It’s human nature to be attracted to things that are new and exciting. So, when you hit the stores this summer, you might be tempted to buy all the hottest seasonal items, like swimsuits and shorts. However, the fact is that certain items are a lot more expensive when the weather is warm.
You don’t have to give up your shopping habit just because the mercury is rising. However, knowing the best time to buy things can help you save big bucks throughout the year. From furniture to frozen food, here’s a list of what not to buy in the summer.
Summer, of course, is beach season. However, as the weather cools off, bathing suits become more difficult for retailers to move.
“That means that stunner swimsuit will take a swan dive in price,” said fashion and travel blogger Valerie Hansen, who runs Maple Leopard. She recommends buying next year’s bathing suit after this year’s final beach day passes.
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Although the sun rises every day, year round, stores overstock sunglasses during the peak of summer. So, when fall comes, they need to dump the surplus of these seasonal items.
“Avoid purchasing that favorite pair of sunglasses until summer’s end,” Hansen said.
3. Summer Apparel
If you’re looking to buy a new summer wardrobe, you might want to wait until the weather cools off.
“Typically, items such as sundresses, sandals and shorts will be on sale, off and on,” Hansen said. “But the discounts will be steeper in August and September. Stores want to make room for fall merchandise and clear out leftovers.”
4. Wedding Gifts
Summer is prime wedding season. However, don’t wait to buy a gift for a wedding that’s happening in the summer — as soon as the happy couple launches its registry in the spring, start shopping immediately to score the best deals.
“Summer and early fall are high times for wedding gifts — and big-box retailers know it,” said Mike Catania, co-founder and chief technology officer for promotion code and coupon website Promotion Code.
Weddings also cost more during the summer months. Because more people get married at this time of year, you can save by delaying your nuptials. The cheapest months to get married are January, March, April and November, according to BrideBox’s wedding-planning blog.
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6. Household and Kitchen Goods
From knives to plates, pots to pans, it’s best to buy household goods — especially kitchenware — during the fall, winter and spring.
“Expect to pay anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent more for identical kitchenware and around-the-house items from June 1 through the end of September,” Catania said.
7. New or Used Cars
The price of cars historically peaks in May and June and then drops at the end of the year, as dealers try to make room for next year’s models.
“Patient shoppers will likely find better deals by waiting it out until the winter,” said Lisa Rosenberg, data analyst at car-buying website CarGurus. “This specifically holds true for convertible prices.”
The price of crude oil drives gasoline costs, but the way oil is processed also affects gas rates. Summer-blend gasoline is more expensive than winter-blend, which creates an average spike of 52 cents per gallon between Feb. 1 and the peak summer season. Summer-blend production begins in March, making it more expensive to drive in the summer. The moral of the story is opt to take a road trip in the fall or spring to save.
The cost of electricity spikes in summer due to supply and demand. As overworked air conditioners demand more juice, the price of the electricity supply rises, according to CallMePower, an energy advice site for consumers. No one expects you to suffer the summer heat in silence, but you should be cautious about wasting energy during the hot months.
When it comes to what not to buy in the summer, TVs top the list. Television prices vary dramatically throughout the year, but there are a handful of times when you can score deals — none of which are during the summer. Prices are most competitive on Black Friday, during the lead-up to Christmas and in the weeks preceding the Super Bowl, according to Consumer Reports.
It’s statistically cheaper to buy a home in the winter. After all, parents prefer to shop for homes and move when the kids aren’t in school. Additionally, more sellers list their homes in the summer, which creates a critical mass that affects supply and demand, according to The Atlantic.
Like bathing suits, demand for bicycles skyrockets in summer and plummets in winter. Buy your 10-speed or mountain bike when demand — and prices — are lowest. That is almost certain to be in January, according to Business Insider.
13. Air Conditioners
When it comes to air conditioners, the laws of supply and demand once again create a drop in price during winter, according to home improvement website DoItYourself. After all, more people are logically shopping for new AC systems in the sweltering summer months than the chilly winter ones. This makes it tough for dealers to move inventory.
The best time to buy things like men’s apparel, specifically suits, is in the winter, according to deals website DealNews. Suit retailers typically stock extra supply before Christmas and are eager to get rid of what’s left once the holidays pass, even if it means slashing prices. Try shopping during the tail end of December or the beginning of January for the best deals.
The time between July 4 and Aug. 31 marks one of three peak annual carpet-buying times, with the other two occurring in early spring and early winter. For the lowest prices on carpet, buy after Dec. 10 but before Jan. 31. There are also many deals to be had in early September, according to CarpetSuperSite, a consumer resource site.
16. Linens and Sheets
In 1878, legendary retail giant John Wanamaker held his first “white sale,” luring customers in during the slow winter months by offering discounts on all sheets and linens. At the time, these items were only manufactured in white. Retailers across the country soon jumped on the bandwagon, and the winter white sale became an annual tradition that continues to this day.
In the 1950s, stores began adding colored linens and sheets to their lines.
It’s only logical that the price of patio furniture would increase in summer along with demand, but indoor furniture is also cheapest in the winter. Showrooms get new inventory in February and are eager to unload last year’s merchandise. Winter shoppers could save up to 50 percent on all kinds of furniture, according to Kiplinger.
18. Pools and Spas
As demand for spas and swimming pools drops, so do the prices for these items. Hence, fall and winter are the best times to buy these products. As an added bonus, installing in winter gives your yard more time to regrow grass that gets torn up during installation before the next summer, according to pool retailer River Pools and Spas.
If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to stock up on enough chocolate in March to last you through the summer. According to Consumer Reports, March is when prices drop between two chocolatey events: Easter and Valentine’s Day.
20. Frozen Foods
March is National Frozen Foods Month, and the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association uses the opportunity to stage nationwide promotions and discounts. Retailers across the country participate, so no matter where you live, March is probably the best time to buy things in bulk. More good news: frozen food keeps for a long time, so you can stock up in March and use the items throughout the year.
Keep Reading: 101 Ways to Save Money This Summer