When is the Best Time to Make a Big Purchase?
Buying big-ticket items means spending money. But, with a little research into the products, you can find when there are sales and save some of your hard-earned cash while still getting a top-quality product.
Your microwave is busted. The refrigerator is old and isn’t efficient at cooling. Your kitchen needs an update. Whatever your reason, appliances are an expensive buy. The key here is to not make an impulse buy, and instead wait for the right month or time of month. As House Logic writes, “the best time to buy home appliances is when stores need you more than you need a new home appliance.” Obviously, there’s holiday sales, but how can you take advantage of lower prices?
Retailers hate holding on to last year’s inventory. They want to sell the newest, most expensive appliance on the market. When manufacturers come out with a new model, there’s a rush to dump inventory. This usually happens in September and October, and again in January. Perfectly good appliances that were the latest and greatest last year are now much cheaper, simply because there’s a newer model.
There is one caveat – refrigerators. New models come out in the spring, unlike other kitchen appliances.
Photo by Samsung Newsroom
But you can get even more specific in your quest for cheaper kitchen updates. Appliances are often sold to meet quotas. Near the end of the month, with quotas looming, prices are marked down to move more product. Or, you can try to haggle prices down, knowing the poor employee trying to make a sale will be more open to a slightly lower price.
There is one specific day of the week to target: Thursday. Retailers, House Logic notes, are twice as likely to reduce prices on a Thursday, near the end of week but before the weekend rush.
This means you should be targeting a Thursday near the end of the month in the fall or spring. In other words, your best best is Thanksgiving. It’s the perfect time for a new oven to cook a family dinner.
You’ve heard of TVs that are 4K HDR OLED that are smart enough to understand what all those acronyms mean and still connect to Netflix. It sounds fancy, and you need a new flatscreen for sports. You pour over Black Friday ads, carefully combing through Toshibas, LGs, Sonys, and more. You bust down the door and get the great deal.
Photo by Sven Scheuermeier
Except that deal won’t seem as great when the Super Bowl rolls around, and higher-end TVs with more features are on sale for what you just paid.
Retailers know that people want to watch the biggest football game of the year in high definition, on the biggest screen possible, so prices for high-end TVs are slashed as the Super Bowl nears. This is, of course, not to say that you can’t get deals during Black Friday. But if you want higher-end TVs, wait a couple more months for the Super Bowl.
While your best bet for a desktop computer is piecing it out and building it yourself, that isn’t a luxury normally afforded to laptops. Instead, you have to buy the laptop as-is, though you may be able to switch out RAM memory or the hard drive.
Photo by Thomas Lefebvre
In order to get the best deal on a laptop, you need to think like a college student. At the end of summer, high school students getting ready for college want the best laptop possible for the next stage of life. Retailers are happy to help, cutting prices on laptops for the incoming college freshman. As an added bonus, there’s likely to be a bundle offer, including anything from free software to a gift card from the retailer. If you are lucky, you might even get a free video game console – remember the sales are targeted at incoming college students.
Buying a new car is a daunting task. Figuring out which make and model and even which dealership to buy from can open up an overwhelming number of options. Fitting all the options into your budget can seem impossible.
You can get a better price by knowing not just what part of the year, or which day of the week, but even what time of day is best for making an offer on a car. Bear in mind, however, that there are some car companies, like Scion, that do not haggle. The sticker price is the only offer.
Photo by EveryCarListed P
For those open to negotiations, try to purchase in the fall or winter. However, certain car types have better prices throughout the year. Midsize cars have better deals in June, while small cars are better to buy in December. Spring and Summer are the worst times in general. In the spring, people are looking for ways to spend their tax return. Most cars are sold during the summer, giving dealerships little incentive for sales.
Because most people are busy with work during the week, you’ll receive more attention from the salespeople. Like appliances, the salespeople are judged on their performance – meaning quotas. The end of the month is when they are more desperate to sell, and thus more willing to give you a deal. Finally, using the same reasoning, make your offer late in the day. If they haven’t made a sale all day, they will be much more amenable to your offer.
If you’ve been paying attention, you know that you want to focus on buying when the new model or style of an item comes out.
Photo by Kari Shea
Indoor furniture appears in the showroom in February and August. If you are looking for a new recliner, that means buying in January or July. The discounts will continue as the new style is brought out, but don’t waste time – the discounts aren’t around forever.
If you are looking for patio furniture, or anything that can weather the outdoors, look for end-of-season deals as summer wanes. August through October will have the best deals – until supplies go back in the warehouse for the cold months.
Finally, you need somewhere to put your new furniture, your new car, computer, TV, or the oven you always wanted: a new house.
Timing your purchase, let alone looking for a new house and the time that will take, is not easy. It’s best not to time your purchase against the market. If you wait for the perfect price, the perfect time in a cyclical market, you will miss your chance.
However, there are times of the year, sometimes specific to markets, that can help guide when you make an offer. While half of all homes are sold in the summer, you want to wait until winter to avoid a bidding war and get the best price.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user American Advisors Group
November and December offers tend to result in the best deals, while prices can soar $20,000 to $40,000 higher by summer. This, however, presents a problem, in that savvy sellers will pull the listing during these times with the hope that they the house will sell in the spring, when prices start climbing again. In short, you will probably get a better deal later in the year, and the cost of a smaller selection of homes available.
The best prices of big-ticket items correspond to when new models arrive, new styles are trending, or just by the temperature outside. By knowing when each item goes on sale, you can save money while still getting exactly what you want.
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A former newspaper journalist, Cole spends his free time reading, writing, playing video games, watching movies, and learning about every subject under the sun. He lives with his wife and daughter in Idaho. Follow Cole on Twitter: @ColeMayer42
This post was updated February 27, 2019. It was originally published February 8, 2017.