The Ultimate Guide to Sales Cycle Shopping: What to Buy & How to Save

May 12, 2021 | Budgeting, Shopping Tips

Have you ever wondered when to buy a new car or when to book that next vacation? It pays to learn all about the sales cycle so you can know when to expect to pay the best prices. Read on for tips that will save you serious cash and time!

family shopping at a sale, from Fun Cheap or Free

Whether you've been saving up for a new exercise bike, handbag, or a family car, when you buy your dream item matters! Being frugal means make your dollar work harder, and letting the sales cycle guide your shopping is the next best thing to winning free money.

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

We've done all the research, so you don't have to! Find out what to buy when, and get tips on where to find the best deals, plus advice on what not to buy. Let's plan for epic shopping, you guys!


watching sports on new TV, from Fun Cheap or Free

In general, January is often one of the best times of year to go shopping! Aside from holiday clearance sales, many small businesses kick off the year with deep discounts. If you're in the market for one of these items, January is definitely the time to buy:

  • TVs – With Super Bowl Sunday right around the corner, most big-box retailers discount TVs to help football fans prepare for the big day.
  • Fitness Products – ‘Tis the season for New Years Resolutions, and that means January is a great time to buy exercise equipment, gym memberships, fitness apparel, diet services, and more.
  • Home Organization Products – If you want to get organized, January is the time to stock up on storage bins, labels, planners, and more! P.S. If you're in the market for products that help you stay on track, be sure to check out our Productivity Bootcamp and our Productivity Planners!
  • Bed Linens – Don't ask us why, but January is the best time to buy bedding and sheets! Maybe people are looking for a fresh start? Whatever the case, stock up then!
  • Toys – Each January, Walmart and Target markdown a ton of their toys by as much as 90%. Go ahead and stock up for birthdays!

Pro Tip: If you're in the market for new wardrobe items or furniture, mark your calendar for National Holidays. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is always observed on the third Monday of January, and many retailers hold big sales the weekend before!


family sitting on couch, from Fun Cheap or Free

Aside from stocking up on candy on February 15, which deals are too good to miss? Here's what you need to know about the annual sale cycle in February:

  • Winter Apparel – If you're in the market for coats or winter boots, stock up in February! As stores make room for spring clothing and gear, you can find incredible ski gear deals and more.
  • Furniture – Most large furniture stores hold some of their biggest sales of the year around President's Day, so mark your calendar for the third Monday of February!
  • Boats – If you're dreaming of spending warmer days out on the water, you're not alone. As boaters pine for summer, retailers offer some of their best deals on boats during February, so plan accordingly if you've been saving up!
  • Tax Software – Just as W2s begin to hit mailboxes, you'll find some of the best bargains on tax preparation software. The early bird gets the worm, so don't procrastinate!

Pro Tip: Buying produce in-season is another great way to save tons of money! Find out what's in season in February and throughout the rest of the year. We've pulled together a guide to buying seasonal produce on our sister blog, Shelf Cooking.


family rolling new luggage, from Fun Cheap or Free

We sure do love March around here! The longer days make us swoon, and so do these sales:

  • Grills & Grilling Tools – Enjoy the longer days of Spring and Summer on your patio! March is the best time of year to find discounted grills.
  • Cleaning Supplies – Kick off your spring cleaning routine and stock up supplies that will last throughout the year. March is the best time to buy cleaning products!
  • Luggage – Planning to take a summer vacation? Buy your luggage in March!
  • Golf Equipment – Fore! March is an excellent time to stock up on new golf clubs, so plan accordingly.
  • Air Conditioners – If you've been saving up for a new HVAC system, buy it before the weather heats up!

Pro Tip:  If you can avoid it, don't buy electronics in March. With school in full swing, the holidays long gone, and the Super Bowl a distant memory, retailers do not need to offer electronics deals. And since many new gadgets come out in February, laptops, and TVs tend to go for full price in March.


woman vacuuming carpet, from Fun Cheap or Free

Besides Easter candy, stuffed animals, and umbrellas, what should you buy in April? Here are a few things to know about the can't-miss sales cycle items:

  • Vacuums – Since most new-model vacuums are released in June, March is the time to scoop up closeout deals as retailers make way for the new stock. If you plan to buy a pricier model, March is the time to do it!
  • Allergy Medication – Sure, it's not super exciting, but it pays off big time to stock up on allergy medicines when they're on sale. Take a quick peek at the expiration date and buy enough to last through the year!
  • Gardening Supplies – If you've got a green thumb, April is the best time to stock up on all the items you'll need to keep your garden in tip-top shape.
  • Tires – If you're thinking of taking a road trip, you're in luck. Tire manufacturers discount tires during April and October to capitalize on the changing seasons. If you've been saving up and waiting for the right time to replace those old tires, here's your sign!

