By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com
Planning and timing is everything, especially for frugal consumers who need to make a big purchase. Knowing the best time to buy something -- from cars and houses to televisions and appliances -- goes a long way toward saving big bucks.
The best time to buy a big-ticket item is usually when a newer model is introduced. For example, new furniture styles are released twice a year, so the best time to buy furniture is the month before the new products hit the stores. Season's end is also an excellent buying time. Consider lawn mowers, which are best bought in August and September when winter is on its way and the grass won't need mowing until spring.
Note, though, that following the best-time-to-buy rules to get the best bargains means you must be prepared to sacrifice. In other words, forget about having the latest and greatest new model. Older models -- typically equal in quality to the replacements and in some cases with features not that much different -- come with the biggest discounts.
Need help keeping track? Based on current and past research during the year, here is our handy guide.January is the best time to buy furniture.
The Best Time to Buy Furniture
(Also the best time to buy linens, towels, select electronics, Christmas/holiday items, winter apparel, and home fitness gear.)
The holidays are over and winter is setting in, two conditions that create a shopping lull. To spice things up, department stores generally run "white sales," which set the stage for the best time to buy linens and towels. January is also the best time to buy leftover holiday decor and wrapping paper because prices are the lowest this time of year. Winter apparel gets discounted in January, too, as retailers look forward to the influx of spring merchandise; the longer you wait the deeper the discount but the smaller the selection.
New furniture models come out twice yearly, the first being February, so January is the best time to buy furniture on the cheap. And not to be forgotten, office furniture bargains heat up this month despite the windchill as many entrepreneurs launch in-home business ventures.
With the New Year come new resolutions, particularly after all that holiday gorging. The local gym may be packed, but retailers of home fitness gear want your business, which means good deals for you. Look for bargains on big-ticket home gym equipment, like a treadmill, and smaller purchases, such as fitness DVDs.
The Consumer Electronics Show takes place every January, so last year's models start the price retreat. The best time to buy select electronics, including digital cameras and HDTVs, is January when retailers want to clear the shelves for newer models.
The Best Time to Buy High-End Chocolate
(Also the best time to buy select electronics, boats, video games, and winter coats and apparel.)
The month of love offers up a sweet treat, but don't buy Valentine's Day chocolate before the 14th. Wait until the day after the holiday for the best chocolate prices - perfect for stocking up, especially on the high-end variety that rarely goes on sale.
You may be able to find even deeper discounts in February than in January on HDTVs, GPS units, and audio equipment as retailers scurry to sell off last year's inventory. Selection will be dwindling fast, however. And while the newest video games were released a few months ago - in time for the holiday gift buying frenzy - they'll be showing up with discounts just about now.
As winter begins moving toward spring, retailers are anxious to display spring fashions, so winter coats and apparel have to go. Look for even bigger price cuts on these items than the month before, and still more will show up through March. Presidents' Day adds fuel to the shopping frenzy because it's a long weekend of shopping opportunities. Retailers want your business, so be on the lookout for bonus apparel deals.
Related: Our cheap luggage buying guide
Come February, the winter boat show season is in full swing. This is definitely the best month to buy a boat for less.March is the best time to purchase luggage.
The Best Time to Buy Winter Sporting Gear
(Also the best time to buy luggage and frozen foods.)
As outdoor temperatures begin to climb, demand for winter sporting gear (think skis) cools considerably and retailers are ready to sell you a bargain. Likewise, as the snowbirds return and the winter travel season comes to an end, updated luggage styles are arriving in advance of the summer travel season. All this means March is a good time to find deals on last year's luggage.
March is also National Frozen Food Month, which prompts extra promotions on frozen foods and meals. Take advantage and stack a coupon on top of a supermarket sale to fill the larder for a few months.
The Best Time to Buy a Used Car (Also the best time to buy a cruise vacation, car parts, snow blower, laptop, jewelry, home improvement items, and sneakers.)
The spring winds blow in a crop of discounts for bargain hunters. April is a good time for charity runs/walks and many new runners hit the pavement in discounted sneakers. Many new laptop models are introduced about now so older models take a price dive. Tax refund money also sparks sales. The best time to buy jewelry is April, when jewelers compete for a portion of that refund check and you can get a jumpstart on Mother's Day shopping. April is notorious for low prices on cruises and April 2013 should be no different.
In the past few years Home Depot has been testing a "Black Friday is Back" spring sale. Last April the promotion went national, making this month the best time to buy supplies for that home improvement project you've been wanting to tackle. Not surprisingly, April is also the best time to buy snow blowers and other winter equipment.
April is National Car Care Month, which often translates into deals on car parts and car service center offerings. This is also the month when car dealers start taking advantage of the changing weather to head out to auctions in search of used vehicles to fill their lots.
The Best Time to Buy a Mattress
(Also the best time to buy spring clothes, office furniture, and cookware.)
April showers bring spring flowers, wedding season, and graduation - all in the month of May. Count on finding bargains in the home goods departments and on graduation gifts, especially during Memorial Day sales. Items such as cookware, tableware, and small appliances are likely to be discounted heavily.
Memorial Day also means big deals in the mattress industry. Not only is this another long shopping holiday, but mattress retailers do some spring-cleaning of their own and offer exceptional discounts to make room for incoming merchandise. Spring clothes will see huge markdowns during Memorial Day sales as retailers get ready to put out summer wear. Office furniture also gets discounted starting in May, with price cuts continuing through June.June is the best month to get a gym membership.
