Before you shell out big bucks for a big-ticket item -- be it a mattress, a flat-screen TV or a new car -- remember that being a savvy shopper isn't just about finding the best sale you can right now: It's also about timing your purchase.

That's because the biggest sales on a variety of consumer goods often correspond with product launches at industry trade shows, just as some tend to be tied to particular seasonal promotional events.

Here's a primer on the best time to land deals on a range of big-ticket products.

1. Mattresses

Retailers tend to hold the biggest mattress sales during the "patriotic holidays," such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and President's Day, says Karin Mahoney, director of communications for the International Sleep Products Association.

"I don't know why ... but that's when retailers -- from Macy's to Sleepy's -- have the most heavily discounted sales," Mahoney says. Indeed, you can shave $100 or more off the mattress price during these red-white-and-blue sales, she says.

When buying a mattress, it's also important to note that it's one of the few products for which you can haggle down the price in a chain store -- so make sure to do just that, says Christine Frietchen, editor-in-chief of ConsumerSearch.com, a product review aggregator that compares ratings from experts and user reviews.

"And if a sales associate won't give you extra money off, ask them what they can throw in for free with your mattress, like a box spring," she says. "It's definitely one of those products where you should ask what else they can do for you."

2. Cars

In the market for a new car? Shop over the summer to snatch up optimum deals, says Jeff Schuster, executive director of forecasting for J.D. Power.

"A high concentration of vehicles for the next model year's car is introduced late summer and early fall," he says. In turn, manufacturers are trying to clear out inventory of their current model year cars at dealerships "as quickly as possible, so that when buyers come in [to shop] in September, they're only looking at the new models."

The savings can be anywhere from $500 to $3,000 for cars that are less in demand, such as gas guzzlers like pickup trucks, Schuster says.

It also pays to time your car purchase around the automobile shows, which are held at different times in cities throughout the country, such as Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and San Antonio, Schuster says.

"Around the time of the auto shows, car manufacturers will offer special deals to entice buyers to purchase and to draw attention to the show, like, 'Here's a special show savings: Take an extra $500 off.'"

3. Consumer Electronics

The annual International Consumer Electronics Show, where manufacturers unveil the latest and greatest new products headed for stores, is held in January.

So a "sweet time" to buy big-ticket electronics such as flat-screen televisions, Blu-ray players and digital cameras is between January and March, as "retailers are trying to clear out old inventory to make way for new inventory" that debuted at CES, Frietchen says.

Around the time of the Super Bowl last year, for example, "We saw 40-inch LCD televisions for as low as $300, and 32-inch televisions for $200 -- 40% off normal selling prices," Frietchen says.

4. Washers and Dryers

Black Friday weekend, the Super Bowl of shopping, is not just for finding holiday presents.

"You can get as much as 50% off washers and dryers around Black Friday," says Carolyn Forte, director of the home appliances and cleaning products department of The Good Housekeeping Research Institute.

"Don't just stick to what you need for gifts during Black Friday -- think a little outside the box," she says.

5. Laptops

Shop for laptop computers in April and during back-to-school sales, which will save you 20% to 35%, Frietchen says.

That's when "fully-functional" laptops in the 15-inch range can be had for as low as $250, she says.

Big discounts can also be found whenever Microsoft (MSFT) releases a new Windows operating system. "Windows 8, for example, is expected to be shipping in new laptops by Christmas, so the holidays this year should be an especially good time to pick up Windows 7 laptops at steep discounts," Frietchen says.



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13 Comments

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Eric

Geez! Now the Chinese are spamming discussion boards~

May 30 2011 at 6:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bigoall

Good prices, but who wants to buy an outdated product?

May 30 2011 at 6:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jeanieib619

Penny Stock that is a laugh, after investing 30K in a penny stock they did a reverse split & we wound up with $ 500.00, just lost 25k, will never invest in the stock market again !!!

May 30 2011 at 6:25 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jeanieib619's comment
Michael

Bless your heart, but if all that was left of 30k was 500 bucks, you were out 29,500 bucks. It would be wise to follow your own advice and not invest again with this math!!

May 30 2011 at 6:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Hello James !!!

I don't blame you. I have thought about it many times, but my gut tells me something else. I stick to stocks that are on the NYSE. I am not a sophisticated investor.

