We all know that Memorial Day isn’t just about sales, but you have to admit retailers have done a pretty thorough job of conditioning us to associate summer’s first holiday with a major sale event. Although we obviously shouldn’t plan commemorative ceremonies and family gatherings around our favorite retailers’ events, there’s no harm in taking advantage of them if it’s in the budget. Below you’ll find the scoop on which items will be featuring the deepest discounts, along with strategies for shopping savvy and saving even more.
Just like last year, retailers are bound to roll out the deals at least a week in advance (which means now). This will continue through the holiday itself on the 30th. If you’d rather not waste your holiday weekend shopping, taking advantage of the early sales might be a good compromise.
Key Sale Items
Don’t fall for this line: “everything is on sale!” The prices might be lower than they were a few weeks ago, but there are seasons and cycles for every category. Some items might be lightly discounted now, but truly on sale another time of year. Here is where the real discounts lie on Memorial Day:
- Spring Clothing
- Home Items
Spring clothes are at the end of their season, so Memorial Day is a great opportunity for stores to blast out leftover inventory and make room for summer. Speaking of summer, Memorial Day is not the best time to buy those swimsuits that have just appeared on the rack. You’ll see much deeper discounts mid-summer (think Victoria Secret’s annual swimwear sale that usually hits in June). Otherwise, you’ll see spring clothing deals anywhere from 20 to 90% off.
Furniture, appliances and home items are typically good items to buy in May, but the biggest category by far is mattresses. Last year, Amazon, Sears, U.S. Mattress and Groupon offered particularly strong savings in this category, so if you’re in business for a new one, keep checking your junk mail and email inbox for coupon codes and limited offers.
Vacation Deals on a Holiday?
An unusual category with cheaper prices around Memorial Day is travel. If you decided to spend the weekend at home to save money for your family vacation that’s coming up, now’s the time you’ll find cheaper flights and hotels both on travel sites and directly from airlines.
What Not to Buy…
Along with those summer swimsuits, you’ll want to avoid most electronic categories no matter how good the deals look. Fall is nearly always the prime time for newly released gadgets and deep discounts on last year’s models. You’ll also see stores already stocking (and offering ‘sales’ on) back to school supplies. It can be tempting to just grab what you need now and beat the rush, but wait for it — the best deals on all those tiny items is late August/early September, right before school starts.
As with any time of year, you can maximize your money by comparison shopping between competing retailers with similar sales using smartphone apps and deal websites like Shop Advisor or Shop Savvy. You’ll also want to save coupons because you might need to physically present them to get the sale price.
Finally, don’t fall for all the sales gimmicks around Memorial Day and buy things just because their on sale. Buy what you need, what your budget can afford, at the right time, and after finding the best deals.
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