Any of my readers are well aware of my great affection for saving money on everyday purchases. I’ll make a pointed effort of using apps and sites that help me cut costs on everything from grocery to travel. In previous articles, I’ve taken time to show you the ins and outs of sites like Ebates, which effortlessly steers you towards the best coupons and discounts for the websites you visit (by asking you to shop through their portal), as well as the many coupon sites like SavingStar, Coupons.com and more. I’ve gone on at great length about cash back sites and opportunities, and even considered whether a warehouse store membership is a good choice.
Yet, there are still even more ways to save money when shopping, particularly if you know when to shop. And when I say “when”, I actually mean a few things.
- The first is just when to buy specific items. For example, we all know about “white sales” in which stores that sell household goods will discount most of their linens, towels and other items. However, each month of the year is a good time to purchase specific items because they are often discounted around that time.
- The second is when to purchase items online. However, I want to look at this with a bit of a twist. Instead of examining the ins and outs of specific dates (i.e. cyber Monday, and so on), I want you to consider shopping online from a more tactical standpoint. How so? I suggest looking to save money when shopping online by abandoning your cart.
So, we have two ways we can start to save money when shopping, and to do so on top of ways we might already be using (i.e. coupons, rebates, cash back sites, and more).
Be Choosy About Time of Year to Save Money When Shopping
In a past article, I looked at ways to eat for free by using annual food-based holidays to get certain foods from certain restaurants entirely free of charge. While buying items at a certain time of year doesn’t give you free goods, it does give you deep, deep discounts and allows you to really save money when shopping in a targeted manner.
Let’s take a look at this on a month by month basis:
January – Ask the experts and they will tell you that January is the month for TVs and electronics, fitness gear (including full sized machines and equipment to apparel and sneakers), and bedding and linens (i.e. the annual white sales). Expect deep discounts on these goods, but especially before “Super Bowl Sunday” where TVs and electronics are concerned. If you had your eye on a home theater or HDTV during the holidays, now is the moment to make the leap. This month is also a great time to buy calendars and more costly planners as well as enjoying deep discounts on gym memberships.
February – This month is also a time to consider a new TV, and is often described as comparable to Black Friday pricing on models that stores are eager to clear off the shelves. It is also a good time to purchase winter apparel and winter sporting goods as well as home goods. In fact, many people eagerly await the President’s Day sales that make it easier than ever to stock up on many household items. Mattresses are also often a good deal around President’s Day and the Valentine’s Day holiday makes it a wise time to invest in jewelry. In fact, some retailers drop prices by 70% or more.
March – This is an unusual time because the weather can still feel quite winter-like, but you may also get your first glimpses of spring. There are no major shopping-oriented sales or holidays, but if you are looking to save money when shopping in March, consider looking for discounts on grills and barbecues, golf clubs, luggage and the last of the fitness gear. Don’t forget that most things that fall into the St. Patrick’s Day category (including certain household goods, anything in a bold green hue and even some types of alcohol) are often marked down before and after the day.
April – This is a nasty month for many budgets thanks to Federal Tax return deadlines, and because of that you might think that most people aren’t eager to spend. However, this is a month when it is best to spend a bit more. For example, you can save money when shopping for summertime travel deals which are just a few months away. This can let you nab the very best pricing on airfare – especially if you book early or late summer adventures. You can also find lots of tools on sale in the month of April (Home Depot has its Spring Black Friday event in this month), and most sporting goods stores slash pricing on sneakers. You may also find that big box stores have spring cleaning oriented sales at this time and make some of the best deals on vacuums available.
May – The real spring cleaning sales begin here and you’ll find the year’s best pricing on cleaning supplies and gear as large as vacuums. You will also find home goods and small appliances at some of the best pricing, and some of the big box stores also make special deals on refrigerators at this time. The trend to freshen up for spring continues with deep discounts by most furniture stores, particularly as Memorial Day approaches. This is also a big month for babies and if you need to get baby gear, aim for the Memorial Day weekend sales.
