When’s the best time to buy? Depends on your list

David Uffington Contributing Columnist

January 21, 2014

There are patterns to saving money. Retailers discount merchandise at certain times of the year, and it only seems illogical until you consider it from their point of view: Merchants want to get rid of things that didn’t sell, and sell you things they perceive you’re going to want. Sometimes those make for an odd combination of sales merchandise.

Consumer Reports magazine has come up with a list of the best times to buy a variety of items:

— Gas grills are hot when the weather turns cold — October, November and December — just when you’re not likely to be using one. Stores want to clear out the old models before the new ones arrive in the spring.

— You’d think GPS would be a summer travel and geocaching item, but no, merchants push those in November and December. Take the opportunity to buy for holiday gifts or for yourself for travel.

— Stock up on your summer swimwear at the same time you buy discounted home-gym equipment — at the beginning of the year. If you’re not brave enough to try on swimsuits in the winter, wait until June and July when they’ll be on sale again.

— August is a funny month. You’ll be able to find deals on air conditioners (that you could have used all summer) as well as the snow blowers you’ll need in the winter. At the same time, outdoor furniture will be discounted, just in time for fall — and having to store it away over the winter.

— Look for toys from November through January, and winter sports gear in March.

— Some items do go on sale just when you need them: Digital cameras appear in March, in time for spring and summer photography. Lawn mowers come out in April, along with spring clothing.

There are other ways to save money, and they also follow patterns.

— When it comes to summer camp for your child, you need to start considering options in the middle of winter. Slots in the best camps will go quickly, as will the assistance money if you need help paying.

— For carpeting and furniture, wait until after the year-end holidays.

— Shop at thrift stores just as everyone is doing spring cleaning.

For specific items, go online and search for what you want with “best time to buy” added in to your search parameters.

David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Send email to