(BPT) – Bargain hunting is practically a sport, especially during the holiday shopping season. Deloitte‘s 2014 annual holiday survey predicts the average American will drop nearly $1,300 this holiday season. With that level of spending in mind, planning to save real money elsewhere is crucial to managing a household’s bottom line.
Promotions such as standard Black Friday deals or free holiday shipping are nice but often don’t add up very quickly.
Huge value can be found on big-ticket items since their need can be anticipated months ahead. Purchasing them seasonally or via year-end clearance sales can provide savvy consumers with hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings.
Here are a few examples of products that fall into each category:
* Cars. With the next year’s models already on lots for a number of months, dealers are anxious to move cars from the previous year. Moreover, December is their last chance to improve year-end sales numbers – whether at the dealer or individual salesperson level.
* Flooring. The end of the year is a great time to buy new hardwood flooring. Suppliers and mills often assess their inventory at this time and clear out product lines before the end of the year. Stores such as Lumber Liquidators purchase these products at discounted rates and pass the options and savings directly to consumers, resulting in a great deal that can also increase the value of a home.
* Gas grills and air conditioners. Stores may offer deep discounts on off-season products such as air conditioners and gas grills. This rule of thumb is particularly valuable for people who live in cold weather climates, where summer goods become especially obsolete during the long winter months.
* Furniture. The holiday season brings sales and promotions at many furniture stores on living and dining room items as people are preparing for holiday entertaining. In addition, outdoor furniture is generally at its best price due to it being out of season.
* Boats. Boat dealers are often trying to move inventory during the winter season, which gives the buyer an upper hand in negotiating prices. The off-season is also a popular time for boat shows, where dealers often offer their best prices of the year.
No matter a consumer’s methodology, a little planning goes a long way in finding bargains. There are very helpful websites – such as www.dealnews.com – that do a great job staying on top of deals both large and small. Online forums and traditional word of mouth can also assist in the hunt.