Unless you’ve been living in a media blackout, you’ve heard or seen an advertisement for a store’s “White Sale” during the last two weeks. The white sale is an annual promotion stores use to draw customers in for deals on bed linens.
The January white sale tradition began this month back in 1878 when Philadelphia department store owner John Wanamaker discounted all the white bed sheets in his store. Back then white was the only color bed linens came in. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that color and print sheets hit store shelves.
The marketing strategy John used was so successful that retailers still follow his lead today. Although retailers now-a-days include not only bed sheets in every shade and pattern, but also comforters, blankets, pillows, towels and bathroom accessories.
If you aren’t in the market for new sheets or bath towels don’t worry, there are a lot of other things that are discounted this month. A lot of shoppers have this false notion that January isn’t a good month to find deals because retailers put their entire inventory on sale in November and December. This is so not true.
While you’re at the department store looking at bed linens, stop on over to where they keep the winter jackets. You’ll find great deals on all cold weather clothing this month and next. The earlier you shop the more selection you’ll find, but the longer you wait the bigger the discount will be. My advice is to shop the last week of January when the selection is still decent and the deals get steep.
If you’re looking to redecorate your home then you’re in luck this month. January is the best time to find deals on furniture, paint, carpet and area rugs. Buyers can expect to find the lowest prices of the year on furniture this month because retailers are trying to make room for new models, which arrive in February (second best month is July because new models also arrive in August). Stores will mark down the previous year’s models when in fact there is nothing wrong with them. The next year’s models are usually the same frame with different pattern and color schemes so don’t let pushy sales associates push you into waiting for the 2013 models.
Spruce up your home with a fresh coat of paint too. January is a great time to buy paint because it’s cheap. Home improvement and paint stores know not to many people redecorate their homes this month so they try to drum up business by holding sales. Take advantage and reap the savings.
For the same reason you can get a good deal on new carpet and area rugs right now. Very few people replace their floors in January. If they are going to do it, they do it in the fall leading up to the holidays when homeowners throw parties and invite people over more often. Because business is slow right now you’ll most likely also be able to negotiate lower prices on installation and up-graded materials. Expect to get 20-50 percent off regular prices for the next few weeks.
This is also a slow time for contractors. They tend to have few jobs after the holidays. You’ll be able to get a break on prices and have the pick of the litter. Just don’t wait too long to start that home improvement project, contractors get busy again as spring rolls around. Your low price window is very short here.
Video games are also on sale right now. These items make hot holiday gifts so manufacturers release tons of new games in November and December and retailers keep the prices high because they are so in demand. As soon as the holidays are over the demand drops and prices get cut. If little Johnny or Janie has a birthday in the next few months, now would be a good time to pick up a video game at a discounted price.
Really any industry that is slow right now is offering deals on their wares to drum up business. These stores need cash flow to stay afloat until their peak hits. What are the slow moving industries right now? Anything that you wouldn’t use in winter. Look for deals on summer clothing including swimsuits, shade hats, and sandals. Sunscreen should also be on sale right now too.
The dead of winter is also a slow time for stores that sell air conditioners and grills. Who would use them right now? That’s why you’ll find sales stickers all over those suckers. You can get as much as 50 percent off the price of an air conditioner right now than if you wait till August to buy the same model.
Same with bicycles. Most of the country is covered in snow right now so riding a bicycle would be pretty difficult. Bike shops are hurting bad for cash right now so even if there isn’t a sale sticker on the model you want you can probably negotiate yourself a pretty sweet deal.
The snow and ice make it pretty difficult to ride motorcycles right now too. So if you’re thinking about getting a new one once the weather warms up don’t wait. Buy one now while the deals are good and wait to ride once the snow melts.
There are some reasons to buy things when they are considered “in season.” Fruits and vegetables get cheaper when they’re in season because they’re more plentiful. It’s also when they taste the best; they’ve just been picked so their natural flavors are at their peak. Right now you should load up your grocery cart with citrus fruits. Tangerines, grapefruits and oranges are plentiful right now. So are cranberries and blueberries. As far as vegetables go cabbage, cauliflower and rhubarb are in season right now. For some of these fruits and veggies you’ll see prices dip to about half of what they’ll cost in the off season. But because grocery stores don’t like to cut prices most likely they’ll be offering you larger quantities at the same price.
Not everything is on sale right now. Don’t expect to find deals on snow blowers and shovels. Or exercise equipment for that matter. You’ve got to know what and where to look in order to find good bargains. Make sure you read my letter every Wednesday to find out more ways to save money and where to find the lowest prices. See you next week!
Keeping Money in Your Pocket,