It’s all in the timing: When supply is high and demand is low, you can save a ton on everything from cars to sneakers, furniture to homes. So when are the optimal times to buy?
Mark Di Vincenzo, author of Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There, has a few theories.
Mostly, if you’re hunting for a bargain, you should look to buy when stores are stocking their shelves with new merchandise—and they’re therefore happy to unload the old stuff at substantially discounted prices. You know, your basic end-of-season sales: Autumn is when patio furniture and barbecue grills are sold at a fraction of what they were going for in June. For non-seasonal items like sneakers and TVs, the trick is to be aware of when the new models come out, so that you can scoop up the previous season’s goods at give-away prices. And sometimes, you need to be aware of big sales meant strictly to lure you into the stores, hoping that you’ll buy lots of other regularly priced stuff while you’re picking up the heavily discounted items.
Ketchup falls into the latter category: Supermarkets sell ketchup for cheap in May, while flooding shoppers’ heads with enticements to buy all sorts of other summery picnic and barbecue foods and goods.
A Chicago Tribune photo gallery offers some particulars for what you should buy, and when. For example:
January: A good time to buy sheets and towels (white sales, which make room for newer merchandise), along with TVs and homes. (November and December are also known to be good months for scooping up homes for cheap.)
April: sneakers (also cheap in November)
May: Just after people have done their spring cleaning, thrift stores are usually full of quality secondhand clothes and other goods. Also, ketchup, as mentioned in the title of Di Vincenzo’s book.
October: cars (all of fall, actually), though you could argue that the very last week of the year is an even better period