It’s always nice when something we want or need is on sale when we buy it. While it may seem as if the stars have aligned just right or that it’s simply our lucky day, there actually is a predictable cycle to when items go on sale.
In very general terms, brand name grocery and household items offer their lowest prices quarterly, or every three months. If you can coordinate your purchase of higher-priced household items, like laundry detergent, for instance, with these sales and stock up on enough to last until the next price reduction, you can see significant savings over buying it as needed at regular price.
Other discounted prices are found throughout the year based on availability, time of year or special occasion. Produce is cheapest when it is in season. Charcoal and hot dogs are on sale before Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Corned beef and cabbage are at rock-bottom price in March in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day. If you can stock up on non-perishables or freezable items at these times, you’ll really save overall.
Stores regularly discount items after a holiday or event. Items with seasonal packaging, while still perfectly good quality may be put on clearance at low prices. Keep your eyes peeled for post-holiday sales because stores need to clear off their shelves for the next stream of seasonal merchandise. Changes in packaging or new flavors or colors are more reasons that stores will put items on sale.
In addition to these seasonal reasons for stores to have sales, you should be aware that certain merchandise goes on sale at certain times of the year. The rationale behind it has to do with the retailers taking advantage of availability and (or) demand. It is a regular cycle which can be broken down by month. You’ll find sales on these items in these months:
January: Weight loss products; exercise equipment; stop smoking aids; cold remedies; home storage and filing items; pre-Super Bowl televisions and holiday and Winter-wear clearance merchandise.
February: Valentine’s Day gift items such as candy and jewelry; Chinese foods in celebration of Chinese New Year; fish and seafood because people eat less meat during Lent, resort/cruise wear, housewares and furniture
March: Easter items, such as eggs, baking supplies and Easter basket fillers; Passover specialty foods not readily available year-round; gardening supplies; rain wear and luggage
April: Earth Day promotions, such as organic foods and natural cleaners. Olive oil goes on sale because the new season begins in April; wallpaper and paint
May: Mother’s Day gift items, such as jewelry and perfume; Mexican specialties in celebration of Cinco de Mayo; Graduation gifts; allergy medicines
June: Father’s Day gift items, such as clothing and tools; dairy items are on sale for National Dairy Month
July: Picnic items; back to school promotions begin; air conditioners; major appliances
August: Back to school foods; Summer merchandise clearance
September: Baby items are on sale; late season crops such as apples, Winter squash and tomatoes; bikes
October: Baking items; Halloween candy, costumes and decor; batteries and smoke detectors for Fire Prevention month; outdoor sports equipment
November: Thanksgiving foods; blankets; pre-season holiday merchandise
December: Holiday celebration and entertaining foods and supplies; popular gift items; Fall clearance
When you pay attention to the rhythm of the year, you can see that the sales cycle makes a lot of sense. You can use the very same motivators that drive retailers to discount merchandise to your shopping advantage by being aware of sales cycles.