Like so many things in life, when it comes to saving money, timing is everything. Or at least it can be.
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Knowing the right times to get the best deals — like maximizing savings on seasonal products by shopping at the end of the season and putting items away for next year — is a style of bargain hunting that has been elevated to an art form by some of my fellow cheapskates. In fact, I call these seasonal shopping specialists "discount druids."
No one knows more about when to get the best deals than Mark Di Vincenzo, author of the best-selling book Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There. I interviewed Mark at noon on a Wednesday, and given the boatload of money-saving advice he had to share with me, I'm convinced that Wednesday at noon is the best time to interview a discount druid guru.
Here's the skinny from Mark on when to find the best deals:
In the fall, you'll find discount druids in the back of most sporting goods stores, trying on last summer's reduced-for-quick-sale swimsuits amid the racks of full-priced parkas and ski wear. But beware: It's easy to forget how you actually look in a Speedo if it's marked down low enough.
"Fall is probably the best season of the year to find the most bargains on the widest range of things," Mark told me. (In case you're wondering, he says the worst season is actually summer.) "The Christmas shopping season has been getting longer and longer, so holiday sales now start in early fall," he says, adding that with the current recession, many retailers are slashing prices from the very first day of the elongated holiday shopping season in order to get more shoppers into the stores earlier.
Mark also says that fall is the season when manufacturers of many items — including cars, RVs and boats — release their new product lines for the coming year. This prompts retailers to cut prices on remaining inventory before it becomes "last year's model."