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The Best Time to Buy Almost Anything in 2016

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WHAT TO BUY WHEN

Timing is everything, especially for frugal consumers who need to make big purchases. Knowing when to buy something goes a long way toward saving big bucks. The best time to shop for big-ticket items usually precedes or coincides with new model introductions. The end of a season also brings excellent bargains. Remember, though, that following the best-time-to-buy rules means trade-offs. Forget about having the latest and greatest, but revel in the steep discounts to be gained with this month-by-month guide.

JANUARY

New furniture models come out in February, so bargains arrive in January. Keep an eye on office furniture, as retailers target entrepreneurs launching new ventures in the new tax year. With the holidays over and winter setting in, department stores lure shoppers with "white sales," making this the best time to buy linens. The annual Consumer Electronics Show spurs price drops on digital cameras, HDTVs, and other electronics to clear shelves for new models. Also on sale: holiday items, winter apparel, select toys, and home fitness gear.

FEBRUARY

Stock up on high-end chocolate -- which rarely goes on sale -- after Valentine's Day. Also in February, retailers continue to discount select electronics such as HDTVs and audio equipment, as well as video games released during the holiday gift-buying frenzy. Be on the lookout for deals on winter coats and apparel, especially over Presidents' Day weekend, as stores prepare to display spring fashions. With the winter boat show season in full swing, February is the best time to buy a boat for less. Also on sale: tax-filing software.

MARCH

As temperatures rise and demand cools, sellers are ready to strike deals on winter sporting equipment and apparel. The same goes for that last ski trip of the season. Updated luggage styles arrive in advance of summer travel, so now's the time to buy last year's suitcases. March is National Frozen Food Month, which prompts extra promotions. Stack coupons on top of supermarket sales to fill the freezer for the months ahead.

APRIL

Car dealers pick up used vehicles at auction this time of year and aim to move them quickly. April is also National Car Care Month, which brings deals on car parts, tires, and service. Retailers mark down cookware as graduations and wedding season approach. In recent years Home Depot has held a springtime Black Friday sale with discounted home improvement supplies. Also on sale: snow blowers, jewelry, and cruise vacations.

MAY

The mattress industry does its spring cleaning over Memorial Day. Retailers offer exceptional discounts in May to clear the floor for incoming merchandise. The long weekend also sees markdowns on spring clothes as summer wear moves front and center. Deals on office furniture pop up again in May, with price cuts continuing through June. With the start of wedding season and graduations, count on finding bargains on home goods and other gifts, especially during Memorial Day sales. Items such as kitchenware should be discounted heavily, while picnic and grilling supplies see price dips in May.

JUNE

Warm weather heats up deals on health club memberships as many gym rats head outdoors in June. Showing off a new body? Victoria's Secret's semi-annual lingerie sale spurs the competition to slash prices too. The onset of hurricane season makes cruises cheaper yet, especially for last-minute bookings. Cinemas offer an escape from the heat and a plethora of deals on movie tickets when bought online. Even with back-to-school weeks away, laptop deals heat up in June. National Doughnut Day falls on June 3 this year. Take advantage of freebies from places such as Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts, and Tim Hortons.

JULY

With Father's Day past, July is one of the best times to buy tools. After July 4, retailers start firing up discounts on grills and summer apparel. Independence Day also heralds a handful of mattress deals worth getting out of bed for. On National Ice Cream Day (July 17 this year) look for specials at local shops and chains such as Baskin-Robbins and Cold Stone Creamery. The semi-annual release of new furniture models in August invites sales in July. And with no gift-giving holiday in sight, jewelry stores vie for business.

AUGUST

Back-to-school sales can work to the frugal shopper's advantage even if there are no kids in the picture. August is a good time to buy laptops and merchandise such as backpacks and office supplies. In addition to attractive deals on kids' clothes, summer apparel and swimwear are at all-time-low prices. Items such as lawn mowers are tagged with some of the biggest discounts of the year as retailers start purging inventory for the fall. With summer travel wrapping up, it's easy to find good deals on camping gear and luggage.

SEPTEMBER

September may be the best time to buy plane tickets for holiday travel. New car models are released in early fall, leaving cut-rate leftovers from the prior model year. Likewise, new bicycles come out in September and last year's models go on clearance. Look for denim and desktop computer sales after the back-to-school rush. Once again, mattress dealers roll out discounts for the long Labor Day weekend. On Sept. 29, don't miss the opportunity to get a free cup o' joe for National Coffee Day. Also on sale: patio furniture, perennial plants, lawn mowers, and sunglasses.

OCTOBER

Not much goes on sale in October, but the remaining summer stock (bikes, grills, lawn mowers) takes on spooky-low price tags. Discounts on denim, new cars, and camping gear also continue this month. Deals on Halloween costumes and decorations start in mid-October and continue to increase as the witches and goblins close in.

NOVEMBER

The biggest shopping season of the year kicks off the day after Thanksgiving, but look for Black Friday deals throughout November. Expect discounts on big and small appliances, vacuum cleaners, and furniture. This is also a good time to buy laptops, HDTVs, tablets, digital cameras, and other electronics. Tool kits make welcome gifts and sales abound; ditto for cookware. November brings a lull in the wedding business ahead of holiday engagements, and bridal shops stocking up on wedding dresses want to clear out older inventory. Also on sale: Halloween candy and trappings.

DECEMBER

Savings continue in December on HDTVs, including big brand names such as LG and Samsung, as well as cookware, small appliances, tools, and wedding dresses. Toys reach their lowest prices as Christmas approaches. In the market for a new house? Sellers who leave a home listed during the holidays are usually very motivated to negotiate a deal. With New Year's Eve in sight, producers of Champagne and other sparkling wines post sales. The day after Christmas brings a wave of fresh discounts, from holiday decorations to winter apparel.

Raechel Conover

Raechel Conover is a freelance writer whose work has appeared on Yahoo, blogs, and other websites. She's a self-confessed shopaholic and frugal mom, always scouring the sale and clearance racks for deals and taking full advantage of free community activities and events with her husband and young sons.

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