The Best Time to Buy a Gym Membership
(Also the best time to buy lingerie and cruise vacations.)
The warm weather heats up gym membership deals as many gym rats take their workouts outdoors. And if you're busy working it out in the gym, why not show off a bit of new lingerie? The onset of Victoria's Secret's semi-annual sale in June spurs the competition to slash prices, as well.
April saw the beginning of cruise vacation deals, but by June hurricane season is upon us and cruise prices likely will be cheap this month, too.
The Best Time to Buy Tools
(Also the best time to buy a mattress, grill, furniture, summer apparel, and jewelry.)
Hot weather means hot furniture and jewelry deals. The second semi-annual release of new furniture models comes in August, which makes July the best time to buy older models for cheap. And with no gift-giving holiday in sight, jewelers offer a bit of an incentive to get your attention, let alone your business.
With Father's Day behind us, July is a good month to buy tools at cut-rate prices. And after the 4th of July, retailers begin preparing for fall, which means firing up the grill deals. Summer apparel deals typically kick off after July 4th and continue picking up steam into August. Similar to other big holidays, July 4th also plays host to a handful of mattress deals worth getting out of bed for.
Related: Best budget espresso machines
The Best Time to Buy a Laptop
(Also the best time to buy back-to-school supplies, swimwear, summer apparel, luggage, lawn mowers, and grills.)
Back-to-school sales can work to your advantage even if you don't have kids. In fact, the best time to buy a laptop is during August. It's also the best time to buy anything back-to-school related, including college apparel, kids clothes, dorm furniture, backpacks, and general office supplies.
Summer apparel is discounted even more this month and swimwear typically reaches all-time low prices in August. Summer items, such as grills and lawn mowers, are tagged in August with the biggest discounts of the season as retailers start purging in preparation for the fall and holiday inventory switchover. The summer travel season is also coming to an end this month, so you're sure to find good luggage discounts.September is the best month to buy denim items.
The Best Time to Buy Plane Tickets for the Holidays
(Also the best time to buy a new car, appliances, bicycle, patio furniture, lawn mower, sunglasses, and denim.)
The forecast predicts falling temperatures, so watch for falling prices, too. September is the best time to buy plane tickets for holiday travel. If you know your travel plans, book airfare now before prices creep up closer to the holidays.
September is also the best time to buy a car. New car models come out at the end of summer, leaving leftovers from last year taking up space on dealers' lots. Appliance deals on older models also abound this month as new models are introduced.
The newest bicycles are released in September and last year's products go on clearance. This month is also prime time to find patio furniture and lawn mowers for cheap, as well as denim (because the back-to-school rush is over). With sunglasses-wearing season now passed, sunglasses sales heat up in September.
The Best Time to Buy a New Car
(Also the best time to buy denim, Halloween costumes, and camping gear.)
Not much new goes on sale this month, but the remainders of summer sales will take on spooky-low price tags. October continues as the best time to buy denim and a new car, and because camping season is pretty much over, check for low prices on camping gear, too. Sales on Halloween costumes and decorations will start to boom starting in mid-October and continue to build as the witches and goblins close in.
The Best Time to Buy Big Appliances
(Also the best time to buy Halloween costumes, candy, vacuum, laptop, TV, electronics, tools, cookware, and a wedding dress.)
The biggest shopping time of the year kicks off the day after Thanksgiving, as Cyber Monday follows on the heels of Black Friday. You won't have to look too hard for all sorts of bargain deals. November is a particularly best time to buy a laptop, TV, digital camera, and a handful of other electronics. Tools make welcome gifts for the men in your life and sales are everywhere come Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Ditto for cookware for the foodies and cooks you plan to grace with gifts.
The beginning of November is the absolute best time to buy Halloween costumes and decorations for next year, as well as to stock up on leftover Halloween candy for your holiday baking needs. As the month progresses you'll see deals on big and small appliances crop up, as well as vacuum cleaners. And if you're getting hitched anytime soon, the month of November brings a lull in the wedding business, resulting in the best time to buy a wedding dress.
Related: Cheap snowboarding boot reviewsDecember is the best time to purchase cookware.December
The Best Time to Buy a TV
(Also the best time to buy tablets, cookware, small appliances, tools, toys, champagne, and a new home.)
Deals continue on electronics, tablets, and TVs, in particular, in the run-up to Christmas. 'Tis the season to shop, shop, shop, and December is also the best time to buy cookware, small appliances, and tools -- all of which make practical holiday gifts.
There is still little demand for wedding dresses in December, so like November, this is a good month to buy. Toys reach their lowest prices in December, especially if you wait until mid-month or the two weeks leading up to Christmas.
December is also hailed by some as the right time to buy a new house. Sellers who leave a house listed during the holidays are usually very motivated and more willing to negotiate a deal.
With New Year's Eve right around the corner, producers of Champagne and other sparkling wines compete for your dollars, so expect low prices on the bubbly. Finally, the day after Christmas usually blows in a new wave of fresh discounts, ranging from leftover holiday decorations and supplies to winter apparel.
More from Cheapism:
Inexpensive mp3 players
Best low-priced portable generators
For more ways to save, follow Cheapism on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.
To stay on top of the latest posts, read the Cheapism Blog.