1. Take advantage of in-season produce at pick-your-own farms for homemade gifts.
Even if you’re not a gardener, you can take advantage of pick-your-own farms to make inexpensive homemade jams, jellies, and salsas for great DIY gifts. Ball Canning has great “how-to” canning guides and recipes. If you need canning supplies, sign up for their newsletter to get 15% off your first order.
2. Stock up on notebooks, pens, and paper for the budding artist or writer during back-to-school season.
Retailers begin promoting “loss leader” deals like cheap notebooks, lined paper, colored pencils, pens, erasers, and more starting in July during back-to-school sales — which are perfect for stocking up for the artist or journalist. These same items also go on sale post-September when retailers are trying to get rid of leftover stock.
3. Find Christmas trees up to 50% off during the summer months.
No one is looking for Christmas trees in the summer, so take advantage of the mega sales online tree manufacturers are offering through “Christmas in July” sales so they can make room for their new stock and styles.
4. Dress up your holiday table with wedding season deals on dishes.
Summer’s wedding season is the perfect time to buy new dishes and platters for your holiday buffet tables. While you might not get a cool seasonal winter print, classic white dishes are easy to dress up with colored chargers to match your décor.
5. Save 1/3 off computers when you buy July through September.
If you want to purchase a computer as a Christmas gift, Digital Trends reports that end-of-the-year models will give you significant savings July through September as back-to-school sales begin to ramp up and new hardware is released. If you can wait a little longer, Black Friday deals will save you 40% or more.
6. Get some budget jewelry bling during no-holiday months.
Jewelry is at its highest during “gifting months” like February and December. Watch for super savings in April that target refund spenders and also in July and August where there’s a lull in sales due to no holidays.
7. Find savings on linen in August.
Even if you’re not college bound, you can take advantage of linen sales. Treat someone special on your list to beautiful (and comfy) new 600-thread-count sheets when linens typically go on sale in August.
8. Get denim 30-60% cheaper in the summer and right after school starts.
During the warm summer and after the back-to-school sales are over, retailers are often left with large amounts of clothing, including jeans, that they want to move out. Nab some jeans for the cooler weather now while the substantial savings are hot.
9. Save hundreds on holiday travel by taking a train instead of a plane.
Holiday flying gets expensive and even more so the closer Christmas approaches, so book your flights now. When you don’t book months in advance, airline seat prices soar. However, if you’re in a serviceable area, consider Amtrak as a thrifty alternative. A dramatic example from USA Today showed a train was $435 less expensive between Boston and New York and $378 less between New York and Washington.
10. Find huge end-of-summer savings on bikes in September.
Put a twinkle in your child’s eyes with a bicycle under the tree! September is the perfect time to grab end-of-year models on bicycles as the summer season is winding down.
11. Snap into savings twice a year on digital cameras.
New digital cameras are announced twice a year in February/March and again in September. If you don’t care about all the newest bells and whistles, look for steals and deals on older models in the few weeks before these new releases come out.
12. Snag a new lawn mower for Dad in September.
Home improvement stores start clearing out end-of-summer products, and September is the prime time to get Dad that lawn mower he’s had his eye on all summer long.
13. Upgrade your gaming technology in September.
Thrill any gamer at Christmas by grabbing some new hardware. AMD and Intel release their new processors in September, which means you can snag some awesome deals on retailers’ older inventory.
14. Find markdowns on grills and smokers in September when stores make room for winter stock.
Along with the lawnmowers and other outdoor deals, home improvement stores begin to mark down their grills and smokers in September to make room for winter stock.
15. Buy wine in the fall when most vineyards release their latest vintages.
According to Forbes, harvest time in the fall is the best opportunity to net some great prices on bottles of wine as most vineyards release their latest vintages.
16. Transform out-of-season candy into holiday treats.
Start buying up cheaply discounted leftover candy after Halloween to decorate your gingerbread houses. Jolly Ranchers can be melted into “stained glass” windows, and lollipops make great trees. Chop up bits of candy and re-melt into those “bark” type treats.
17. Get toys up to 37% off by waiting until early December.
If budget shoppers avoid the tempting deals offered at Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Deal News reports that LEGO, play sets, and other toys that aren’t considered the “hottest of the season” can fall to 37% lower pricing the first two weeks in December.
18. Shop for sparkling wine early in December.
Fierce competition between champagne companies in December keeps your glass filled at the lowest prices of the season. If you’re after a specific brand name, shop early December before the last-minute rush begins for Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.