Pro Tip: On Tax Day (April 15), you can score all sorts of freebies. From free soft drinks to tax-free bills at restaurants, hundreds of businesses offer special perks. Check with your favorite stores to see if they're offering any Tax Day promotions!


Mory June Moses Bag, from Fun Cheap or Free

April showers bring May flowers and some pretty spectacular deals, too! Here's what to buy during the April sales cycle:

  • Strollers & Baby Gear – Is there a baby shower in your future? May's the time to stock up on baby goodies!
  • Small Kitchen Appliances – Just before wedding season kicks into high gear, small appliances like blenders, coffee makers, and toaster ovens tend to go on sale. Scoop up all those items from your friends' wedding registries before the prices go back up!
  • Paint – Need to give your house a facelift? Head to your local paint or hardware store in May when you'll find the best deals on paint!
  • Flowers – Don't forget about mom! With Mother's Day on the horizon, florists put together all sorts of deals on flowers and gift baskets.
  • Jewelry – And speaking of mom, jewelry goes on sale just before her big day, too.

Pro Tip: May 28 is National Burger Day, so if you love a good burger, keep your eyes peeled for those deals and freebies!


woman lacing up sneakers to run, from Fun Cheap or Free

Summer officially kicks off in June, and with Father's Day around the corner, it's a great time to stock up gadgets dad will love. Here are some items worth buying in June:

  • Activewear – If you need new yoga pants, tank tops, or sneakers, June is a great time to stock up!
  • Power Tools – If dad's a handyman, you can find tools for 20-30% off during June. (Just in time for Father's Day!)
  • Lingerie – Victoria's Secret holds their famous semi-annual sale in June and the deals are legit! Shop early for the best selection.
  • Computer Games – If you're a gamer and you own a PC, then you might already know that June is the best time to buy new games! You can get them up 90% off or as low as 99 cents.
  • Sandals – Don't miss the Old Navy $1 Flip Flop sale! You can get summer shoes for the whole family for just a few bucks.

Pro Tip: If you can avoid it, try not to move during the month of June. That's when moving trucks cost the most, and apartment rental rates are at their highest.


backpack filled with school supplies, from Fun Cheap or Free

Wondering what to buy and what to skip in July? Here are some deals you shouldn't miss during the July sales cycle:

  • School Supplies – Stock up on notebooks, backpacks, lunch boxes, and more. You'll save yourself the last-minute dash, and your wallet will thank you.
  • Amazon Electronics – Typically, Amazon holds its annual Prime Day sale in July. This is a great time to buy Amazon-brand electronics, including Kindles, Echoes, and Smart TVs.
  • Disposable Eating Utensils – July is the perfect time to buy disposable cups, plates, and cutlery leftover from July 4th cookout sales. You can get patriotic-themed plates for pennies after the holiday passes, so stock up while you can! We like to have disposable eating utensils on hand for family road trips.

Pro Tip: Never buy a lawnmower in July. Demand is higher then, and so are the prices! Waiting just a few weeks can save you a ton of money.


kids snack haul, from Fun Cheap or Free

Many moms would say August is the most wonderful time of the year because kids head back to school. Can we get an amen?! While you're out shopping for items for the new school year, don't sleep on these deals:

  • Lawnmowers – Remember how we said not to buy a lawnmower in July? That's because some of the best pricing of the year comes in late August. As summer comes to a close, lawnmower deals heat up.
  • Snacks for the Kids – School supplies aren't the only things that go on sale before school starts. Snacks for the kids do, too, so stock up on non-perishable items that will last!
  • Bathing Suits – End-of-summer is one of the best times to find crazy good deals on swimwear. You can find bathing suits from all your favorite brands for as much as 75% off.

Pro Tip: Don't buy a TV in August. If you wait just a few more months and cash in on Black Friday deals, you can save hundreds of dollars!


family shopping mattress sale, from Fun Cheap or Free

Want to save some money on your September shopping list? These are the items worth buying:

  • Printers – With college classes back in session, printers go on sale, and you don't have to be a student to cash in on those deals! Go ahead and upgrade your home office setup guilt-free.
  • Summer Clothing – By the time September rolls around, stores are desperate to get rid of lingering summer clothing and make way from fall and winter items. Their loss is your gain!
  • Trees – Want to plant a few new trees in the backyard? September is the best time to buy large outdoor plants!
  • Mattresses – It's not just printers that go on sale when school's back in session. Mattresses are marked down, too! Get them while the getting's good.
  • iPhones – Typically, new iPhone models come out in October, and that means September is the perfect time to catch the current model on sale.

