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Splurge at the right time to save big

Economics 101 taught us the laws of supply and demand: Buy when there's no demand, and sell when there's a lot of it. But we don't always apply this logic to our spending habits. Retail patterns don't change over the years, and timing your purchases — on various things such as furniture, electronics and clothes — means saving money. When it comes to sales, you should never buy the things you don't need. But if you're planning ahead, summer's a great time to get necessities and splurge on select items, including electronics and furniture. FreeShipping.org's Best Time to Buy Guide and Consumer Reports weigh in on what you should buy now:

Avoid holiday rush

Jewelry: Because the retail calendar is often scheduled around holidays, you should never buy jewelry in February or December. No romantic holidays fall in July or August, so retailers slash prices on baubles. Buy now to prepare for those potentially expensive holidays.

Champagne and sparkling wine: With New Year's long gone and graduations mostly over, July is the best month to stock up on bubbly.

Gym memberships: Mother Nature is a sauna and public pools are open, so gyms aren't signing up a lot of members. The worst month to buy a gym membership is January, when New Year's resolutions bring in a new crop of gym-goers. Prices are cheaper during summer, so seek out gyms offering seasonal deals.

Offseason

Paint: When spring approaches, people flock to home-improvement stores, meaning that, by summer, serious repairs and upkeep have probably been done. Demand for paint decreases in the summer — who wants to paint outside in this heat? — so if you're thinking about trying a new color, buy it now.

Broadway tickets: Have a show you're dying to see on Broadway? Now's the time to take the bus up to New York on a weekday. Because theater buffs tend to see shows during the fall, at the beginning of a show's run, there are empty seats for summer tourists. Visit the Theatre Development Fund's discount tickets booths the day of, or download its handy app.

Maintenance: Lawn mowers and air conditioners are typically bought in spring, so Consumer Reports says that you should buy in August.

End of season

Computers: Before the holiday rush in November and December, retailers try to sell off old models before new ones hit stores. Also, Consumer Reports recommends buying desktop computers and laptops before the back-to-school rush.

Swing sets: When the kids head back to the classroom, it's the perfect time to get a deal on big-ticket toys for the back yard. Retailers mark down swing sets and other large items to make room for wrappable holiday gifts, so buy big outdoor toys in August.

Furniture: Like clothing, furniture follows a strict retail schedule and arrives the same months each year: February and August. For stores to make room, furniture is deeply discounted in January and July. Consumer Reports says July is the best month for indoor and outdoor furniture, so head out now to find deep discounts.

The bottom line

There's a good time to buy everything, and that's when demand is low. If you've been waiting and saving to buy furniture, gym memberships and, yes, even paint, now's the time to buy — when everyone else is on vacation.

Splurge at the right time to save big 07/28/12 [Last modified: Saturday, July 28, 2012 5:33am]

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