The summer months are not known for having the best sales of the year, but there really is a best time to buy just about anything, and that applies to June, July and August.
There are deals to be had if you know where to look. I know because I wrote Buy Ketchup In May And Fly At Noon: A Guide To The Best Time To Buy This, Do That And Go There, a New York Times best-seller that has helped a lot of people save a lot of money. Here are some tips that will also help you save money:
Tools don’t go on sale often, but they do in June. Stores often lower prices on selected tools the week before Father’s Day to lure shoppers. Expect to save as much as half on some small tools and about 25 percent on certain higher priced tools.
June is one of two good months to buy a cell phone. Stores often offer the best deals of the year in June as parents are buying phones to keep in touch with their children who are working summer jobs or are leaving home for college in August. (December is the other month.)
Buy butter. Dairy production is up in June — and also July — and that can drive down prices. Pair the store sales with coupons and save 25 percent or more. Stock up on butter, freeze it and use it until the end of the year or longer.
Look for sales on refrigerators. You can save hundreds of dollars during this time, when stores often discount existing refrigerators to make room for new models that arrive in the summer.
Swimsuit sales start in July. New swimsuits start showing up in department stores in January. By July the vast majority of people have bought their swimsuits, so department stores start marking down their inventory.
July is one of two great months to buy furniture. Furniture stores lower prices in July to make room for new models, which typically arrive in stores in August. The newer models often have the same frames as the older ones, just with different upholstery and different colors. (January is the other best month.)
Buy bottled water. Stores often drop the price of bottled water in July and other summer months, when they know shoppers may be going to picnics and might need to bring water. They lure them in to buy a $3 or $4 case of water and hope they buy non-sale items as well.
When it comes to jewelry, July is one of the six “non-gift-giving months.” The gift giving months are February (Valentine’s Day), May (Mother’s Day), June (graduations and weddings) and October, November and December (Christmas). Prices go up then, but the other months — the non-gift-giving months — are when you’re more likely to see real sales, as opposed to the jewelry that gets marked up and then put on sale. During this time, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate with jewelers, who are more eager to make sales.
August is a great month to buy computers… This is especially true of laptops. Nearly all college students need their own laptops these days, and computer companies are fighting hard for that market by offering lower prices and freebies, sometimes including printers and software.
… and backpacks… — This is one of those buys that fly in the face of logic. The demand for backpacks is greatest in August, so they should cost the most then, but stores discount backpacks during back-to-school sales. After August, the selection is poor, even at giant retailers.
… and swing sets… — If you don’t have one by August, you probably won’t buy one, and stores know that, so they lower prices to near cost in August and September to get them out of their stores because they’d rather they go into your pickup truck than back to a far-away distribution center.
Go to Vegas – or Key West. It’s so hot in Vegas in August that airlines and Vegas hotels try to lure tourists there with low airfares and inexpensive rooms. The Keys are a place where people go in the winter to escape the cold, and that’s when it’s most expensive to go. A $1,500 a week rental in the winter is $750 in the summer, and the locals say summer is the best time of the year to go boating and snorkeling there.