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The Best Time to Buy Anything

The Best Time to Buy Anything: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock

H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock

Amazon and Google have made it easy to track down the lowest price on an item. But if you’re shopping at the wrong time of the week, month, or year, you’ll still end up overpaying. From clothing to TVs and autos, you could save up to 75 percent by holding off on a purchase until the time is right, says consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch.

Here, she lays out the best times of year to shop for everything from computers and cars to cookware.

The weeks leading up to Christmas are primetime for scoring TV discounts. December 16th is “free shipping day,” and many online retailers will combine extra-steep discounts with no-cost shipping, Woroch says. Just beware of Black Friday “door-buster” TV deals. “Some inexpensive models are made especially for the holiday and may be missing key features,” she warns. The week or two leading up to the Super Bowl is another great time to shop, she adds.

Woroch says the refurbished section of your local Best Buy is always a great place to score serious discounts. But for new computers, look to shop in August. That’s the time computer manufacturers offer back-to-school discounts to lure students and their parents, Woroch says.

October is a great month to shop for a new car. That’s because auto manufacturers release new models in September, and so are looking to dump their newly outdated vehicles, Woroch says. “You can save between 10 and 20 percent, if not more,” she adds. Late December—when dealerships and sales people are desperate to meet year-end quotas—is another good time to go car shopping, she says.

It’s not surprising. But end-of-season sales on apparel can range up to 75 percent, Woroch says. That makes late summer the ideal time to replace all your worn shorts and polos. Hold off on sweater or jacket purchases until spring for similar savings, she says.

Wedding season—from May through late summer—is always a stellar time to save on pots, pans, dishes, and everything else you need to cook and serve food, Woroch says. You can also find some solid deals on Black Friday. But as with TVs, you run the risk of buying a low-quality product made specifically for this shopping holiday.

Experts have conducted studies on the best time of the week to buy an airline ticket. That research suggests Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m. tends to yield the lowest pricing, Woroch says. Also, “Search for tickets six weeks prior to your desired departure,” she says. Shop earlier, and an airline has no reason to discount tickets because there’s still plenty of time to fill up a flight. Shop closer to your departure date, and you run the risk of seats selling out—and prices going through the roof.

The weekend holidays that bookend summer—Memorial Day and Labor Day—are usually great times to score discounts on furniture, Woroch says. These and other holidays are also great times to shop for mattresses, she adds.

“The best time to buy a diamond is in July, when there are no big holidays or major celebrations,” Woroch says. “Retailers may be tempted to lower their prices, some by as much as 30 percent off retail, in order to maintain sales during the month.”

“Manufacturers release new models in September and October, but you’re likely to come across the best deals in November and December,” Woroch says. Keep in mind: Most big retailers will price match. So if you find a crazy deal on a sold-out item at Home Depot, you may be able to secure the same price on an in-stock item at Lowe’s, she says.

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