Car Shopping

Photo: Thinkstock

Car Smarts: Wait for Fall
October and November are ideal months to get a great deal on current model year vehicles, says Michael Waterman, executive editor of Next year's models are already in stores, and dealers are anxious to move the older—but still new—cars off their lots. Manufacturers will often help with bigger incentives, cash-back programs and low interest rates.

Another way to secure a great deal on a new car is to know when a particular model is being replaced by an updated version. For instance, in 2011, Ford replaced the old Explorer with a completely redesigned crossover, and Honda updated the popular Civic with a new model. "Smart buyers realize these new-model updates often translate to deep discounts on the current models," says Waterman.

You also have a better chance of getting deals toward the end of the month. "Dealers might be a car or two short of a monthly sales quota that will give them a big bonus from the manufacturer," says Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor at "That's why they'll discount the car to you—whatever they lose on the deal, they'll make up in their bonus."

Photo: Thinkstock

Gadgets: High Tech for Low Prices
Have your eye on a new digital camera or MP3 player? Ask the store manager when a newer model will be released (often October and November). Beforehand, companies tend to slash prices on the older models, or bundle the item with extras, like a free printer. Here's why: Stores close out "old" inventory just before getting the newest gadgets in time for Christmas, according to Kaplan.

Photo: Thinkstock

Make Home Renovations at the Beginning of the Year
Michael Kaplan, author of The Best Time to Do Everything, says January is the slowest month for contractors - and when they tend to be the most negotiable on fees.

Photo: Thinkstock

Fresh Flowers: Avoid the Holiday Rush
Sending a floral bouquet for Valentines Day, Mother's Day or another holiday? Order at least a week beforehand, and have it delivered two or three days early to avoid the holiday markup—typically 10 to 20 percent. During non-holiday weeks, shop on Tuesdays, often the slowest sales day of the week. Also be sure to ask the florist to make a bouquet using whatever flowers are in season. As with produce, you’ll get the best deal on what’s growing now and it will also be the best quality.

Photo: Thinkstock

When to Buy Jewelry: April, July and August
Why? Jewelers will negotiate in April (after tax time), and in July and August (because there are no gift-giving holidays in those months).

Photo: Thinkstock

The Best Time to Buy Groceries and Produce
Taylor Hough shares her best-buy calendar, which she first compiled for Frugal Living for Dummies. Hint: Go with what's in season.

January: turkey, apples, grapefruit, oranges, and pears

February: candy and chocolates (after Valentine's Day)

March: frozen food

April: broccoli, cauliflower and eggs

May: soda, hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, asparagus, and pineapples

June: dairy products and tomatoes

July: berries, corn, cherries, squash, watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, plums, peaches, and nectarines

August: squash, green peppers, lettuce, berries, apples, peaches, apricots, and fresh fish

September: apples, broccoli, cauliflower, and canned goods

October: pumpkins, cranberries, grapes, oranges, sweet potatoes, and yams

November: turkey, sweet potatoes, yams, and post-Halloween candy

December: oranges, apples, and grapefruit

Photo: Thinkstock

The Two Key Times of Year to Buy Furniture
The best time to buy furniture is typically January or July, says Jaclyn Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishing Alliance. Since new furniture styles hit the showroom floor twice a year (in February and August), stores will slash prices on older merchandise in order to make room for new arrivals.

Photo: Thinkstock

Gym Memberships: Snag Back-To-School Bargains
We all know about the January deals, but September, when kids go back to school and parents are free to work out, is also a good time to get a discount. Live in a college town? Gyms will often slash fees during the summer, while gyms in resort towns do so during the off-season. Pay for an entire year up front, and many clubs will tack on a few extra months for free.

Photo: Thinkstock

And the Best Time of Week to Get a Haircut or Manicure Is...
Many salons advertise discounts (up to 50%) for early-week appointments; nail salons in some neighborhoods also cut prices on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.