June – With summer getting into full swing towards the end of this month, it is interesting to note that gym memberships typically go on sale at this time, too. Most think it is because so many wish to get into shape quickly as summer approaches, or to shake the winter blues. Father’s Day is towards the end of the month, and loads of tools and other gear will be available at deeply discounted pricing. You can also pickup a lot of camping gear for Dad or yourself during June as it too is marked down. Finally, with the wedding season also arriving in June, you will find that many home goods stores make huge sales on their china and cookware lines.
July – Most Amazon Prime members know that July is when the annual Prime Day event occurs. Double check your wishlist or shopping cart and be ready to see huge discounts during that one day event. This is also a big month for summer clothing and smaller electronics, such as Kindles, iPods and other such devices. Since new furniture lines come out in August, you can also expect to see a huge push from furniture retailers to eliminate unwanted stock.
August – When you are eager to save money when shopping, you may want to consider this month as the ideal time to invest in things you use outdoors. Lawnmowers and other similar gear is often on sale this month as are most grills. Because August is seen as the “end” of summer, most retailers are eager to clear out these oversized products and offer deep discounts. Because this month is also when kids get ready to go back to school and college, you’ll see prices really slashed on almost all computer items – including pricier models. Traditional school supplies are also deeply discounted, and it is a very wise idea to stock up on paper, pencils, printer cartridges and other consumables.
September – No one is sure just when or why this month became the month to buy a new mattress, but it has. If you are looking to save money when shopping for a new bed, this is the month to buy as you can expect huge deals online and in real world stores. Apple typically releases any new products in September, and that means good discounts on current models of their iPhones and other products. Don’t forget that you can save big by booking Thanksgiving airfare during this month as it is around 65 days from that holiday. Whether choosing a flight or arranging a hotel, expect to save. There are also many swimsuit and appliance sales at this time.
October – This is a month when stores are eager to clear out a lot of their seasonal goods. If you wanted a new patio set all summer, this is the time to grab it at the lowest price possible. It is also the time when denim clothing is discounted, so stock up on new jeans for the entire household. And if you are eager to save a lot on a new home, it helps to know that most housing prices dip during October as sellers become eager to unload properties before winter heating or maintenance begins.
November – The Black Friday sales happen at the end of this month, so it is a great time to find out if you’d benefit from purchasing your new laptop, gaming system or home appliances during one of these sales. However, it is also the month when bridal stores need to clear out their inventories for the newest lines to arrive. This is a great time to outfit the entire party at a deep discount.
December – Naturally, post Christmas sales are in abundance, and you can find huge savings on things like wrapping paper and seasonal décor. It is also the time to invest in toys as they are also priced the best they will be all year. Why not stock up on some items for upcoming birthdays? You will also want to consider some of the bigger ticket items at this time. Swimming pools (both above and below ground) can be had for the lowest prices imaginable, and cars are often deeply discounted as dealerships race to meet annual sales goals.
So, that takes care of the month to month deals you can use when eager to save money when shopping. That leaves us with the mysterious comment about saving money by abandoning your shopping cart. Here’s the thing, though: It works.
Save Money by Abandoning Your Shopping Cart
If you are like me, you might make a habit of filling up your shopping cart or choosing that item that led you to a site, and then failing to complete the sale. Maybe the price felt a bit too high or maybe you remained unsure about the item, but for whatever reason, you decided not to buy at that time.
Clicking away from the page means you abandoned your cart, and you should know that websites actually track just where that happens in the sales process. If you are a registered user of the site, and have supplied them with an email address, they will often attempt to get you to complete the sale. They might send one of those annoying “Did you forget something” messages, but many incentivize the communication with a discount.
In other words, rather than a smarmy message asking if you forgot something, they send one that offers a discount on your purchase. If you are also taking my advice and shopping with gift cards you purchased at a discount or with some sort of cash back program, you can realize substantial savings in this way.
For instance, you might have a $100 gift card that you picked up for $95. That is a small savings from the start. However, you might fill your cart at the site that card is for and then abandon it. If you are registered, it is entirely possible to get a discount, such as a $5 coupon or even a percentage off the sale. If you use their link, you could see a $10 savings, or more.
Pair that with seasonal sales, and you can see enormous amounts of savings through your strategic shopping. Some of the best sites offer you incentives to return and purchase the contents of your cart, so do some price comparisons, register at the site, fill the cart, abandon it and then wait for the offers to roll in!