Predictable sales are a thing of the past: some shops have “blue cross sales” and other “discounts” running so frequently that you wonder what their true value actually is. But take a fresh look at the calendar and you might nab a bargain.
Here, with the help of discount price analysis from shopping site VoucherCodes.co.uk, is a diary of what to buy in 2013, and when, to ensure you’re getting the best deal:
Airlines: it may be the month most associated with sales but some things see prices drop further than others. Airlines and tour operators are keen to secure early bookings and sales, meaning January bargains for summer breaks.
Restaurants: restaurants, struggling to fill seats as post-Christmas purse strings tighten, offer the year’s best deals.
Gym: membership deals aplenty as they offer packages, freebies and extras to get you to sign up - the same applies to home gym equipment, with extra-competitive prices now.
Bicycles: not a popular purchase during the January freeze so bike sales tend to dry up. Far more haggling opportunities now.
Furniture: the annual sales take place in January and so too do deliveries of new-season stock. This means shifting bulky last-season furniture is a must for stores, making prices very competitive.
Swimwear and summer clothes: anything that was left over from the summer sale gets dragged out for one last try in the January sales, prices of these items will reflect the retailer’s desperation to shift them.
Cars, vans and motorcycles: the new registration plates are imminent, meaning the old registration plate cars are swiftly reduced in price to clear as they are no longer the newest cars in the showroom. Anyone looking for a brand new car, this is the time to steal a deal.
Luggage: retailers start to renew their stocks and ranges for the summer rush, so discounts appear on old ranges.
Ski and Winter Sportswear: “Many ski resorts begin to close at the end of March, making April a great time to snap up some cheap skiwear and winter sports equipment,” Vouchercode points out. “Get that North Face coat and new skis now to avoid paying a premium when the season starts again in December.”
Digital cameras: now is the time that manufacturers tend to update their line-ups, launching new models come spring time - so unless you want a brand new model, older lines will be on sale now to clear through stocks and make room with suppliers.
Furniture: sofas and soft furnishings tumble in price during bank holiday weekends to tempt consumers to spend.
DIY Supplies: famed for being the biggest DIY weekend of the year, the May bank holiday is the perfect time to get a new drill for less or pick up that paint – all at a discount. Hardware stores are all competing to get the most custom on this weekend, meaning there are often plenty of sales, in-store deals and discounts to be had.
Tents, wellies and sleeping bags: “They all fall in price now as outdoor stores compete to entice the festival-going crowd,” says Vouchercode.
Annual summer sales: good weather can push the start of sales to August, as people are still happily snapping up shorts and flip flops. A washout summer means stores can’t wait to start shifting those lingering summery items.
Theatre tickets: “When the sun shines, everyone flocks to London’s parks, riverbanks and beer gardens leaving theatreland a little deserted,” says Vouchercode. “Theatres have to fight to get seats filled and the best way to do this is to offer a discount. July may be the height of tourist season, but you’ll still get a good deal.”
Late summer travel: if you don’t mind taking a risk on the weather and can take some last minute time off, then now is the time to land a deal on a getaway.
Laptops, stationery and ‘office’ supplies: may be at their cheapest now, and cartridges and paper too.
Garden furniture and BBQs: as everyone moves from the patio to the couch, the prices on garden furniture, these plus lawnmowers and outdoor heaters all plunge in price. Shops wants to clear shelf space for Christmas products.
School uniform is also cheap now for the back to school period.
Budget homeware: a new wave of students leaving home means stores are full of cheap kitchen essentials, bedding and other homeware. But it’s not just for students; first-time buyers who have spent all their money on a deposit could nab a bargain too.
Zoos, theme parks and attractions: “Schools and universities are all well into term time, meaning zoos, theme parks and attractions all empty out. This means customers looking to visit at this time can expect a discount on entry or on extras within an attraction,” says Vouchercode.
Seeds, bulbs and shrubs for the garden: ”Any plants and seeds that you can successfully store until spring will be also significantly cheaper at the end of the season. Prices go back up in the spring when everyone typically heads down to the garden centre.”
Property: Spring and summer is typically boom time for buying and renting property in this country - so in winter you’re much more likely to get a good deal. “Most properties by this time will usually have been on the market for a good six to seven months and the owners may be ready to consider offers, meaning a better price for you,” says VoucherCode.
Champagne: The festive period actually sees the price of fizz reduce considerably as Champagne houses all compete to sell more units.
Games consoles: older ones, anyway. Most manufacturers release new consoles in the last three months of the year, so prices of competing consoles fall.