Pro Tip: You can always negotiate mattress prices, so don't be afraid to ask! Especially at the big-name stores, you can often receive an extra 10-15% off sales prices just by asking. Do your research before you shop, and bring in sales flyers from competitors to bolster your argument.


family biking, from Fun Cheap or Free

We love the cool, crisp days of fall. Give us all the pumpkin, apples, and bonfires, please! Oh, and we'll take these deals, too:

  • Outdoor Furniture – If you're in the market for new patio, porch, or deck furniture, wait until October. You can save as much as 50% on top-of-the-line outdoor furniture.
  • Bikes – Buy your bikes at a bargain and head out on the trails, or store them away for Christmas gifts! Bike prices are usually at their lowest in October.
  • Dog Food & Toys – Did you know October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month? Stores usually discount dog toys, food, and training packages in anticipation of all the new pet owners.
  • Jeans – If you've been saving up for the perfect new pair of jeans, now is the time to buy them! American Eagle usually discounts their jeans by as much as 70% in October.

Pro Tip: Never buy boots in October. As the weather starts to cool, the prices skyrocket! Hold off until late November, or score the best bargains at the end of the winter.


new washing machine, from Fun Cheap or Free

If you think November sales are limited to toys and holiday foods, think again. November is a great time to stock up on big-ticket items, including these steals and deals:

  • Home Appliances – Refrigerator, freezers, washers and dryers, and stoves are all at their lowest prices in November. If you're saving up for new appliances, keep that in mind!
  • Cookware – While everyone's gearing up for Turkey Day, it's a great time to buy those cookware items you've been coveting. Dutch ovens, bakeware, utensils, and more are all on sale in November.
  • Pajamas – Get ready for those family photos by the Christmas Tree. Pajama sales are all the rage in November!
  • Electronics – Black Friday is often one of the best times to buy electronics, so keep your eye out on the sales flyers this month.

Pro Tip: Black Friday happens in November, but buyers, beware! Not all deals are created equal. Find out which deals to snag and which ones to skip! Here's a roundup of our best Black Friday shopping tips.


family buying a car, from Fun Cheap or Free

So many things go on sale in December! As the year comes to a close, businesses push hard to make a few final sales, and if you shop wisely, you can end up scoring some pretty sweet deals. Here's what you should know about the December sales cycle:

  • Cars – Hands down, December is the best time of year to buy a car! Do your research and then capitalize on the end-of-year deals.
  • Christmas Decorations – Plan for next year and buy all your favorite decor for 50% off (or more) on the 26th.
  • Toys – Last-minute Christmas shoppers can luck out on some incredible deals for the kiddos. Many of the popular holiday items go on sale right after Christmas, too.
  • Candles – Calling all Bath & Body Works fans! Their candle sale in December is epic, so mark your calendars! Their popular three-wick candles are marked down by 60%.
  • Electronics – If you didn't score that Black Friday TV deal, don't panic. The electronics sales usually continue through the holidays.
  • Cookware – And speaking of holidays, the cookware deals usually continue through December, too. So if you're preparing the holiday feast this year and need some new gear, go ahead and treat yourself.

Pro Tip: You don't have to go broke to spread the love during the holiday season! Get our best tips for setting a holiday budget and sticking to it.


Now you know everything there is to know about shopping the annual sales cycle and finding the best deals! By waiting to buy your big-ticket items at the right time, you can save thousands of dollars each year. Put those extra dollars towards your vacation fund, or use that money to pay off debt.

Have you ever gotten a crazy good deal on a car, appliance, or another wishlist item? Spill the deets and give us your best tips for sale shopping! Leave a comment below, or stop by our Fun Cheap or Free Facebook Page to say hi.

Image with text that reads "sales cycle break down" from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for even more ways to save money?

  • Find how the 3-month rule can help you save up enough to buy anything you want or need!
  • Don't leave these deals on the table! Download these fast food apps to save a ton of cash.
  • How much should you spend on groceries? Check out this grocery shopping 101 post to learn how to save!

Happy shopping (and saving)!


  1. Chloe Reed

    This is the best post I’ve ever seen. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, we lost a lot of items in our home. I am going to find a way to digitize this so I can keep it on my phone any time I’m looking for something. 🙂 Thank you!

    • Fun Cheap or Free

      Sorry to hear that, but SO glad that you found this post helpful!


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