Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Is there still a best time of year to buy things?

Yes, says Consumer Reports, which has created a shopping calendar.

By Teresa Mears Jan 27, 2010 2:58PM

We’ve all seen the stories that try to tell us the best time of the year to buy things. But in these days of instant Twitter deals, freebies for Facebook fans and constant deal alerts, does the calendar still matter?


Consumer Reports set out to answer that question and concluded that the answer was yes. The magazine has produced a shopping calendar.


“Consider it a general guide, and keep your eye on those sales circulars anyway because there will always be exceptions,” the magazine wrote. “Bear in mind, too, that the best time to save money isn’t always the best for selection. In some cases, your bargain might be a discontinued model without all the latest features.”

Some of the findings are a bit surprising: A number of items are on sale just at the time you’re thinking about buying them, such as toys in November and December and swimwear in June and July (as well as January). For houses and condos, by the way, think January and February.


Here are the highlights:

  • January: Bedding, CDs and DVDs, cookware, swimwear, toys, TVs, winter clothes.
  • February: Furniture, treadmills and ellipticals.
  • March: Digital cameras, small electronics, TVs, winter coats and sports gear.
  • April: Computers, digital cameras, lawn mowers, spring clothes.
  • May: Athletic apparel, camping gear, phones, small electronics.
  • June: Camcorders, computers, furniture, small electronics, sports gear, swimwear.
  • July: Camcorders, swimwear, furniture (indoor and outdoor).
  • August: Air conditioners, backpacks, outdoor furniture, snow blowers.
  • September: Bikes, digital cameras, snow blowers, gas grills, lawn mowers, small consumer electronics, trees and shrubs.
  • October:  Bikes, computers, digital cameras, gas grills, lawn mowers, winter coats.
  • November: Baby products, bikes, camcorders, gas grills, GPS navigators, toys and TVs.
  • December: Bikes, camcorders, gas grills, GPS systems, appliances, small electronics, toys and TVs.

April Dykman at Get Rich Slowly recently wrote a guide to the best time to buy a lot of things. She included some additional items such as movie tickets (matinees) and cars (September, weekday at the end of the month).

Kevin Purdy and Jason at LifeHacker put together a graphic on the best time to buy things. Hint: Chocolate will be a good deal starting Feb. 15.


For even more specific advice, you might want to consult Mark Di Vencenzo’s new book, “Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon.” If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit a veterinarian or hire a computer geek, he has the answers.


Related reading



Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.