Sales are cyclical, and bargain hunters can save big bucks by planning ahead. During summer, school is out and people go on vacation, meaning the season is all about indulgence — and retailers make sure to capitalize on the demand.
Savvy shoppers can keep more of their money by knowing what not to buy during the hot and happy summer months. Avoid purchasing the following 20 things — or purchase as little of them as possible — during summer.
Summer, of course, is beach season. When the season winds down, bathing suits become difficult for retailers to move. “That means that stunner swimsuit will take a swan dive in price,” said fashion and travel blogger Valerie Hansen, who runs MapleLeopard.com. She recommended buying next year’s bathing suit after this year’s final beach day passes.
Although the sun rises every day, all year round, stores overstock sunglasses during the peak of summer. When fall comes, they need to dump the surplus. “Avoid purchasing that favorite pair of sunglasses until summer’s end,” Hansen said.
3. Summer Apparel
“Typically, items such as sundresses, sandals and shorts will be on sale, off and on,” Hansen said. “But the discounts will be steeper in August and September. Stores want to make room for fall merchandise and clear out leftovers.”
4. Wedding Gifts
Summer is prime wedding season. Don’t wait to buy a gift for a summer wedding — as soon as the happy couple launches their registry in the spring, start shopping to score the best deals.
“Summer and early fall are high times for wedding gifts — and big-box retailers know it,” said Mike Catania, co-founder and CTO of promotion code and coupon website PromotionCode.org.
5. A Wedding
Weddings also cost more during the summer months. A wedding is a purchase — actually, a series of purchases — and there are definitely best and worst times to buy. The cheapest months to get married are January, March, April and November, according to BrideBox.com’s wedding-planning blog.
6. Household/Kitchen Goods
From knives to plates, to pots and pans, household goods — especially kitchenware — are purchases that are best to make any time, except during summer. “Expect to pay anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent more for identical kitchenware and around-the-house items from June 1 through the end of September,” Catania said.
7. A New or Used Car
Car prices peak in May and June, and then drop at the end of the year as dealers try to make room for next year’s models.
“Patient shoppers will likely find better deals by waiting it out until the winter,” said Lisa Rosenberg, data analyst at car-buying website CarGurus.com. “This specifically holds true for convertible prices.”
The price of crude oil drives gasoline prices, but the way oil is processed also affects the price of gas. “Summer blend” gasoline is more expensive than winter blend, which creates an average spike of 52 cents per gallon between Feb. 1 and the peak summer season. Summer blend production begins in March and April, making it more expensive to drive in the summer. Translation: Plan your road trip for the fall or spring.
The cost of electricity spikes in summer. The reason for this is simple: supply and demand. As overworked air conditioners demand more juice, the price of the electricity supply rises, according to CallMePower.com, an energy utilities advice website for consumers. No one expects you to move into a cave this summer, but be especially cautious about wasting energy during the next few months.
10. A Television
Television prices vary dramatically throughout the year, but there are a handful of times when it is almost always best to buy — none of which are during summer. Prices become most competitive on Black Friday, the lead-up to Christmas and the weeks preceding the Super Bowl, according to Consumer Reports.
11. A Home
It is statistically cheaper to buy a home in the winter. Summer makes it easier for parents to shop for homes when their kids aren’t in school. Also, more sellers list their homes in the summer, which, according to The Atlantic, creates a critical mass that affects supply and demand toward higher summer prices.
12. A Bicycle
Like bathing suits, demand for bicycles skyrockets in summer and plummets in winter. Buy your 10-speed or mountain bike when demand — and prices — are lowest. That is almost certain to be in January, according to Business Insider.
13. An Air Conditioner
When it comes to air conditioners, the law of supply and demand once again creates a general drop in prices during winter, according to home improvement website DoItYourself.com. The reason: Air conditioners make hot structures cool, and in the winter, Mother Nature already has that taken care of. This makes it tough for dealers to move inventory.
The best time to buy men’s apparel, specifically suits, is in the winter, according to deal website DealNews.com. Like many other industries, suit retailers stock extra supply before Christmas, and then are eager to get rid of what’s left over once the holidays pass, even if it means slashing prices. Try the tail end of December or the beginning of January.
The time between July 4 and Aug. 31 is one of three peak annual carpet-buying times — the other two are early spring and early winter — when prices will likely be the highest. For the lowest prices on carpet, buy after Dec. 10 but before Jan. 31. There are also many deals to be had in early September, according to CarpetSuperSite.com, a consumer resource site for carpet.
16. Linens and Sheets
In 1878, legendary retail giant John Wanamaker held his first “white sale,” which lured customers during the slow winter months by offering discounts on all sheets and linens, which at the time were produced only in white, in his stores. Retailers across the country jumped on the bandwagon, and the winter white sale became a tradition that continues to this very day. In the 1950s, stores began adding colored linens and sheets to their white sales, according to consumer information website EnlightenMe.com.
It’s fairly obvious that the price of patio furniture would increase in summer along with demand, but indoor furniture is also cheapest in the winter. Showrooms get new inventory in February and are eager to unload last year’s merchandise. Winter shoppers could save between 10 percent and 50 percent on all kinds of furniture, according to Kiplinger.
18. Pools and Spas
Like most summer luxuries, the price of spas and swimming pools drops with demand after the peak summer season. The best time to buy is fall and winter. An added bonus is that the extra months allow enough time before the next summer to regrow grass, which often gets torn up during installation, according to pool retailer River Pools and Spas’ blog.
If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to stock up on enough chocolate in March to last you through the summer. That’s when the planets align to make chocolate cheaper, according to Consumer Reports. In March, two events converge to flood the market with chocolate goodness: anticipation of Easter and leftovers from Valentine’s Day.
20. Frozen Foods
March is National Frozen Foods Month, and the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association, Inc., uses the month to stage nationwide promotions and discounts. Retailers across the country participate, so no matter where you live, March is probably the best time to buy in bulk. More good news: Frozen food keeps for a long time.
From GoBankingRates.com: 20 items you will regret buying this summer