The Best Days to Buy Anything

PHOTO: Grocery bags pictured on a kitchen counter.
fstop123/Getty Images

No one can tell the future, but we all can use tools to help us predict when to save the most money. Here are the best days to buy or sell things such as cars, clothing, food and more.

1.
The Car Market

The best times to go shopping for a car are the end of the year, quarter or month, says Phong Ly, CEO of iSeeCars, because sales people at dealerships typically receive bonuses for meeting quota by end of the year, quarter and month.

"During these times, they may be more willing to negotiate and work with shoppers. Also, look for cars that have a new model year coming out when dealers need to clear their lots and make room for the new model year,” Ly said. “Manufacturers typically launch new models later in the summer or fall. That said, in order to get a good deal on a car, consumers should still do their homework and arm themselves with the key information to have a smarter dialogue with the dealer and negotiate a good price.”

Read More: Website Takes Guesswork Out of Used Car Pricing

TrueCar.com has found that the end of the month is better to buy a car than the start of the month, and weekdays are better than weekends: the fewer people on the lot, the more likely the dealer is willing to make a favorable deal.

2.
Groceries

Researchers from Cornell University published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in June that found that shoppers who went to grocery stores earlier in the day, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., bought less high-calorie foods that those who shopped later in the day. TheStreet.com suggests shoppers hunt for deals on Wednesdays, when stores begin their weekly discount and coupon programs.

3.
Airline Tickets

The best time to buy airline tickets and shop for travel (domestically) is Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, according to Rick Seaney, CEO and co-founder of FareCompare. But he warns that most such discounted airfares are pulled on Thursdays.

Seaney has found the cheapest days to fly domestically are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The cheapest time to fly is typically the first flight out in the morning, or red-eye flights.

Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days to travel, Seaney says.

George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, says some airlines have advertised sales for domestic travel on Tuesdays, but the best reductions are unadvertised and can happen at any time.

"A low airfare can pop up any day of the week, any day of the year, or any hour of the day. There’s no magic formula. If there were, we wouldn’t see all these new airfare search tools popping up week after week?" he said.

4.
Clothing

Margie Cader, spokeswoman for Shop It To Me, says there may not be "one day" of the week that is best to shop because the average percentage discounts are more significant.

Back in 2008 and 2009, there was more disparity in discounts on various days of the week, but now they are all about the same, she says.

"But, we tend to see retailers add new sale merchandise on Thursday, Wednesday and Friday. So if you are someone who likes to see when new stuff gets marked down, or get access to that week's new sales, shop on Thursdays," she said.

5.
Gas

The best time to buy gas will of course vary by region, but GasBuddy released a study in January that found most states tend to have the cheapest gas on the weekend. According to the study, 65 percent of states had lower prices during the weekend than the week.

Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, said the weekend may be the cheapest because the financial markets are closed, potentially leading to little fluctuation in oil or spot prices.

6.
Buy or Sell a Home

Different brokers and online articles will advise various times to buy or sell a home. An article from Time says that the first Tuesday is the best day of the month to make an offer on a house because that's when a homeowner may begin to worry about a lack of offers from weekend house hunters. Meanwhile, the same article advises that the best day of the week to list your house is Thursday, to give buyers enough notice for a weekend open house.

Michele Serro, CEO and founder of online homebuyer tools provider Doorsteps, said for location-conscious buyers, the spring and fall usually present a greater selection of homes, but also more competition.

"The value-driven buyer might find better deals in the winter by looking at homes that didn't sell in the fall, but may make a few tradeoffs," Serro said.

Brendon DeSimone, a real estate expert with Zillow, said he advises sellers to list their homes on a Tuesday and to avoid any showings until the Sunday open house.

"You can use the week to build up interest on the property. All week long, buyers will see it, may do a drive by, may call their agents, etc.," he said. "This also can help you to test the market’s initial response to your listing. If you don’t show it right away and the market is hot for your property, you will have a busy open house. If you list and show it all week, the open house might be slow and buyers may perceive it as not a 'hot' property."

Buyers, however, can’t time a day to make an offer, he said.

"You just do it when you like a home and feel comfortable. However, if the home has been on the market for a while without a price reduction, it’s a good time to come in with an offer before the sellers decide to reduce the price. If you wait and come in low then the sellers decide to reduce the price because you are so low, then you are forced to compete. For sellers I advice using a price reduction as a marketing activity," DeSimone said.

But Serro said the best time to buy a home is "when you're financially healthy, in a stable job, and educated about the market conditions that affect your investment."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...