What's on Sale in May
The Bible's Ecclesiastes 3:18 says: "To every thing there is a season". Not to trivialize that great book, the same can be said for the American economy, especially when it comes to shopping. Nearly every month there is something, somewhere the price is not only a good one, it is the near perfect time to buy,but with the old Frugal Yankee caveat - if you need it.
The idea of buying anything at any time just because it is on sale is, well, lame brained. However, if you need something, buying it while it is at its cheapest is one the most basic of thrifty tenets. To make this process as easy as possible, every month the Frugal Yankee goes out and researches when prices are their most affordable on a wide range of goods. May offers some great deals.
For most of us, the first place we notice price changes is in supermarkets. May is when colder climes, like New England, are beginning to shake the winter slumber. Warmer areas are producing some good fresh food. Spring peas, rhubarb, broccoli, asparagus and lettuce are arriving at stores with lower than winter prices. It is a taste of things to come. As the month progresses, look for deals on cherries, apricots, artichokes, okra, pineapples and zucchini.
The smart food shopper will not only notice these prices, but also plan meals around these foods. It is a great way to create a healthy diet for the family AND keep costs at their lowest - shop seasonal. By all means check out the FRUGAL YANKEE'S GUIDE TO SUPERMARKET, our new book on being a smart shopper including seasonal shopping.
Locally, fiddleheads are hitting their season. In the past, one had to head out into the wood to find this traditional New England food. But as more and more consumers have b focused in on locally grown foods, you can now find them in most supermarkets. Picking them with your family is still a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, but if pressed for time, the supermarket fiddleheads will do the trick.
Many times the best deals are after a season ends. For example, candy is cheaper right after Halloween. The same can be said for other holidays like Christmas, Labor Day or many others. May is somewhat different. After a long grueling winter, retailers start offering pretty good deals on summer activities. BBQ grills, their attendant supplies (charcoal, lighter fluid, grills, etc) as well as party supplies (disposable plates, cups, napkins and utensils) go on sale early in May in an attempt to jump start the season. The window is short and most of these deals are gone by Memorial Day, but if the right deal can be found, this is a good time to plan summer activities. Stocking up at sale time is the operative goal.
May is Mother's Day month. As it happens in our culture, the calendar day celebrating someone has become just another excuse to create a special sales. Mother's Day is no exception. Cookware, vacuums, refrigerator, dish washers, dryers, washing machines and the like will go on sale for Mother's Day. Do you see a trend here? The traditional tools of housekeeping are being ballyhooed as 'on sale' just for "mom". You have to wonder if moms really enjoy getting a red-ribboned washer to celebrate the day? Doubtful, but if the need for a new appliance is needed, a deal is out there.
If you're looking to stretch your money, look for the older or last season models. Demos floor models or slightly dinged model will be less expensive. You'll find value in these. units. Don't fall prey to the latest gizmos, gadgets bells, whistles or even trendy colors. Get what makes sense for you. Let the salesman work his silver tongue on someone else.
There is one product out there that everyone needs, but is confusing to buy - mattresses. The industry does everything it can to obfuscate the mattress market. Manufacturers make different models for different retailers. Many of them are the same except for the name. It is extremely difficult to do comparison shopping. That being said, May is a decent time to shop for mattresses. New models are coming in, so there is wiggle room to negotiate. Not only price, but on delivery, removal, extended warranties and some other bells and whistles. You may even see discounts of up to 50% as retailers look to unload last season's models. One word of caution, the mattress business is loaded with dubious operators. One sale may claim it is 50% off, but off what? Last week's price that had been jacked up to announce this week's 50% off? Do your homework and be careful.
There are three other items to discuss as deals in May - vacations, cars and homes. Spring is not a big vacation time. Summer is. If you're flexible, there are still great vacation deals out there, if you do it before the 'real' vacation season starts. Any deals will be gone quickly, so in addition to flexibility, speed is required.
Everyone knows the housing market has been enduring some difficult times. One would think that the conditions are good for buying if you have the money. In many ways that is correct, but not everywhere. Some desirable areas have not seen the down turn. In the areas that have, there are deals. Caution is always advised when buying property. Be sure it suits all of your needs. Look closely at the house, its location and most importantly, the financing.
The Frugal Yankee does not recommend buying new cars. As soon as they are driven off the lot, the value drops by thousands of dollars. Used cars are more practical and big money savers. However, if a new car is wanted, May does have advantages. Dealers are well aware of IRS refunds and will be offering sales. A couple of tips on buying cars. Buy at the end of the month when sales quotas need to be met. Do web research before walking onto any lot. Have your financing figured out a head of time. The car market is still competitive and in some ways still sluggish. As a result, manufacturers are offering all sorts of deals and enticements. An excellent site for these deals that are available is BEST CAR DEALS
So from food to cars, May can be a good time to buy. Just remember, don't buy for buying sake. Buy because it makes sense and the deal is a good one. That's what makes all of us, Frugal Yankees.
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