We consider ourselves to be smart shoppers – faithfully perusing store flyers, comparison shopping and checking prices online, downloading coupons and watching for deep discounts.  Canadian retailers are getting on board with Black Friday sales like they have in the US, but Boxing Day is still the busiest day for bargain-hunting shoppers in Canada.

Related: What I learned from working retail

Many items are also reduced at certain times each year.  If you have the storage for out-of-season goods and don’t mind that your new purchase is “so last year!” you can find deals all year round.  While you can’t wait for months to buy a major appliance if yours completely breaks down, you can wait for a better deal if you think your fridge is old, ugly or losing efficiency.  When considering a significant purchase, see if you can wait until the item is officially “out of season”.  If you plan ahead you can save substantially.

I love saving money almost as much as I love lists, so I’ll start off the year by combining both.  Here’s a month-by-month guide to the best bargains.  It all starts with knowing when to shop.

Calendar of Saving Money

January

  • Anything Christmas related and/or with special holiday packaging can be marked down by up to 90% especially food items, chocolates and candles.
  • Linens.  Stores hold “white sales” to encourage shoppers to stock up on towels and bedding.
  • Furniture.  New styles arrive in stores in February.
  • TVs – especially big screen TVs.  The two weeks leading up to Super Bowl have good deals and new stock comes in January through March.
  • Computers and other consumer electronics.
  • Winter clothes.  Spring fashions hit the sores in February.
  • Workout and sports gear and clothing.  Sad but true, the average North American gains 7 – 10 lbs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  There are great sales for those New Year’s resolutions.
  • Carpeting and flooring.

February

  • Jewelry
  • Fragrance and toiletries.
  • Furniture and house wares.
  • Spring and summer cruises.

March

April

  • Tires.  People are thinking of road trips.
  • Cookware and china are popular graduation and wedding gifts.
  • Vacuum cleaners and cleaning supplies.  Spring-cleaning anyone?
  • Wallpaper and paint.  Walls look grungy after all that spring-cleaning.

May

  • Mattresses and box springs (through the summer).  Stores often get special offers from manufacturers.
  • Refrigerators.  New models hit the stores in summer, which means last year’s models have to go.  Start with the clearance price, and then negotiate from there.  Most stores will be willing to haggle.

June

  • Tableware – china and flatware.  These are popular wedding gifts for the most popular month for weddings.
  • Wedding dress.  If you’re not too picky, what didn’t get sold previously is highly discounted before new merchandise comes in.
  • Tools.  Aimed at Father’s Day.

July

  • Furniture.  New arrivals come in August.
  • Electronics.
  • Craft supplies.

August

  • Bathing suits and summer clothing.  Stores must clear out inventory for incoming fall and winter fashions.
  • Linens.  University students are shopping for their dorm room.

September

  • Lawnmowers and BBQ’s.  These take up too much space on the sales floor.
  • Trees, shrubs and bulbs.  Stores are eager to clear these out to make room for holiday merchandise.
  • Stoves.  New models come in winter.
  • School supplies.  Also, backpacks, calculators and laptops.
  • Canned goods.  Stock up for winter.
  • Houses.  Home sellers who didn’t find a buyer in the spring and summer and want to move before Christmas may now listen to your ridiculously low offer.

October

  • Outdoor and camping gear.
  • Patio furniture.
  • Snow tires.  Canadians know all about winter driving.
  • Cars – new and used.  The best time to buy a car is late in the month.
  • Jeans.  The back-to-school rush is over and excess inventory has to go.
  • Wedding supplies.  Wedding season is over so it’s easier to negotiate prices on wedding and reception locations, DJ, flowers, and catering.

November

  • Tools.  Timed for Christmas giving.
  • Turkeys and baking supplies.
  • Baking and roasting pans
  • Electronics.  These are the top items of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales – especially Apple products.
  • Wedding supplies.

December

  • Winter clothes.
  • Party foods and treats.
  • Food serving and storage pieces (from crystal to plastic).
  • Popular holiday related gift items – perfume, ties, sweaters, jewelry, wallets, cookware, small kitchen appliances and tools.
  • Champagne.  Buy early in the month on sale or gift with purchase.

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