Summertime living is easy, and it can also be less expensive, if you know what bargains to look out for. As temperatures rise, prices on some popular items drop — and I’m not just talking about the peachy deals you can get on summer fruits and vegetables.
My favorite seasonal-deals guru, 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, recently shared some of his best advice for summer shopping.
Mark tells me that July is a good month to buy most jewelry, since it’s one of the six “non-gift-giving months” of the year (i.e., months without a traditional gift-giving holiday or occasion), so jewelry prices tend to drop. That makes sense. But he also says that July is a good time to find sales on bottled water; one would think that demand — and prices — would peak in the hottest (and thirstiest) month on the year. Go figure.
Here are some of Mark’s other tips for summertime savings:
As per the title of his book, buy ketchup in May, Mark says, “and lots of other picnic supplies, including paper plates, cups, hot dogs and buns. Memorial Day is the start of the summer picnic season, and most grocery stores deeply discount these traditional picnic items to get you in the store, so stock up for the whole summer.”
“Tools don’t go on sale that often, but they do in June, usually the week before Father’s Day. Expect to save as much as half on some small tools and about 25 percent on certain higher-priced tools,” Marks says. June is also a good month to shop for cellphones (“parents are buying lots of them to keep in touch with their kids during summer vacation, so there’s stiff price competition”) and refrigerators, since stores often discount existing stock to make room for new models that arrive in the summer.
Save money on swimsuits in July? It seems to me that they’d be priced at a premium during the heat of summer, but Mark says stores actually start to discount swimwear in July because most everyone who is going to buy a new swimsuit for the season has already done so. You can also save some big money by shopping for furniture in July, since stores typically receive their new inventory in August so they often mark down remaining inventory. And — who knew? — July (as well as June) is a great month to find deals on butter and other dairy products, since dairy production is up during that period; remember, you can stock up on butter and freeze it for use later.
The dog days of summer are a great time to save on computers (especially laptops), backpacks and other school and office supplies that go on sale as back-to-school specials — real deals, even if you’re not going back to school. And if you want to save big on a backyard swing set (maybe hide it away as a showy gift for your kids or grandkids next Christmas morning?), August is the month when you’ll find the best — “almost at cost” — deals on swing sets and similar outdoor play equipment, according to Mark.
Throughout the summer months, you can also find some great travel bargains. Think locales that are, well, a bit toasty during the summer months, like Las Vegas and Key West, where you’ll find some unseasonably cool deals on hotels and travel. Or if you’re in the mood for something more exotic, June is a perfect time to visit Russia or take an African safari, since the weather in both locales is nice and their tourist seasons are just starting, so there can be some early-bird bargains to be had.
And the seasonal savings don’t end after summer. Check out these seasonal-savings tips for every other month of the year as well.
Also of interest: Check out these spring shopping deals. »
Jeff Yeager is the author of three books, The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches, The Cheapskate Next Door and Don’t Throw That Away. His website is UltimateCheapskate.com and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.