As warm weather moves in and the school year winds down, May is the time to prepare for summer celebrations. Stock up for graduation parties and Memorial Day barbecues with deals on household goods and entertaining essentials, among other bargains (and know what to buy or not to buy this month -- or any time of year).
Cookware and small kitchen appliances are promoted heavily in May as retailers target college graduation and wedding season. Wrap up a set of pots and pans for a grad's first apartment, or shower newlyweds with kitchenware that will last for years. For more discounts, keep an eye out for Mother's Day promotions -- kitchen gadgets make welcome and practical gifts for mom.
New models of many large appliances are rolled out in the fall, but manufacturers typically introduce refrigerators for summer. That means spring is the prime time to buy an old model for a cool price.
This month, party supply stores gear up for summer, when graduation parties, wedding events, and pool parties abound. Stock up for the next shindig, whether it's a luau or a bridal shower.
For anyone who enjoys hosting backyard cookouts, May is the time to buy everything from charcoal and grilling tools to paper plates, condiments, napkins, plasticware, and the like. Retailers see Memorial Day as the start of grilling season and offer coupons on these items throughout the month of May. Even with no celebrations on the calendar, fill the larder now for the rest of the season's picnics, barbecues, and dinner parties.
SKIP: GRILLS AND PATIO FURNITURE
Although May is a good time to pick up grilling supplies, the best time to buy a grill is after July Fourth, when retailers begin to look toward fall and start discounting this backyard staple. The same rule applies to patio furniture. Consumers are better off waiting until summer begins winding down to snag bargains on these items.
May is the best time to sack an old, saggy, or lumpy mattress. Take advantage of mattress deals this month as retailers try to clear inventory ahead of receiving new stock. Mattresses are also deeply discounted for Memorial Day, so check the offerings during those sale events.
With spring on its way out and summer easing in, retailers are antsy to clear out spring apparel and display new summer duds. May is the best month to scoop up spring clothes for cheap. Wait until mid-month, when sales begin and prices continue to drop through Memorial Day.
With Mother's Day on May 13, jewelry stores attract plenty of customers without offering promotions. A necklace or earrings might have been nice for mom, but it's time for plan B -- such as the kitchenware that's deeply discounted this month.
"Star Wars" fans have claimed May the Fourth to celebrate the movie franchise, punning on the immortal line "May the Force be with you." Star Wars Day sees discounts on apparel, collectibles, video games, the movie series, and other merchandise.
May is a good month for furnishing or updating a home office. Sales and coupons for these items start to pop up after tax time and continue through back-to-school season.
With school letting out, now is not the time to buy a laptop. Waiting only a month, until late June, is likely to save a bundle. That's when retailers including the Apple Store usually start running back-to-school sales, and laptops are included in the discounts.
Spring cleaning yields lots of inventory for the local thrift shop. Sales abound as secondhand stores hustle to move merchandise. It's a win-win: Sell your old stuff and replace it with new (to you) thrift store finds.
PRODUCE IN SEASON
For a Memorial Day barbecue, stock up on the foods in season in May. Vegetables at their peak (depending on location) include asparagus, spring onions, peas, and rhubarb. Summer vegetables such as okra and zucchini also begin to appear. Fruits in season include cherries, apricots, early blueberries, and strawberries.
May is National Hamburger month -- and the prime time to scoop up ground meat at a discount. Freeze what you won’t use now for the upcoming summer cookouts.
Like grilling provisions, picnic supplies also see discounts in May, with picnic season soon to begin. Look for deals on paper products, condiments, as well as picnic blankets, baskets and picnic sets.