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The best time to buy 75 things

New guide explains when to get the best price on a wide variety of consumer products.

By Karen Datko Apr 29, 2010 3:23PM

Nearly everyone knows that the end of the model year is the best time to buy a new car. But did you know that dealerships are more likely to give you a break toward the end of each month? Many, the Go Frugal Blog at, have monthly quotas.

OK, maybe all you car nuts knew that too. But we’d almost guarantee you’ll learn something from FreeShipping’s new “Best Time to Buy Guide.” It covers 75 products, including 30 new additions to the list.


Among those that caught our eye:

  • Air conditioners. If you must buy now, look for discounts on last year’s models. If you can stick it out, buy a new one when clearance time rolls around at summer's end.
  • Bicycles: The price will be knocked down for the holidays, but wait until January, when prices are cut yet again.
  • Books: Barnes & Noble releases coupons and deals on Tuesdays, Borders two days later. Once Borders’ deals come out, compare prices and shop.
  • Dinner at a restaurant: For the freshest ingredients, go Tuesday because that’s when many restaurants get new supplies. Sundays are good for specials, when they’re trying to use up what’s left.
  • Farmers markets: Ask for deals 10 or 15 minutes before closing time, because the vendors don’t want to haul the stuff home.
  • Produce at the store: Buying in-season fruits and vegetables gets you the best price. The guide has a comprehensive list. Also, the guide says, “Grocery sales tend to run Wednesday through Tuesday, making the first day of the sale the best time to get in on discounts before items sell out.”
  • Linens and bedding: January is best. Did you know that John Wannamaker originated the “White Sale”?

Many things are at their lowest price when they’re the last thing you’d think about: snow blowers in April, swing sets when the kids go back to school, patio furniture in September, lawn mowers in August, gym memberships in June.

How about swimsuits? “Every women above a size six knows there's really no good time to deal with the nightmare of finding a swimsuit that looks good and fits,” the guide accurately observes. “The rest of humanity should wait until the end of summer, when crowds at pools and beaches begin to thin out.”


Related reading:

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