Every year, it seems things get a little harder financially. Inflation raises prices just a little faster than your income raises your spending limit. Houses and cars get older and need more repairs. Kids also get older, graduating to more expensive toys. It’s enough to discourage even the most optimistic of people.
But there’s hope. Every year, market cycles, seasonal opportunities, and other factors combine to let you spend less and get more — if only you time things right. Below is your yearly guide to getting more for less.
- Cook using in-season produce: beets, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, citrus, kale, onions, parsnips, pears, pineapples, squash and sweet potatoes. Check out the Seasonal Food Guide to find out what your local produce looks like at this time of year.
- Stock up on cold medicines, which are on sale for peak season.
- Pick up toys for kid birthday gifts for the year. They’re on super-sale to clear leftover Christmas inventory.
- Replace electronics and large appliances this month for the same reason you bought the toys.
- Buy your Christmas decorations and gift wrap for next Christmas this month when stores are trying to clear it out.
- Avoid buying patio furniture, small appliances, winter sporting goods, mattresses and luggage.
- Cook using in-season produce: beets, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, oranges, kale, leeks, lemons, onions, pears, sweet potatoes.
- Fill up your bathroom supplies with aspirin, dental floss, heart supplements, family planning products, mouthwash, toothpaste and toothbrushes.
- Stock up your pantry with canned foods — it’s National Canned Food month and they will last all year!
- Use Groupon to buy a perfect Valentine’s Day experience instead of paying a premium on V-day gifts like jewelry, flowers and expensive meals out.
- Buy winter clothing and sporting goods for next season now when they’re going on sale to make room for the spring lines.
- Avoid buying patio furniture and digital cameras. Don’t buy jewelry or perfume until after the 14th, but consider picking up some of both for later gifting when they go on sale.
- Cook with in-season produce: avocados, beans, beets, early berries, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, mangoes, peas, spinach.
- This is the month to spoil your love with chocolate, as the stores are clearing the leftovers from Valentine’s Day. Time it right and use this to stuff the kids’ Easter baskets.
- Fill the freezer with frozen foods — it’s National Frozen Food Month.
- Find coupons to build your year’s supply of cleaning products like furniture polish, carpet cleaners, bathroom cleaners, power washers, sponges, scrubbers, etc.
- March is also National Reading Month, meaning you can find great deals on books.
- Luggage goes on sale as retailers start to clear space for the summer travel season.
- Avoid buying vacuum cleaners, gym memberships, spring clothes and spring sporting goods.
- Cook using in-season produce: artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, berries, broccoli, cucumbers, lettuce, mangoes, okra, peas, radishes, shallots, spinach, summer squash.
- If you’re going to replace your television this year, do it this month. It’s the beginning of the Japanese fiscal year, so the old models are going on sale. Ditto for your vacuum cleaner.
- Hit up the thrift stores and garage sales (see also: Craigslist). People are doing spring cleaning, so the opportunities are many.
- Replace your tires if they need it. April is National Car Care Month. Get your oil changed while you’re at it.
- Cookware goes on sale now in preparation for wedding and graduation season.
- Avoid buying mattresses or grills this month.
- Hang exterior shades by your south-facing and west-facing windows to reduce cooling costs.
- Cook with in-season produce: apricots, asparagus, avocados, beans, beets, berries, broccoli, cherries, cucumbers, lettuce, mangoes, okra, onions, papayas, peas, peppers, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, summer squash, zucchini.
- Spoil your pet from the 4th through the 10th. It’s National Pet Week and you’ll save on food, treats and toys.
- Check the air pressure on your tires and fill them to improve mileage for summer road trips.
- Buy a year’s supply of paper plates, napkins, plastic silverware and other party supplies as the stores hold their big picnic and cookout sales.
- Mattresses and refrigerators both go on sale big time this month.
- Avoid buying jewelry, grills and office furniture.
- Cook using in-season produce: apricots, beets, berries, cherries, corn, cucumbers, dates, figs, grapes, mangoes, melons, onions, peaches, peppers, plums, tomatoes, watermelon.
- If you need or want new tools, they go on sale for Father’s Day.
- Watch for summer movie deals to save this month and potentially all summer.
- Join a summer reading programme at your local library. It’s often a source of free books and other benefits.
