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Bargain Shopping Strategies: Timing Can be Everything

Black Belt Shopper (featured column)
by Larry Wiener

It's the end of July and a great time to buy summer clothing. That's because the store is getting rid of leftovers to make room for fall fashions. Another great time would have been in March or April when stores might be disposing of last year's line or trying to get you in the store to buy sale items and other items that are not on sale.

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Timing is one of the key components of black belt shopping. Sometimes switching your buying time by just a few days can save you mightily. Buying new cars toward the end of the month, for example, can really save you in some cases because the dealer may be trying to unload a few cars to qualify for a bonus. Buying cars at a dealer on a rainy or snowy day can get you a deal because salespeople are anxious to earn commissions and traffic is light.

A clerk in the small appliance department of a major department store told me that appliances regularly go on and off sale. If an item you want is not on sale, it is quite likely that it will be in a month or less.

Expert shoppers use calendars that tell you month by month what is likely to be on sale. Check out our very own Annual Sale Calendar here at BetterBudgeting.

Local conditions can also yield temporary sales. If, for example, there is a major construction project going on, stores may have sales to draw customers. This happened here in LA often when the Red Line was under construction and Wilshire Blvd. was dug up. Your local newspaper can be a great source of information about these sales.

And don't forget those store closing sales. Currently several of the chains that Federated (parent company of Macy's) just bought up are having clearance sales. Look for store closing sales at Filene's, Robinson's-May, Marshall Field, and several other stores. Even stores that are going to remain open, but under the Macy's name are clearing out much of their merchandise.

Timing can even be important in grocery shopping. Here in LA, for example, coupons come out in the Sunday supplement. Often those coupons represent items that will be on sale until the following Tuesday.

And it goes without saying that when you are looking at garage sales, go in the first hour for the best selection. Prices may be lower later in the day, however, as the seller is wanting to get rid of the leftovers.

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Copyright © 2006 by Larry Wiener. All rights reserved.

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