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Tips for scoring yearlong shopping deals

August 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Everyone likes to score a deal, but even the best bargain hunters sometimes miss sales. Whether you're shopping for cookware, clothing or even a car, you don't have to be in the dark anymore. You can be a savvy shopper all year round, all it takes is a little timing and a little inside information.

Sabrina Chapman is on a mission to find wardrobe essentials at bargain basement prices.

"I love shopping for dresses," said Chapman, a bargain shopper. "We're all going through the effects of the recession and every dollar counts."

Whether you shop online or like to hit the racks, consumer advocate Jennifer Jolly says finding a deal is all about timing.

By waiting a day or even a month, you can save some big bucks on almost anything!

"Thousands of dollars, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Think end of season, out of season, or a time when new models are driving down prices of old models," Jolly said.

All it takes is a little retail research. Jolly says January is prime time to house hunt.

"Most people are buying and selling houses between the months of March and August, so you have a much better chance to negotiate a deal," said Jolly.

Stock your new house with new furniture in February. When March rolls around, try a winter coat on for size. Also, watch for deals on televisions.

"Electronics stores have to clear out all the old models to make room for the new. You can find TVs sometimes 50 to 75 percent off," said Jolly.

April showers bring raincoat sales, and May brings wedding season. Jolly says that equals sizzling savings on cookware. Or, spring into the store for a mattress deal.

"You can get 50 to 60 percent discounts," said Jolly.

Sweep up savings on vacuums in June. July is the start of holiday weekend sales, so you can score deep discounts on home décor and appliances. In August, school is around the corner, so stock up on cheap supplies and save on computers. Swimwear prices are also slashed.

"We're actually getting ready to take a vacation, so I'm pretty excited that I'm going to be able to buy a new suit," said Chapman.

September is when new cars roll onto the lot, so it's time to wheel and deal on last year's models. Jolly says October is a genius time to buy new jeans.

"Most of the back to school shopping is done by then, so they have this big influx of jeans they need to get rid of. You can usually find 50 percent discounts," Jolly said.

Cyber Monday and Black Friday bring savings for the tech savvy in November. Look for price cuts on tools and toys in December.

So if you really know what you're looking for and when to look for it, you can score quite the deal.

Bargain Shopping Calendar:

January

  • Pajamas and Slippers: These popular Christmas gift items go on sale in November as retailers try to appeal to shoppers with well-priced packaged sets. Marked-down leftovers will be on clearance in January.

  • Wrapping paper: Anyone who can store holiday wrapping paper for an entire year deserves a great price.

  • Bicycles: New bicycle models are released in February and March, which means stores will be slashing prices on older models at the start of the new year.

February

  • In general, February can be a good month to shop because it's short and stores need to work harder to meet their sales quotas.

  • Boat: Boat shows, held from January through March, generally offer the best prices.

  • Plants for home and garden, as long as you plant in the Spring: If you plant in the spring, shop in February or March, when nurseries typically offer 10 percent to 20 percent off on pre-orders.

March

  • Sandals: The first round of markdowns on spring shoes, which begin appearing in stores in January, happens in March. Leftover sandals hit the clearance aisles by June, so visit brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers like Zappos.com and Endless.com early for the best selection.

April

  • Used Cars: Dealers increase their inventory in April to start the spring selling season. You'll find a good selection and willing negotiators.

May

  • Athletic Apparel and Shoes: As people emerge from their winter cocoons, retailers start offering discounts that will lure customers outdoors and shed their last-season inventories before the end of the summer.

June

  • Dishware: Early summer is the peak of wedding season, which means that soon-to-be-married couples are adding one or two full sets of dishware to their registries.

September

  • Patio Furniture: Stores like Wal-Mart and Target will drastically reduce the price of patio furniture because they need to make room for Christmas decorations.

October

  • Big Appliances: The new models for large appliances roll out in September and October, so stores will be working to make room by discounting previous models.

November

  • Halloween Candy: Freeze it until next year

  • Gas Grills: Like air conditioners, the best time to buy is during winter months, when demand for outdoor grills is low.

December

  • Outerwear: Retailers don't want to carry this Fall item into the next year, when they'll need room for swimwear and other warm-weather gear. Therefore, they often promote deep discounts on outerwear before Christmas.

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