- Avoid buying beef, sandals, patio furniture or grills.
- If you have air conditioning, turn your thermostat up by two degrees. You’ll get used to it in a week, and you’ll save for the rest of the summer.
- Cook using in-season produce: apricots, basil, beets, berries, cherries, corn, cucumbers, dates, figs, grapes, mangoes, melons, okra, onions, peaches, peppers, plums, summer squash, tomatoes, watermelon.
- Better yet, find a u-pick berry and fruit stand. Make a family outing of it and buy enough to freeze some for winter pies and smoothies.
- Buy all the school and office supplies you’ll need for the year when prices plummet in anticipation of the big back-to-school sales in August and September.
- Suits, furniture and paint all go on rock-bottom sale in July. If you’ll need any this year, consider buying them now.
- Avoid buying summer clothes, patio furniture, sandals or sunblock.
- Cook using in-season produce: apples, broccoli, cherries, corn, cucumbers, fennel, grapes, melons, peaches, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini
- Buy next year’s summer wardrobe now with retailers clearing the racks for winter items.
- Ditto for patio furniture, grills and other outdoor goods. The stores want them gone. Stock up on sunblock for the year while you’re at it.
- Storage containers go on sale now to take advantage of the “kids-leaving-for-university” rush.
- Avoid buying new cars.
- Cook outdoors as much as possible this month, so your stove isn’t competing with your air conditioner.
- Cook with in-season produce: apples, avocados, broccoli, cabbage, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, pears, starfruit, tangerines, and tomatoes.
- Buy enough canned tomato to last the year. The season is closing down and they’re all on sale.
- Take advantage of the big summer clearance sales: patio furniture, grills, lawn mowers, gardening gear, pool equipment and summer clothing.
- If you’re buying a new car this year, this is the month to do it! The dealers will clear their inventory for the new year’s models. This cascades into savings down at the used lots, too.
- If your schedule allows it, this is a great month for some travel as peak-season prices fall off.
- Small household items go on sale this month, clearing shelves after the “kids-off-to-university” sales. Cookware, silverware, linens, small furniture and little decorations are all priced low.
- Avoid buying camping gear, hiking equipment or toys.
- Find a Groupon deal or other coupon for heating duct cleaning. This will save money all winter long.
- Clean out your light fixtures. The dust can make everything 25% dimmer.
- Cook using in-season produce: apples, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, collard greens, cucumber, eggplant, grapes, kale, melons, mushrooms, pears, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes.
- Buy jeans if you need them. They’re on sale at the end of back-to-school season.
- Camping and hiking gear goes on sale this month as hunting season ramps up.
- Toys for Christmas are good to buy now. Retailers are clearing their shelves in anticipation of the holiday buying season.
- Avoid buying appliances, electronics and cold weather gear.
- Avoid buying any big-ticket items. Wait for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
- Turn your thermostat down by two degrees. You’ll get used to it in a week and save for the rest of the winter.
- Call an air conditioning company to do routine maintenance on your A/C now while they’re slow and are offering the lowest prices.
- Cook using in-season produce: apples, cranberries, mushrooms, oranges, pears, pomegranates, pumpkins, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tangerines
- Wedding supplies go on sale now at the end of wedding season. If somebody’s getting hitched in the coming year, buy the clothing now.
- Electronics and appliances hit their lowest prices of the year on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The same is true of many personal and laptop computers.
- Avoid buying Christmas decorations, jewelry, watches, calendars and toys.
- Open your drapes to let the sun warm your house as much as possible and take advantage of what light you can.
- Cook using in-season produce: bananas, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, oranges, peppers, potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes.
- Stock up for the year on kitchen essentials like aluminum foil, plastic wrap and all of your baking staples.
- Bikes go on big sale in the middle of this month.
- If you want gift cards, buy them now. Many shops offer rewards or discounts where you can get 20% or more above face value.
- Avoid buying electronics or calendars.
There’s a lot to take in up there, enough to be a little intimidating. But don’t let that stop you. It’s set up month-by-month for a reason. If you take on the dozens of tips all at once, you’ll have trouble keeping it all in order. Instead, just focus on next month’s items. Once you have them down, you’ll not only be ready for the following month, you’ll have more confidence and money, making it easier to take on the tasks listed there.
The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else.