Big-Ticket Item Seasons

When Is the Best Time to Buy What?

Big-Ticket Item Seasons
July 15, 2014

When purchasing expensive items, most people look for ways to save money wherever they can. One way to save on many big-ticket items is to make your purchase at the right time of the year.

Here are a few suggestions for the best time of the year to buy five of the most common big-ticket items purchased by many Americans:

  1. A home — Spring is traditionally the peak home-buying season in the U.S. Many people have spring fever and are ready to get out and look at homes. The fact school will soon be out also makes this a good time to consider relocating.

    For these same reasons, spring may not be the best time to get a good deal on a home. With so many people looking, sellers may hold out for higher prices — knowing that if you don’t want to negotiate, someone else probably will. There are so many factors that go into home prices that it is hard to make a blanket generalization about the best season to buy a home. But in general, try to avoid the spring and early summer if getting a good price is your main goal.

  2. An automobile — The most common strategy is to wait until the end of the calendar year to buy a car, since many dealers are discounting vehicles to try to meet year-end sales goals. But there are other timing moves that can also save money when buying a car.

    Most dealers also have monthly and quarterly sales goals, making the end of the month or quarter a good time to buy. You may also save money buying in late summer or early fall, when dealers want to move existing inventory off the lot to make room for new model year vehicles. You could even save money by walking into a dealership at the end of the day: A salesperson might be more likely to cut you a deal just so he or she can wrap up quickly and go home.

  3. A boat — Winter is almost always the best time to buy a boat. Not only is this the offseason for boating when sales are slow, but it’s also boat show season, where dealers are often ready to make deals. In addition, many owners want to sell their boats in the winter to buy new boats for the season, so you might be able to get a good deal on a used boat during the winter.

  4. Furniture — Most manufacturers roll out new furniture twice during the year: in February and August. So January (especially) and July tend to be good months to get deals on new furniture as retailers try to make room for new inventory. But there is also seasonality for different types of furniture. For example, the holidays tend to be a good time to buy dining room furniture, while May and June (think Mother’s Day and Father’s Day sales) may be good times to shop for sofas, chairs and recliners. By using this contrarian timing, you can save a bundle on these durable purchases.

  5. A TV, home theater or computer — In late January and early February, retailers start pushing TVs and home theaters hard as people get ready for their Super Bowl parties. Late summer and early fall is also a good time to buy if you are willing to settle for last year’s models, since new models start hitting the stores about this time.

Meanwhile, mid-to-late summer tends to be a good time to buy a computer, as retailers start their back-to-school sales. The holidays are also a good time to buy, with lots of Christmas sales going on, as is January, when retailers are trying to get rid of models they did not sell during the holidays.

Put simply, if you have some flexibility in terms of when you can buy a big-ticket item, you might be able to save big bucks by keeping these seasonality trends in mind when purchasing.

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