Plan Ahead: Buying Out of Season Can Save You Money

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Buying these items early (or late) can save you thousands

You’ve seen the way craft stores slash prices on seasonal items once the holidays are over, and probably found good deals—but that’s only a taste of the money you could save, buying even bigger-ticket items out of season.

1. Holiday supplies

This is a familiar one; you can get discounted holiday decorations year round, because there’s almost always some holiday that’s just behind us. If you haven’t been to a craft store after Easter, Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving, prepare for a shock—prices are routinely discounted 70 to 90%. Halloween costumes are wildly overpriced in October, but try going to one of those costume outlets on November 1st. Specialty retailers know they have to rent year-round warehouse space for every item they don’t sell, so they’re more than willing to cut you a deal.

2. Formal gowns for prom, homecoming

Everyone knows about holiday sales, but few people think to buy a prom dress in July, or a homecoming gown in February. As a single-use item, these dresses flood Craigslist for dirt cheap in the summer, but you don’t need to go used to save a lot of money. If you have a sophomore or junior in high school, start shopping for prom dresses for next year now. Retailers have to make it through the off-season, so you can find beautiful dresses at deep discounts. Teenagers are expensive, but this is a great way to give your daughter a great experience without breaking the bank.

3. Warm and cold-weather sport equipment

Sports retailers know that people will pay through the nose for a pair of skis in late Autumn, but by this time of year, you can routinely find skis, snowboards, and goggles at a 30-50% discount across the board. Summer items, which can be even more expensive, will have slashed prices in September and October. If you can wait out the summer, watch as prices on wakeboards, trampolines, and wave runners plummet. It’s also a good way to protect yourself from an impulse buy; if you’re not willing to buy it in advance of the season, ask yourself if it’s really worth buying at all.

4. Outdoor improvements

Most people don’t build a swimming pool or sprinkler system in November, and that means there will be skilled contractors lined up to make you a deal. If you’re dying for a pool this summer, go ahead and get a quote—then, grit your teeth, wait out the temptation, and get another quote in October or November. You’ll be amazed how much money a little patience can save you, especially when you’re dealing with a huge purchase like that. Too many people go broke on a beautiful pool, only to regret it later; you’ll be glad you gave it a few months.

5. Christmas gifts

Everyone knows about the after-Christmas sales, but by the time the New Year rolls around, you’ve already broken the bank on this year’s Christmas. The trick is to ease into shopping ahead: you don’t have to do all your Christmas shopping in January, but browse the sales and grab a couple of deep-discount gifts. Having just one or two items on the Christmas list taken care of can even out the cost and stress of next December—and then you’ll be in a better position to take advantage of next year’s after-Christmas sales. Eventually you can do it all in January, for half the cost.

What do you buy out of season? What’s the deepest discount you ever found? Let me know in the comments!

Samantha Abrams is a freelance writer and fashion and celebrity blogger over at the Style Cynics fashion blog.

rf208-photo-men-in-swimming-pool-tipping-canoe RF208 Photo MEN IN SWIMMING POOL Tipping Canoe
US $17.00
Auction Ends: Wednesday Jul-30-2014 10:26:05 PDT
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