Tuesday 6 December 2016

The best times of the year to get a bargain

Buy that engagement ring in March and your telly in July to save a small fortune, writes

Published 24/07/2016 | 02:30

The best time to buy a new TV is in July, as most people will be out in the evenings rather than staying in and watching telly, according to Marbles.com. Retailers are therefore likely to cut the price of tellies in a bid to entice buyers
The best time to buy a new TV is in July, as most people will be out in the evenings rather than staying in and watching telly, according to Marbles.com. Retailers are therefore likely to cut the price of tellies in a bid to entice buyers

The summer sales are in full swing - and while this month is usually a good time to pick up cheap tellies and half-price bikinis, you could save hundreds, or even thousands, by leaving your bargain-hunting on big-ticket items until another time. The goods that are heavily discounted by retailers vary throughout the year - so timing your purchases well can save you money. Here's our month-by-month guide to the best time of the year to buy.

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January: double beds and toys

It is in the furniture and toy departments that you'll get the deepest discounts in the January sales, according to research by the British credit card company, Marbles.com. It found that you could get a double bed for half price by waiting until January to buy it - or save up to 30pc on a leather sofa or chest of drawers.

The reason, according to the company, is that not many people move house in January, so demand for furniture is typically low. January may also be the perfect time to get a Nintendo Wii - or children's bikes for upcoming birthdays. You could secure a discount of up to 63pc on a Nintendo Wii that month - and save more than 40pc on a kid's bike, according to Marbles.com.

February: summer holidays

"Before the end of February is a good time to book your summer holiday, as this is when you can get early-booking discounts, meal-plan upgrades, and reduced kids' prices," says Tanya Airey, managing director of tour operator Sunway.

This is particularly the case if you have your heart set on a destination and can't be flexible with dates.

The month you choose to travel will also have a big bearing on the cost of your holiday. It will usually be cheaper to holiday in Europe in May or June instead of July and August, for example.

"The key to picking your best time to travel is to watch what is happening with school holidays and other events," says Eoghan Corry, editor of travel publication Travel Extra.

"The main market for outbound tourism is Germany, followed by other big-population countries in Europe.

"The Irish have an advantage, in that June is a secondary school holiday month and so in many destinations - including the French camp-site market for instance - we are picking up family holidays for €1,000 cheaper than other countries because we have flexibility to holiday in June."

March: diamond rings

No matter how eager you are to pop the question, hold off buying that expensive diamond ring until March - as you could knock more than a fifth off the price by buying it that month, according to Marbles.com.

"Jewellery is probably the least discounted category but in March, you may be able to get a discount because of post-Valentine's stock," says David Fitzsimons, chief executive of Retail Excellence Ireland (REI).

March can also be a good time to pick up cheap boxes of chocolates because of the surplus stock left over after Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.

April: vacuum cleaners

April is typically the month when many people embark on their spring cleaning, so the end of April can be a good time to pick up deals on cleaning equipment and materials. New vacuum cleaners are often launched between April and June, so if you're happy to settle with last year's model, April can be a good time to get a discount on a hoover.

DIY goods are often reduced in April too - as stores compete with each other to attract DIY enthusiasts at this time of year.

May: avoid

Discounts are usually few and far between in May. "May is a bad time to get deals," says David Fitzsimons. "The weather usually changes around then, so we're all looking at our wardrobes and getting active around the home and garden.

"May is the busiest month(after) January when it comes to people getting stuff done - so any retailer in their right mind won't discount in May."

June: laptops

Some summer sales start in June - and it is laptops which are amongst the most heavily discounted items that month, according to Marbles.com. You could save up to 50pc on your laptop by buying in June, the company found.

July: TVs and bikinis

The best time to buy a new TV is in July, as most people will be out in the evenings rather than staying in and watching telly, according to Marbles.com. Retailers are therefore likely to cut the price of tellies in a bid to entice buyers.

Now is also the time to pick up your cheap bikinis and Bermuda shorts for summer 2017 - because most of this and other summer gear will be heavily discounted in July. The worse the Irish summer weather has been, the better the beachwear discounts.

August: property

Should you have your eye on a property that has been sitting on the market - or which was put on the market over the summer - August could be your best time to buy that property.

There are typically less buyers around that month, so the price of the house is less likely to be driven up by rival bidders, though this will very much depend on the property, location and whether it's a buyer's or seller's market.

"Buying over the summer can be good, as a lot of people are away on holidays and so you may have less competition," says Keith Lowe, chief executive of Douglas Newman Good. "A lot of people wait until September to sell their home for this reason."

The downside of buying in August is that the choice of properties up for sale is likely to be much smaller than it will be in September or at other peak house-selling times. Estate agents typically say that the best time to buy is when the supply of properties is highest.

This is why it is a good idea to keep your eye out for properties that come to market in late spring and early summer - and which are slow to sell. August could be the best time to make your offer on such a property. Just make sure there are no horrors lurking in the house which are keeping buyers away.

You could find yourself up against a lot of competition if you buy in early summer or November, according to Michael Grehan, managing director of Sherry Fitzgerald.

"A lot of people like to buy in May, June and July, as they want to get themselves sorted before the children go back to school in September," says Grehan.

"November is our fourth-busiest month of the year -in terms of people buying property - because a lot of people want to buy before the end of the year."

September: ovens and coffee makers

You could knock a third off the price of your built-in or microwave oven by buying it in September, while discounts of up to 20pc are up for grabs on coffee machines, according to Marbles.com.

October: 171 cars, barbecues and garden furniture

October is usually the best time to get a good deal on a new car, according to Padraic Deane, managing editor of the online car buyer's guide, motorshow.ie. "October is a good time to buy a new car [to be registered in January], as dealers are anxious to secure pre-sales ahead of the new year," says Deane.

So if you're planning to buy a 171-reg car, order it in October 2016 to get the best deal.

Meanwhile, no matter how good the weather is between now and October, hold off on your plans to buy a new barbecue, lawnmower or garden furniture until then.

"The autumn is a period when we hibernate, so anything to do with the outdoors will be heavily discounted then," says REI's David Fitzsimons.

November: tablets, TVs and laptops

November can be a good time to pick up deals on electronic goods, such as TVs, laptops and tablets, because of the 'Black Friday' promotions that run in many stores.

"The main Black Friday discounts are on electronic goods, household goods and furniture - and the promotions also spread into fashion," says Fitzsimons.

This year, Black Friday falls on November 25. Do your research before buying anything under a Black Friday promotion, however. Just because a deal has been tagged a 'Black Friday' offer doesn't mean it is a good one.

December: perfume and power tools

Pre-Christmas and St Stephen's Day sales are a good opportunity to pick up bargains in perfume, cosmetics and power tools, as these things are packaged as gift sets for the Christmas market, so are usually good value.

For die-hard bargain hunters, the period just after Christmas is the ideal time to buy your Christmas cards and decorations for the following year, as you can usually pick them up for half price.

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