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The Best Time to Buy Just About Everything

Our forever goal? Buy better. Sure, we may have to cough up market price for food, gas, rent, and taxes, but when it comes to nearly everything else — including clothes, travel, tech, beauty, and even cars — we want to shell out less than the suggested retail price with each checkout. It’s a lofty goal that could line our pockets with hundreds of dollars in savings, but admittedly leaves us with a few reservations: Will we have to freeze spending until marquee savings are unleashed come Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Will stacked Amazon Prime Day purchases strain our good standing with delivery drivers?

To devise a strategy on how to save on everything, we consulted consumer studies and talked to money savings expert Andrea Woroch, who helped us see there’s more to sourcing killer deals than waiting for pre-holiday doorbusters. The biggest takeaway (aside from tracking price history and adding products to Honey’s Droplist)? Plan ahead. By picking up winter coats on the cusp of spring, buying beauty products in bulk biannually, and booking airfare three months ahead of travel, we will save, save, save. 

Want to get in on the action? See the best times of year to drop money at a car dealership, replace expensive appliances, and more, below — all without having to pay full price. 

Best Time to Beauty
Courtesy: Fenty Beauty


Waiting for that best-selling Urban Decay palette or Fenty concealer to drop in price? Like many other retailers, beauty superstores like Ulta and Sephora offer compelling discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But some of the biggest beauty deals can be had outside of frenzied shopping days. Take Ulta Beauty’s biannual 21 Days of Beauty Sale, held in spring (typically in March and April) and fall (typically in August and September). For three weeks, shoppers nab favorites from brands like Tarte, Dermalogica, and Smashbox for up to half off. If your favorite skin care and makeup items aren’t discounted at Ulta Beauty’s sale, keep an eye out for Sephora’s annual Beauty Insider Sale, typically held in April, and annual Holiday Bonus Event in early November. During both events, customers can save 10-20% of just about anything on the store’s site. 

Best Time to Buy Tech


For some Americans, football is a religion — and big box retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target bless those looking to upgrade their TVs in time for the biggest game of the year with some pretty sweet deals. You can scoop up a Hisense 65" LED Smart TV for a pretty good deal right now...or it may be worth it to wait. “You can score big savings on tech like large screen TVs in January leading up to Super Bowl as electronic retailers try to capitalize on football fan’s desire to watch the big game on a new big screen,” confirms Woroch.  

Other must-have tech items — like laptops and smartphones — are cheapest in July and August, when back-to-school sales kick in. “The back to school shopping rush, beginning in late July through August, offers a great time to score discounts on various tech needed for school such as laptops and tablets, printers and smartphones,” says Woroch, who notes additional savings can be had for college students during these sales. In fact according to research conducted by Consumer Reports and Gap Intelligence, late July and early August rival November and December for the best time to buy a laptop. Setting a summertime reminder to purchase a new Macbook Air now. 

Best Time to Book Cheap Hotels


“In the wee hours on any given Tuesday.” “Exactly six weeks before travel.” There are so many theories as to when airlines offer their cheapest rates, but according to research, many should be debunked, stat. Though negligible savings can be found when purchasing tickets midweek, it turns out there is no magic day of the week to score the deepest discounts on flights. According to the 2019 Annual Airfare Study, comprising an analysis of 917 million airfares in more than 8,000 markets, average low fares only jump $1 from one day of the week to the next. The best way to pinpoint a lowest fare? Plan ahead. According to the study, booking 84 days ahead of domestic spring travel can mean saving up to $285 on a flight. The best deals on domestic summer flights clock in at 99 days ahead of travel, when booking can shave up to $260 off of ticket prices. Fall travel is best booked 69 days in advance, a move that can reduce domestic ticket prices by $280, while domestic winter travel requires 94 days advanced booking to save up to $168 on a ticket.  

While those who plan ahead save most on flights, it’s often the spontaneous types who reap the biggest rewards on low hotel rates. Hotels lose money on vacant rooms in every 24-hour cycle, so many give price breaks to those booking a few days in advance of a stay. Bigger discounts await those who plan at the 11th hour, thanks to sites like HotelTonight and One:Night where same-day rooms can be booked for up to 50% off. If you logistically can’t swing last-minute booking, there are a few ways to save when securing a room in advance. Shop for domestic hotel rooms on a Saturday or Sunday versus a Tuesday (the most expensive day of the week to book) and save an average of $5 per night, according to a 2018 Global Hotel Study from Kayak. Selecting to stay during less busy days of the week accrues even more deals: Booking for Sunday domestic check-ins and Friday domestic checkouts can yield a 15% savings, on average, versus booking to check in and out on the most expensive days of the week — Friday and Sunday — according to the study.

Best Time to Buy Clothes
Courtesy: Anthropologie


Most fashion brands and designers still release collections on a spring/summer and fall/winter schedule. That means the very best deals on clothing comes when retailers need to make room for new styles, whether you’re buying four-figure items or already-discounted gear. That means that Anthropologie colorblocked coat you’ve been eyeing will probably be much cheaper right before the weather starts to warm. “Whenever shopping for clothing, outerwear, accessories, and shoes, always shop at the end of the season,” advises Woroch. “Winter clothing is cheapest in February, as retailers begin moving merchandise to make room for new spring fashion. Meanwhile, you can score deep discounts on summer apparel during Labor Day or in early September, as retailers clear out shelves for fall and winter goods.” In other words, get that must-have Frankie’s swimsuit at the end of summer! Though Woroch notes selection may be limited when shopping end of season, the savings can top 70% at sites and stores like Asos, Net-a-Porter, Gap, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and more. Even better: come February and September, prices are often equally slashed on clearance items at already-discounted retailers like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Ross.

Best Time to Buy Home


You may not always need a brand-new mid-century sofa, but cheese boards are appreciated year round. Like with fashion, new home collections are typically released biannually in February and August, which makes these months the best time to nab previously-released styles for deep discounts. For the best possible deal, target your furniture hunt to a national holiday that falls in or around these times (like President’s Day in February or Labor Day in early September) when already-reduced prices tend to drop even further at stores like Ashley Home Stores, Williams-Sonoma, Restoration Hardware, and Crate & Barrel.

National holidays also prove rewarding for those eyeballing a new refrigerator, washer, dryer, or other big-box appliances, according to Woroch. “When shopping for big ticket home items such as large appliances and furniture, it’s best to hold off for a holiday weekend. Think: President’s Day, Memorial Day, and Independence Day. This is when many appliances and furniture retailers release sales and may even offer coupons on top of the sale,” she says. Check out Home Depot, Best Buy, and more for discounts up to 40%.

Best Time to Buy a Car


If holiday season car commercials are to be believed, a brand-new, bow-festooned car is given every seven-to-10 minutes. While we’ve yet to see such a thing IRL, there’s one kernel of truth presented in these ads: The last few months of the calendar year is prime time to cash in on vehicular savings. “The best time to buy a car begin in October, as car dealerships need to start dropping prices on current year models in hopes to move those off the lot and make way to for the next year’s inventory,” confirms Woroch. Waiting until the last few weeks of the year to secure new wheels may yield even deeper discounts. Research from Edmunds shows that December sales events offer the highest discount off of the suggested retail price of a vehicle (at 6.1% on average), along with the highest incentives and rebates. What motivates dealerships to strike the best deals? The need to meet year-end sales objectives and to move models released in the prior year. 

Keep smart shopping! Download Honey for free, and we'll automatically apply available discount codes at checkout.