From fuel and groceries to cars and even real estate, did you know you can get a better deal by shopping on a particular day of the week or at certain times of the year?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying groceries, shopping for a new outfit, filling your car up or buying a brand-new set of wheels – everyone loves a good bargain. But did you know that you can enjoy big savings by simply shopping at certain times?
Large retailers all have similar rule books when it comes to sales, specials and discounted prices, so you can often snag yourself a great bargain by knowing when to shop. Let’s take a look at the best time to buy a range of common products.
- When is the cheapest time to buy groceries?
- When is the cheapest time to buy petrol?
- When is the cheapest time to buy clothes and shoes?
- When is the cheapest time to buy appliances and whitegoods?
- When is the cheapest time to buy furniture?
- When is the cheapest time to eat out?
- When is the cheapest time to go to the movies?
- When is the cheapest time to buy jewellery?
- When is the cheapest time to buy a mobile phone?
- When is the cheapest time to buy Easter eggs?
- When is the cheapest time to buy Christmas presents?
- When is the cheapest time to buy a car?
- When is the cheapest time to buy flights and holidays?
- When is the cheapest time to buy a house?
The important thing to remember when shopping for groceries is that many of the items in your local supermarket have a limited shelf life. Fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods, deli items and many other products can all quickly go past their use-by date. These items are also usually re-stocked at the end of the day. So if you shop late at night, especially on a Sunday after the busier weekend shopping times, you’ll increase your chances of buying groceries at reduced prices.
It’s widely known that petrol prices follow a weekly cycle. As consumers do more driving on the weekends, they are more likely to fill up their cars on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This means prices are at their peak on those days. When demand is lower – from Monday through to Thursday – petrol prices are also lower.
Tuesday is generally considered to be the cheapest day of the week, but compare prices at your local service stations to find the best deal. It’s also worth remembering that fuel discount dockets from Coles and Woolworths can help you shave an extra four cents per litre off the cost of petrol.
Department stores and clothing retailers usually stock their shelves with new-release items and specials on a Thursday, in preparation for late-night shopping and the weekend rush. With this in mind, hitting your favourite shops on a Thursday or Friday night will give you the best chance of snapping up a special before they’re taken by the weekend crowds.
Speaking more generally, you can also save money on clothing by planning ahead. For example, while the weather may be hot and sunny from January through to March, you should be able to find a winter coat much cheaper at this time than if you buy in May or June. Conversely, looking for a swimsuit in August will be better for your bank balance than buying at the start of summer. You can also find great deals at the end of the season and for a few weeks afterwards as stores try to get rid of their out-of-season stock to make way for new items.
Refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers and other appliances are all big-ticket items people purchase from major retailers. These stores, such as Harvey Norman, Bing Lee, The Good Guys and Domayne, get the most customers (and make the vast majority of their sales) on weekends. This means you can usually find the best prices on appliances and whitegoods over the weekend, particularly on Sundays.
The majority of furniture companies release new products twice each year, in February and August. So if you’re moving house and you’re in need of new furniture items, you should find plenty of enticing deals at these times as retailers look to clear space for new stock arrivals. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for the huge discounts that often come with spring and autumn sales.
Popular restaurants don’t need any help filling tables on Friday and Saturday nights, but Mondays and Tuesdays are a different kettle of fish. Discounts off the total bill and even buy one get one free deals are available, while you can also take advantage of “early bird” discounts if you don’t mind dining a little earlier than usual. Many venues also have mid-week specials, such as steak or parma nights that combine meals with a drink at bargain prices.
Just like restaurants, cinemas are a popular place to go on the weekend but can be veritable ghost towns in the middle of the week. You can regularly find hugely discounted tickets for midday screenings and night sessions on weekdays, with Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings your best bet.
The most important thing to remember when looking for jewellery bargains is to avoid the peak periods for jewellery shoppers – Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. In all other periods, you generally have a bit of room to negotiate and can also keep an eye out for sales and discounts.
You can shop around for a competitive phone plan whenever you want, with good deals typically available all year round. But the best time of year to shop for a new phone would have to be in the lead-up to Christmas, as retailers all look to increase their share of the consumer Christmas dollar. If you don’t want the latest bells and whistles, you can also snap up a bargain by getting an older model phone just after the new version is released.
Easter is a holiday that very few people plan for, and it’s not uncommon to find yourself stocking up on chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies at the last minute. Unfortunately, demand and therefore prices are at their highest point in the week leading up to Easter.
The best way to save money is to do your Easter shopping for next year straight after the Easter long weekend. You’ll be able to find huge discounts as retailers look to offload all their surplus Easter stock.
You can find good bargains on just about everything in the pre-Christmas sales, from clothes and shoes to kids’ toys, electronics and even alcohol – as long as you’re willing to shop around. However, remember that the things you can buy before Christmas will most likely be heavily discounted for the Boxing Day Sales – so if you don’t need to buy a certain item before December 25, wait for Boxing Day and see if you can find a better deal.
In May and June every year, we’re bombarded with a seemingly never-ending stream of ads from car manufacturers promoting end-of-financial-year (EOFY) sales. The Australian car market is incredibly competitive at the moment and manufacturers all want to finish the financial year with a bang and create space on showroom floors for new models. This means June is the best time to find a good deal when buying a new car.
Flight and holiday package websites usually put up new deals and offers late at night, most often on weeknights. Browsing booking websites after 9pm on a weekday could make you one of the first to discover these cheap deals. You can also save money by booking a flight in an unpopular timeslot – 5am departure on a Monday, anyone? – or booking a ticket that only allows carry-on luggage.
Generally speaking, you can also save plenty of money by travelling out of peak times. For example, Europe in winter is a whole lot cheaper than Europe in spring, and you could easily save hundreds off the cost of your holiday.
However, it’s also worth pointing out that peak times are popular for a reason – there’s often events, sights and experiences that are only available at certain times of the year. So if you do want to travel during peak period, getting in as far in advance as possible could result in early bird discounts.
A house is usually the most expensive purchase you will ever make, so even a small discount could mean a saving of thousands of dollars. Spring is traditionally the most popular time of year for buyers, with plenty of competition driving prices up.
Winter is typically a much quieter time on the real estate market, and is the best period to try and negotiate a good deal. Also remember that the longer a property is on the market, the more flexible the vendor may be when it comes to accepting lower offers.