31 Days to a Better Budget
Each day of the series offers new tips, ideas and a challenge to start the year with a solid financial plan.
Stretching our budget means planning ahead. Further ahead than this week’s grocery list. Even further ahead than our next oil change. We plan seasons ahead. Sometimes an entire year.
Wait. What? Why? How?
If you’ve ever saved on holiday decorations, dug through Christmas clearance the day after the holiday, or bought a case of Cadbury Eggs the Monday after Easter, you’ve been off-season shopping!
Shopping off-season (or when there is more supply than demand) means we can expect to find deep discounts on seasonal or holiday items we know we’re going to need, saving our budget from taking a full-price hit in the future. Shopping off-season is a great way to replace necessities or make a big purchase without the big price tag.
When most people think of off-season shopping, they think of clothing. Sure, January is the best time to buy winter coats & boots, and September is the best time to buy bathing suits & beach wear, but you can get so much more by shopping off-season!
Shop in the fall for: air conditioners, fans, grills, patio furniture, golf clubs and bicycles.
Shop in the spring for: heaters, generators, refrigerators and vacuums, skis and sleds.
If you’ve a savvy shopper, you know the best (and worst) Costco deals, but did you know that off-season merchandise is regulated to the side aisles, usually nearest the entrance? These are overstock items that Costco buys on the cheap and passes the savings down to it’s members. (Tip: If the price of an item at Costco ends in 7 and/or you see an asterisk next to the product name, that’s a clearance item and is at the lowest price it will be sold.)
Here are my golden rules for shopping off-season:
- Avoid trends. Think about longevity, usefulness, and necessities.
- For adults, buy what fits now. For kid’s clothing, bigger is better. Cuffs can be rolled and clothing can be tailored to fit and you’ll still be money ahead, but clothing that’s too small takes up valuable storage space and eventually ends up in the donation pile.
- Don’t forget resale. Consignment shopping is a great resources year-round, but when seasons change, people get the cleaning bug. Check out your local resale shops for last season’s hottest trends that may still be fashionable and functional.
- Be flexible. Have your heart set on a purple patio umbrella but find a yellow one for 75% off? Decide if slight variations are worth the up-charge.
If you’re interested in learning more about off-season shopping, Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon is a great read with tips on when to buy to get the most bang for your buck.
What’s been your biggest off-season find?
I’m not a financial planner or a budget expert. I’ll just be walking you through the steps I take each time my budget needs an adjustment. In fact, I’ll be participating myself!
[…] after the start of the New Year, when those things tend to go on sale. The trick to get the most bang for your buck is to stock up on the items that will last and still be in fashion the following year. Wrapping […]