NEW YORK - It's said that timing is everything - and that certainly applies when it comes to finding things on sale. Getting the best bargains is all about timing, and knowing which deals to look for, when.
When's it best to buy a bike? Computer? Cookware? So much more?
Hitting big sales when you're out shopping may feel like a matter of luck, but the truth is, if you put a little forethought into it, you can time your shopping to find sales on major items throughout the year.
On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning," Jason Cochran, editor at large of AOL's WalletPop.com, highlighted months spanning the seasons, discussing the kinds of items usually on sale at the different times, and why.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY: LINENS, BICYCLES, FURNITURE
Linens: January is always the time of the white sale ever since department store owner John Wanamaker introduced them in Philadelphia in 1878. It's thought he did it because it was normally the slow time for such sales, and now it's a tradition. Back then, sheets were available mostly in white, hence the name.
Bikes: It's simple: Few people want to be out in the snow, breathing cold air. That's a warm-weather thing. So bike shop owners need to make their rent, and they'll deal.
Furniture: Many manufacturers, such as Crate and Barrel, get their new stock in January and February, and they need to clear their old stuff to make room.
APRIL: COOKWARE & ELECTRONICS
Cookware: May and June sees lots of newlyweds and graduates, and because cookware is a big gift for them, stores stock up and make deals. Join the crowd for discounts. (There may be another bump in late summer as college students head off to school.)
Electronics/TVs: The big Consumer Electronics Show happens every January (it was last week in Las Vegas) and by the spring, the new models are rolling out. The old ones need to go. Last year's models are still pretty cool; they were getting us excited only a year ago.
AUGUST: SWIMSUITS, COMPUTERS, LAWN MOWERS
Swimsuits: Don't get warm-weather stuff at the start of the season, in May. Get it now, because everyone will have purchased by now and the clearance sales begin. Don't wait until fall or winter for swimsuits- they won't be on the floor anymore at all.
Computers: especially mid- to low-end, are in good supply because of all the college kids going to school.
Lawn Mowers: As with the bathing suits, fewer people are thinking about warm-weather things like mowing lawns come the end of the season. There are big sales to be had here.
OCTOBER: SCHOOL SUPPLIES, JEANS, APPLIANCES
School supplies: School supplies are marked way down because everybody has already supplied themselves. Get next year's now -that's the key to a lot of things. Plan ahead! It feels silly buying this stuff so far ahead, but the deals can stack up. If you buy at peak season, there may be no incentive to mark down.
Jeans: Jeans are also subject to back-to-school sales since so many parents dress their kids in them. They're durable and can be work a few times before being washed. Stores have lots left over after the back-to-school rush. Also, since so many product lines come out in the spring, the pricing heat has cooled off many styles.
Big appliances: New models for appliances come out around now, so the big stuff (washers, dryers, compactors) are on sale. Really, there is very little difference between the washer of 2010 and the one of 2011. Get last year's. If you miss October, no problem: Black Friday is the next month and the appliances, once again, are marked down.
DETAILED LIST OF WHAT TO BUIY, WHEN
Linens (it's white sale season)
Furniture (new lines arrive February at Crate and Barrel)
Weddings (May-Sept is peak season. Honeymoon cheaper, too)
Home theaters (Super Bowl sales)
Bikes (new models are released this month and in March; get old ones)
Boats (better prices to clear docks for new models)
Video games (new titles come out Nov and Dec; cheaper by now)
Gardening tools (plan ahead for gardening season)
Cookware and kitchen accessories (sales for graduates and newlyweds now)
Electronics (Japanese manufacturers release new models; old models marked down)
Office furniture (home businesses often start up after Tax Day, so there are deals for the higher traffic)
Vacuum cleaners (new models come out after spring cleaning)
Snow blowers (of course)
Winter coats (of course)
Mattresses and box springs (new models on their way)
Gym memberships (January is worst: resolutions and weather)
Hardware (Fathers Day sales)
Paint (people paint during hottest days, ergo, lots of competition)
Heating items/oil for your home
Furniture (second wave of year's new product arrives August)
Suits (spring suits on sale)
Appliances (Fourth of July weekend sales)
Computers (back-to-school volume creates deals)
Lawn mowers (peak season is passed)
Swimsuits (same reason)
Patio furniture (it's big, and Walmart and Target need to make room)
Houses in the suburbs (school will have started-most people move by then)
Shrubs, bulbs, trees (that you can store until spring)
Wine (latest vintages are coming out)
School supplies (clearance)
Cars (dealers are clearing lots of old models)
Big appliances (washers, dryers: new models rolling out now)
Jeans (post back-to-school)
RVs (dealer clearance, and owners sell them before winter)
Outdoor and camping equipment
Black Friday biggies: electronics, appliances
Air conditioners - in summer, people pay up to alleviate the misery, but in winter, stores can't move them
Champagne (lots of stock for New Year's)