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Home goods: January is the month of white sales, so expect to see plenty of deals on linens, but also on cookware and furniture. These sales continue into February. May’s wedding season also brings deals on small housewares such as coffee makers and vacuums; look for savings of 10 to 30 percent off. China and flatware prices are lower in September, when stores gear up for the new season’s patterns.
Jewelry: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend year-round, but are a shopper’s best friend in December, when markdowns can reach 30 to 50 percent. Jewelry sales – particularly online – are slow in July, so shoppers can find savings of up to 50 percent.
Luggage: Deals on luggage roll out in March, when the holidays are over, but summer travel hasn’t picked up yet. They’ll make another visit to the clearance section in May.
Produce: When it comes to many purchases, the expression “buy straw hats in winter” applies: Buy out of season for the biggest discounts. With produce, however, discounts happen in season. Look for larger citrus fruits – such as grapefruits and oranges – in January, after they’ve had enough time to sweeten. Blueberries are also a good January buy. Think mangos and asparagus in March, melons and peaches in May (good weather permitting), and apples in September.
Remodeling. If you’re thinking of home remodeling, you might find a bargain on both materials and contractors in January, since construction often experiences a post-holiday winter lull.
Shoes. New athletic footwear usually hits stores in February, so older stock could be discounted up to 40 percent. Boots tend to go on sale as winter wilts, and sandals are cheaper at summer’s end.
Sporting events. Score discounted tickets for basketball and hockey in February, just as the spotlight on football fades. By July and August, you’ll find deals on baseball tickets and gear, as teams are being eliminated during pennant races.
Sporting goods. Since February marks the end of football season, team memorabilia hits the clearance rack. March is the month to stock up on new skis and snowboards for next year’s season. Camping equipment prices cool down in October, providing discounts up to 30 percent off.
Toys. Last season’s toys are heavily marked down in October as retailers clear inventory before holiday shopping kicks off.
Travel. The best cruise deals are available during off-season in April. If you experience the winter blues, book a beach vacation in December; many are discounted up to 50 percent off from Thanksgiving through the third week in December.
The above are only rules of thumb – different retailers and service providers offer discounts for different reasons at different times.
Renee Morad is a writer for Money Talks News, a consumer/personal finance TV news feature that airs in about 80 cities and around the Web. This column first appeared in Money Talks News.