Inflation dominated the discussion in 2022. Will 2023 bring prices back down to reality? It's hard to say, but a new year is a good opportunity to take charge of your personal budget and develop a strategy for buying the things you want.
Create a list of the big buys you plan to make this year and use our guide to time each purchase right, so you can save money.
With a fresh page on the calendar comes a fresh start for sales. These items are discounted in January:
Bedding and linen. Department stores hold bedding and linen “white sales” in January with deep discounts on sheets and towels.
Fitness equipment. Retailers will meet goals to get in shape with decent deals. Expect workout gear and apparel sales to abound at sporting goods stores. (Tip: Tread lightly on a treadmill purchase unless you're sure you’ll use it. It’ll always be cheaper to walk around the block.)
TVs and electronics. Just before the Super Bowl, retailers normally discount TVs and other home theater essentials.
Mark your calendar: Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Jan. 16.
Freebie day: National Spaghetti Day is Jan. 4.
It’s the month of love and gift-giving, but February might be a better time to buy major items for yourself than trinkets for your loved one. Options include:
TVs. Television sales spill over from January into February. Aside from Black Friday, this is one of the prime times to buy a new TV.
Winter items. With winter winding down, retailers will be looking to unload inventory of cold-weather products. Look for sales on apparel and winter sports gear that you'll need later in the year.
Home goods. Expect retailers to put home stuff on sale for Presidents Day and the weekend preceding the holiday.
Leftover chocolate. The savvy couple does Valentine’s Day a week late to save a buck. Grab a heart-shaped box of candy on Feb. 15, when stores will be discounting their Valentine’s Day leftovers. It’ll be easier to get a dinner reservation after Feb. 14 too.
Mark your calendar: The Super Bowl is Feb. 12, Valentine's Day is Feb. 14 and Presidents Day is Feb. 20.
Freebie day: National Frozen Yogurt Day is Feb. 6.
There aren’t any major shopping holidays in March, but that doesn’t make for a total lack of sales. Look for deals on these products:
Tax software. Retailers like to discount tax-prep items in March, ahead of Tax Day in April.
Grills. Buy your summer grilling necessities now to avoid a spike in prices when summer arrives.(Video) How to Choose The Best Cash Back Credit Card | NerdWallet
St. Patrick’s Day essentials. Around St. Patrick’s Day, online retailers and department stores usually discount green clothing, party supplies and jewelry.
Vacuum cleaners: Some retailers will be ready to reward early spring cleaners with a deal on a Dyson, Shark or other brand of vacuum.
Mark your calendar: St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.
Freebie day: Pi Day is March 14, because 3.14 (get it?).
Before you build a budget
NerdWallet breaks down your spending and shows you ways to save.
April has its fair share of spring deals and discounts, including:
Vacuums. April is the real cleaning month and will bring more deals on vacuums. Look for markdowns at department stores as well as on manufacturers’ websites.
Tax-themed items. Year after year, retailers and restaurants try to lighten the burden of Tax Day with discounts and freebies on services like paper shredding. Keep an eye out for these around mid-April.
Beauty products. Time to get outside and look your best. The Sephora spring sale is usually this month.
Sustainable items. To celebrate Earth Day, be on the lookout for retailer deals on sustainable items, such as reusable totes and water bottles, sustainably made clothing and other “green” products. Is this the year you start composting? We support that.
Mark your calendar: Easter Sunday is April 9.
Freebie day: Tax Day is April 18 and Earth Day is April 22.
April discounts give way to more in May. Here’s a look at some items to consider buying this month:
Spring apparel. By May, retailers will discount spring clothing that has already been hanging on racks for a month or two.
Furniture. Three of the biggest blowout shopping days are Black Friday, Labor Day and Memorial Day. Memorial Day is in May, so look for furniture and home decor discounts from big-box stores.
Small kitchen appliances. Use May discounts as an opportunity to buy small kitchen appliances, such as coffee makers and blenders. Typically, these products are included in Memorial Day sales, and they make great gifts for upcoming summer weddings.
Mark your calendar: Mother’s Day is May 14 and Memorial Day is May 29.
Freebie day: National Hamburger Day is May 28.
June is short on days, but long on the list of deals. Smart purchases include:
Lingerie. Stock up on undergarments in June. That’s when Victoria’s Secret, for example, has been known to host its famous semiannual sale. The sale also typically occurs in December.
Other semiannual sales. The midway point is known for sales at lots of stores. In past years, we’ve seen stores like Bath & Body Works and Brooks Brothers hold semiannual sales in June.
Gym memberships. Consider buying a gym membership during the summer, and be sure to negotiate for the best deal. Gyms may be eager for sign-ups when people are more likely to spend time outside.
Tools and other dad gifts. In preparation for Father’s Day, many retailers will offer deals on a variety of power tools and outdoor gear, as well as things like men’s clothing. Solo Stove has discounted its portable fire pits around this time in the past.
Mark your calendar: Father’s Day is June 18.
