The changing seasons mean one thing to bargain hunters like me – big discounts. The trick to get the best deal is to move fast on these eight products and services before they are snapped up or gutted to make room for full-priced summer merchandise that carries a higher profit margin. You can often negotiate an even better deal on marked down merchandise if you do a little homework and use the right body language.
A relatively warm winter means a glut of snow blowers are on the market. Compare base prices so you know what to expect, then aim to get an additional 25 percent off. If need be, walk away from the store and return a week later.
Workers get busy with rising temps, so book them now to fix that fence, paint the deck, or redo the walkway. Get at least three quotes – in writing! – and lean towards whomever comes with a personal recommendation.
Make an appointment before estheticians get busy with the beach crowd. Ask about discounts for mid-week slots and paying in cash.
The flipside to deals borne out of ebbing demand, like snow blowers and heaters, is bargains from abundant supply. In season fruits and veggies, like asparagus, snow peas, and lettuce, will be cheaper than out of season edibles. If you can’t recall what is in season when, shop by price.
Coats, sweaters, scarves
When I see bikinis in the window of Old Navy, I know it’s time to buy clothes for next winter. Make a bee line for clearance, inevitably buried in the back of the store, and ravage the racks. Expect outerwear and winter accessories to be half off or more.
With Thanksgiving and the Super Bowl in the rear view mirror, many clerks are eager to move TVs off the floor and into your home. Have a clear, but flexible, idea of what you want so you have room to negotiate. Bring pricing info in writing from rival stores for additional ammo.
Like snow blowers, retailers won’t see demand for any kind of heating device for months (outside of your potential business), which means they are eager to sell it before it gets shipped out to make room for summer merchandise.
Before summer rates sink in, make early plans for warm weather travel. Hotels may have more flexibility on pricing than flights, so check around. As rooms book up, rates rise. Package deals often offer great perks, like meal or spa credits.
If an end of season item is not marked as discounted, ask a sales person or their manager if they can work out a sale for you. Haggling is easier than you think.
Julia Scott blogs at the money saving site BargainBabe.com.