 75% off
- Labor Day flights: Labor Day isn’t until September, but the best deals on flights for that end-of-summer celebration usually happen about five weeks before the holiday. The pandemic, however, may change that.
- Summer clothing: 80% off
August marks the end of summer and back-to-school sales, meaning steep discounts on these items:
- Laptops: Deals abound as kids get ready to return to school, though better deals are likely in November on Black Friday.
- School supplies: Tax-free weekends where school supplies and related back-to-school items are sold without having to pay a state tax.
- Patio furniture as Labor Day approaches in September.
- Labor Day sales start around August 24, with up to 70% off furniture, bedding, decor, and outdoor items.
Labor Day sales will be going strong in September as retailers look to clear out any remaining summer stock. Here are some deals to look for:
- Latest iPhone: Apple usually drops prices on older models when new iPhones are released in September. Deals can also be found on the latest iPhone coming out from various carriers, though they won’t be as steeply discounted as older iPhones.
- Summer clothing
- Large appliances: 40% off
- Mattresses: Up to 60% off
- School supplies
- Home office gear
A new car is likely the best deal you’ll find in October, as dealerships try to sell of remaining inventory and last year’s models before the new models arrive for the holiday season. Other deals to look out for include:
- Older iPhones: These may continue to be discounted in October if a new iPhone was released in September.
- Halloween costumes
- “Shoulder season” travel deals to Europe: Up to 80% off, when travel resumes and a “shoulder season” ever happens again.
- “Fall” or “autumn” sales: Up to 70% off many items around those terms.
Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and is usually the biggest sale of the year for some things. Another big sale day is Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving when sales at online retailers are popular.
Expect steep discounts on Black Friday or around that day, and on Cyber Monday, on such items as:
- Appliances: 50% off
- New iPhones
- Laptop computers: 40% off
- Electronics: Amazon and other retailers have all kinds of deals.
- Winter clothing
- Broadway tickets: This is a projection, because the pandemic may again put off the opening of live theater, but usually Broadway ticket prices drop in September. But with postponements due to the coronavirus, the deals on show tickets may be pushed back to November.
- Halloween items: Candy, costumes and Halloween decor are often on sale in early November.
- Baking supplies
- Early Black Friday sales
December is when many businesses count on making most of their sales, and deep discounts can help to get holiday gift shoppers opening their wallets. Here are some deals to look for in December:
- Gift cards
- After Christmas sales, such as electronic gear you didn’t get for Christmas.
- Christmas decorations
- Toys and video games
The bottom line
Shopping for big-ticket items or even things you buy regularly, such as clothes, during certain months of the year can save you a big amount of money. Why wait until next year if you don’t have to?
Unless an appliance breaks and you need to replace it immediately, it can pay to wait for a sale, which we’ve found to happen often: in February, May, September, and November.
For some of the best savings, look for things when stores change inventory. Sales often happen as merchants try to sell last year’s models before new merchandise arrives. If you’re unsure when such a sale will happen, ask a salesperson. Your wallet will thank you later for being so inquisitive.