Freebie day: National Doughnut Day is June 2.
In July, prices drop like it’s hot. Consider buying these:
Summer apparel. The sun is still out, but demand for summer clothes starts to go down. So, buy up shorts, tanks and flip-flops while stores make it worth it. Buy only what’s on sale, though.
July Fourth items. Retailers like a reason to celebrate. In the days leading up to Independence Day, there’s usually an abundance of sales on red, white and blue products, as well as on barbecue and backyard items, sporting goods, jewelry and furniture.
Personal electronics on Prime Day. Amazon’s Prime Day was July 12 and 13 in 2022. It’s basically Black Friday in July and is a hot sale for electronics and gadgets, among other categories. It also drives other retailers to compete with maxed out savings.(Video) Dividends vs Growth Stocks: What's The Better Investment For You? | NerdWallet
School supplies. Kids won't want to think about the end of summer yet, but retailers start putting school supplies on sale in late July. If you have supply lists in hand, shopping back-to-school early can help you avoid the August rush.
Mark your calendar: Independence Day is July 4.
Freebie day: National Ice Cream Day is July 16 and National Lipstick Day is July 29.
Close out summer by buying summer products? That’s right. Look for end-of-season clearance sales in August on:
Back-to-school supplies. The start of school marks the need to buy low-cost items such as notebooks and pencils and more expensive ones like calculators and laptops. Generally, the closer to the start of the school year you buy, the better your chances of getting a good price.
Backyard products. Ride out the end of summer with a big deal on lawn mowers and other seasonal outdoor equipment, like a grill.
Swimsuits. There may not be many swimming days left by the time August rolls around, but that’s exactly why swimsuit clearance sales will crest. Buy swimsuits now for next year.
Tax-free shopping. Back-to-school supplies can get expensive. However, to aid in the purchase of school supplies, clothes, personal computers and other approved necessities, many states offer dates when shoppers can purchase those items without paying sales tax. Not every state offers this opportunity, so check out your state’s Department of Revenue website for details.
Mark your calendar: For many school districts, the first day of school is in August.
Freebie day: National Waffle Day is Aug. 24.
With deals on items as varied as mattresses and pool toys, September is a surprising month for good buys. Score reasonable prices on these:
Mattresses. Year after year, September is the time for mattress sales. Expect deals from department stores and mattress centers, usually as a part of Labor Day promotions.
iPhones. Apple often announces its latest iPhone lineup and other products in September. The unveiling is usually followed by a drop in prices onthe models that have been around awhile. Check out used iPhones too.
Appliances. Expect a series of blowout deals in the week leading up to Labor Day, including promotions on appliances big and small.
Mark your calendar: Labor Day is Sept. 4.
Freebie day: National Cheeseburger Day is Sept. 18.
Retailers won't ghost you in October. There will be plenty of deals on these product categories:
Outdoor furniture. Expect deals on patio furniture and outdoor living products when the weather turns cool.(Video) What Is the S&P and How Do You Invest In It? | NerdWallet
Jeans. Fall inventory arrives in stores in August and September, but you’ll pay top dollar unless you wait a few weeks. October is a great time to buy a new pair of jeans.
Candy. The closer you get to Halloween, the better your chances of snagging a discounted bag of candy for trick-or-treaters.
Amazon and Target held Black Friday-like sales in October 2022, which they could do again in 2023. Stay tuned.
Mark your calendar: Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day are Oct. 9 and Halloween is Oct. 31.
Freebie day: National Taco Day is Oct. 4 and National Dessert Day is Oct. 14.
November is the real month for Black Friday sales, which means some of the most popular technology products fall to their lowest prices. Expect most retailers to offer some kind of deal on products in nearly every category — not just on Black Friday, but throughout the month.
Electronics. Gadgets like TVs, tablets and laptops take center stage during Black Friday sales. Look for discounts on headphones, smart speakers and activity trackers, too.
Clothing. November has to be the busiest month for clothing catalogs. Scan the brands you like for discounts, and shop stores like Gap, Land’s End and American Eagle directly online for surprise coupon codes.
Tools. Home improvement stores tend to discount tools, ladders and toolboxes during Black Friday promotions.
Mark your calendar: Thanksgiving is Nov. 23, Black Friday is Nov. 24 and Cyber Monday is Nov. 27.
Freebie day: National Sandwich Day is Nov. 3.
The end of the year is just the beginning of discounts in some product categories. Look for sale prices on these items in December:
Electronics. Those Black Friday electronics deals from late November will spill over into the new month.
Toys. Toys are popular holiday gifts, and stores generally host big sales on them as the season draws to a close.
Christmas decorations. Beginning the day after Christmas, shop sales for deep discounts — often upward of 50% — on decorations, wrapping paper, ornaments, artificial trees and similar seasonal fixings.
Mark your calendar: Christmas is Dec. 25. Hanukkah starts Dec. 7.
Freebie day: National Cookie Day is Dec. 4.