Last week I dropped by my local Walmart and loaded up on a year’s worth of office supplies. I also ordered a new laptop for my mother, which I’d spent 5 weeks hunting for.
Why did I buy so many office supplies, and take five weeks to buy a laptop?
As with many things in life, it’s all in the timing!
August is the time for Back to School sales. Retailers aggressively fight for store traffic and every dollar they can get, often featuring deep discounts on BTS items.
Knowing this, I started hunting for my mom’s laptop mid-July, understanding laptops would be discounted through to September.
I also expected the office supplies to be heavily discounted as they are every year at this time. The back to school offers are obviously timed for students preparing to go back to School in September.
As such, August tends to be the best time of the year to load up on printer paper, pens, paper clips, staples, and anything else a student (or a ‘work from home’ blogger) may need for the year.
It’s also a good time to buy office furniture, desk lamps, computer supplies, and anything that could be needed for a dorm room, like bedding, towels, mini fridges etc.
Walmart and many other stores have pallets upon pallets of school/office supplies with huge discounts featured in their flyers.
Stocking up on all the supplies I need to last me until next August results in big savings!
What other items tend to be discounted certain times of the year?
Surprising no one, I’m the guy that buys wrapping paper after Christmas, for use next Christmas. I tend to save 50-70% doing that.
Buying holiday related items for the next year after any holiday is an easy way to save money.
We can get 50%+ discounts post holiday for various items like:
- Post Xmas – Wrapping paper, tape, Xmas cards, ribbon, decorations, wreaths, artificial trees, lights, etc
- Post Easter – Chocolate and Easter themed gifts or decorations, and anything bunny related
- Post Halloween – Candy, Halloween decorations, and maybe even your costume for next year’s Halloween parties
- Post Valentines – Be careful with this one…While you may save some $, you might lose some points with your sweetheart.
For Easter chocolate and Halloween candies, I buy them post holiday to be consumed over the following months as I have a bit of a sweet tooth.
I wouldn’t suggest keeping them until next year!
Leading up to the Christmas holidays, you can often see great deals on popular gift items, even if you’re shopping for yourself.
For example, TV’s are often heavily discounted between Black Friday and Christmas, and on Boxing Day in Canada. With new TV models usually coming out in the spring, you also tend to see clear-outs of last year’s models from February to April.
Other great times to buy:
- Movies and Video Games – while there tend to be good deals leading up to holidays, the best deals in Canada tend to be on Boxing Day. Black Friday is the time in the US
- Exercise equipment – January is a good time for deals as retailers know about our new year’s resolution to lose that weight we gained over the holidays. That said, we should really buy used exercise equipment, which we’ll talk about in a future post
- Car – This article covers the best times to buy a new car if you are buying from a dealership. Just make sure it’s only new to you, and not a brand-new car. We’ll talk about why it’s important to buy used cars in a future post
- Whisky – Anytime of the year is a good time to buy, regardless of the price
- Seasonal items – End of a season can be a good time to buy seasonal items such as barbecues, lawn furniture, summer clothes, winter clothes, jackets, etc.
Be careful with that last one. While you can often get great deals on items at the end of seasons, there may also be slim pickings. Plus be careful as styles and sizes can change quickly.
The last thing you want is spend money on an item for next year, only to find you don’t want to wear it as it’s no longer in style, or no longer fits.
Timing of a new model coming out can also be a good time to buy last year’s model. For example, I bought my current phone around this time last year.
With the new iPhones usually being announced each year in September, I was able to get a great deal on a previous year’s model right before the new model hit stores.
Sometimes it’s not about an annual sale, but the weekly sales. I always check out the online grocery flyers each Friday. After last week’s flyer review, I dropped by my local Metro grocery store, buying 8 large rib steaks and about 20 pork chops.
Yes, that’s a lot of meat given I live alone.
But they were on sale, and that location usually cuts them nice and thick. I made a point of dropping in the first day of the sale, before they get picked over. Now my freezer is full, as is my stomach after BBQ’ing some steak.
The items I mentioned above are far from an exhaustive list. If there are other items you are shopping for, a quick Google search can help you determine the best time of the year or season to buy them. A little bit of research combined with reading this blog will help us all in Doing More with Our Money.
Thanks for reading!