Get (Way) Ahead: When To Buy Seasonal Items That Normally Sell Out in Advance

Mother and son shopping for halloween skulls in a store wearing protective face masks stock photo
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Though you may feel like you’ve just gotten through summer, with kids back to school, there’s always another holiday, event or occasion on the horizon to plan for. If you’re someone who waits until the last minute to purchase the items you need, you may face shortages, as certain seasonal items tend to sell out fast.

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Fortunately, we’ve prepared a guide to help you figure out which seasonal items to buy at what times for the best prices. But it’s important to keep supply and demand in mind when trying to get ahead of a deal. High demand tends to mean higher prices, and often, things sell out faster. Also, while some of the items on this list are cheapest at certain times of year, some online retailers offer discounts year round, like, and, according to The Balance.

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Halloween Costumes

A lot of seasonal items go on sale after the season is over, but when it comes to Halloween costumes, it might make more sense to purchase them in advance, according to People Hype. After all, kids change their minds — and their costumes — from year to year, and you don’t want to be left with slim pickings. Luckily, with online shopping, costumes can be purchased year-round. Places like Party City sell costumes all through the year, as does Amazon. You can even consider making your own. By planning ahead, you’ll know what supplies you need and can be sure to prepare your little goblin or witch or Marvel character without spending too much.

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Summer Items

When it comes to purchasing your summer items, you either want to think ahead or wait until end-of-season sales. A lot of summer items go on sale at the end of summer, such as patio furniture, umbrellas and so on. Kiddie pools often go fast, so these are best purchased ahead of summer. According to Travel + Leisure, items that tend to sell out fast — and which you should consider purchasing as early as January and February — include inflatable hot tubs, coolers, wood burning fire pits and blenders.

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Air Conditioners and Fans

You don’t want to wait until your house is sweltering to buy an air conditioner or fan — and even if the supply is good, these will likely be higher priced during the warmer months. According to The Balance, the best month to buy air conditioners is in March, before weather gets too warm. Other appliances are often at their best prices between December through January, as manufacturers tend to introduce their new products in the spring.

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Christmas Decor

While many seasonal items go on sale after the holiday is over, this might be especially true for Christmas decorations and even wrapping paper, which stores tend to have in abundant supply. Capitalize on after-Christmas sales and set yourself up for savings that you’ll reap the following Christmas.

Wedding Gowns

If you’re planning a spring or summer wedding, which are among the most popular times of year for weddings, The Balance suggests you purchase your wedding gown in May. Wedding finery tends to go on sale around that time to make way for the new crop of dresses.

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Snow/Ski Gear

For the best deals on snow and ski gear, planning ahead is a wise idea — which might mean buying sizes a bit larger for growing kids. The best deals on outdoor gear and clothing come about in March, after the ski season is winding to a close and people have stopped thinking about the current ski year.

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Last updated: Sept. 7, 2021

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About the Author

Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.

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