May 30 2011 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Raye

Lee, I am with you, our country needs to keep our money in our country. I don't see any other country sending billions to feed our homeless people and help our shelters pay their rent what the hell is going on. It is time for us to take care of our own. Oh and by the way { I worked in 2 of these 3 industries and there is a 300% mark up on mattresses literally, the price you see in the store i.e retail is 300% more than they paid the manufacturer.
Cars { I just bought a 2011 F-150 Lariat King Ranch for what is called A to Z price which is actually lower than D Plan which is employee pricing. This means my Mfg. List Price truck of $53,000.00 even yes seriously 53k dead nut, cost me around 38k I will not say if it was lower or higher but it was within a grand of what I just said !!! %678.30 less than a Ford Employee, I am a Contractor witrh a small fleet of trucs but none the less this is ridiculous so go out there and get you deal too.

May 29 2011 at 11:03 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
atuu

I'm in love with my wife & She me.

May 29 2011 at 5:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to atuu's comment
K White

I bet she got a great deal on you!

May 30 2011 at 8:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Roskin, Inc.

Our pillow top mattress is over 10 years old and why buy a new one?

May 29 2011 at 4:11 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Roskin, Inc.

Buy a new car? Why I am going to drive my 99' Maxima into the ground. It has 138k miles on it and it runs well!

May 29 2011 at 4:10 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Roskin, Inc.

New Flat Screen? I still use 3 tube tv's and they wrk great so why should I purchase a flat screen?

May 29 2011 at 4:09 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
LEE

I UNDERSTAND THE BANKS ARE IN CONTROL OF US NOW!! IT IS TRULY DISGUSTING THAT THE FHA IS MAKING IT EASY TO PURCHASE A HOME WITH THREE % DOWN AND A 25% DOWN BUYER IS TORMENTED BY AN APPRAISER . iT SEEMS THAT THE NEW RULES THE APPRAISERS HAVE TO FOLLOW CHANGES THE WAY TO FIGURE OUT THE COMPARABLES WHEN DETERMINING THE VALUE OF THE HOUSE. I HOPE MR ABAMA SEES THIS COMMENT. "I AM SICK AND TIRED OF WATCHING PEOPLE WHO DO NOT PAY TAXES TAKE MONEY FROM CITIZENS THAT WORK VERY HARD AND ARE LOSING THEIR HOMES AND HAVING TROUBLE FEEDING THEIR FAMILIES, THOSE DISPICABLE PEOPLE THAT EASILY TAKE OUR MONEY, KNOW HOW TO PLAY THE SYSTEM. i KNOW A WOMAN THAT KEEPS GETTING HERSELF FIRED TO COLLECT UNEMPLOYMENT. SHE HAS BEEN COLLECTING FOR YEARS. MAYBE INSTEAD OF PUTTING TRILLIONS INTO FOREIGN COUNTRIES THE PRESIDENT SHOULD GIVE THAT MONEY TO THE PEOLE OF OUR COUNTRY THAT HAVE PAID THEIR TAXES AND ARE IN GREAT NEED. BE CAREFUL MR. OBAMA CITIZENS VOTE AND 2012 IS ALMOST HERE.

May 29 2011 at 3:04 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to LEE's comment
Hi Catmom!

Those on the public dole that know how to work the system who get free health care, free housing, and can go into a grocery store and fill their shopping carts with steak, shrimp and other expensive foods, and buy new clothes and shoes every month, while I as a working person, have to scrape by on a meager budget for food and buy clothes out of Good Will. What is wrong with this picture? I can't just go out and buy bigger purchases unless the need is there and only when they are on extreme sale or clearance to a low low price. There are cycles to all my purchasing and I pay close attention to sale papers, coupons, and articles like this one. Thanks guys!! Keep up the good work!!

May 30 2011 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scificarolinaguy

Anyone in the business knows: the best time to buy a car is December, because sales are very slow and dealers are anxious to move units. The fewer vehicles on the lot, the less inventory taxes they have to pay.

Most states also have Tax-free weekends for appliance purchases which retailers combine with sales/discounts. This is the best time to buy major appliances.

HDTV prices are at an all time low, because they are having trouble moving them... people are just not making large ticket purchases unless it is a necessity (the old TV died, etc.). Rooms To Go offers free HDTVs with every room furniture package purchased.

AOL keeps crossing the line between journalism and blatant advertising. Choose one or the other OR LABEL THE ARTICLE AS NEWS OR ADVERTISING.

May 29 2011 at 12:55 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply