With the summer heat blazing, you’re probably thinking about nothing but backyard BBQs and staying cool in the pool. The last thing on your mind may be the chill of winter, but if you’re looking to stretch your money, you should be thinking about winter and the holidays right now to find the best bargains.
One of my favorite ways to save money is to do the opposite of what others are doing. Right now, if people are buying items, they’re looking at summer sports gear, summer clothes, summer vacations. . .
On the other hand, I’m looking for winter items.
How Much Can You Save By Shopping Ahead?
Every year I like to dress my kids up, have their pictures taken at a photography studio, and create Christmas cards from the photos. When our youngest was a baby, I didn’t have time to plan ahead, so I paid for their holiday outfits in November. And I paid a lot. Now, I shop early, really early. Like in July.
For this year’s upcoming photo, I found my youngest daughter’s dress at a garage sale for $3. I bought my older daughter’s dress on eBay for $4. See, no one is looking for Christmas dresses right now, so I can swoop in and pay the lowest price possible.
If you want to stretch your dollars, take advantage of buying in the off season. I just found a 9 foot, prelit Christmas tree for $15 on Craigslist. The tree is still in the box. I don’t need one, but if I did, it would be a great deal.
Some other bargains you might want to look for right now–winter gear like coats and boots, holiday items and decorations, winter sports’ equipment, and indoor exercise equipment like a treadmill if you’re in the market for one.
Keep Track So You Don’t Overbuy
One problem you might have with buying ahead is that you forget what you’ve already bought since you aren’t using it right now. I remedy this by keeping a list for all of my kids. I have categories like “jeans”, “long sleeve shirts”, etc. When I buy my son a pair of jeans, I might put “blue carpenter jeans.” Then, if I buy another pair, it goes on the list. Before I go out to garage sales or shop on Craigslist, I review the list. Even if I find jeans for my son for $1 each, it’s not a good deal if he has 3 more pairs than he needs.
Make a List of What You Need
Another strategy is to make a list of what you need. I like to can some of our jams, syrups and fruits. I could use more canning jars, but I don’t want to buy them now because they’re in season. Instead, I put it on my wish list. Then, in December when no one is thinking about canning, I’ll start hunting for discounted jars.
Buying off season does take some planning, but it can save you a substantial amount of money. Even better, if you’re organized, you’ll also avoid wasting money by buying more than you need.