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The Best and Worst Things to Buy in May

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By , dealnews Features Director

It's easy to know that you're getting the best deal around when shopping through dealnews, but sometimes you want to plan for purchases in advance. So to help you out, we've mined our archives of product prices, sales, and coupons to see what consumer goods are best buys throughout the month of May.

While every month features its own unique deal fluctuations, we often see overlap across months, especially when they fall within the same season. As such, some of the advice for May might sound familiar if you've diligently followed the April guide. That said, May has some unique shopping characteristics to take note of, like stellar Memorial Day sales later this month. So dive in and brush up on the best and worst things to buy in May.

Memorial Day Sales & Coupons Some of the Best of the Year

Often times, stores want you to believe that every holiday weekend will feature some of the deepest discounts of the season, but that isn't always the case. However, as an almost-mid-year event, we found that Memorial Day sales tend to boast some of the most exceptional sales since January. You'll see the ubiquitous sale ads, but where these promotions truly become money-saving is in the plethora of stacking coupons we find on those already-discounted goods. Look to your favorite apparel and home goods stores for special holiday promotions. And in particular, keep an eye on department stores, nationwide apparel retailers, and home stores like Pottery Barn and West Elm.

Spring Clothing Deals Heat Up

Late April was an excellent time to start shopping for spring clothing deals, but the discounts really heat up in May where you could find cuts of up to 75% off. And if you want a particularly strong discount, try holding out until Memorial Day weekend for those aforementioned stacking coupons.

Sleep Easy with Mattress Deals

May is generally a good time to find a deal on a new mattress, and indeed for the past two years the sales we saw on mattresses received deeper discounts in May over April. So far we've seen items at Sears, for example, hit about 60% off after all discounts, which we anticipate improving in May and potentially spilling into June. Keep in mind however, that last year we saw excellent discounts on mattresses around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you'll have another opportunity to cash in on strong deals later in the year, too.

Opt for the Less Traditional on Mother's Day

Last month, we suggested that shoppers buy their Mother's Day gifts early to get the best deals possible. But, if you still haven't bought Mom that perfect gift, consider avoiding the traditional. That's because, for the past two years, we've seen a lot of jewelry styles actually increase in price at the beginning of the month, so you may not be getting the best value possible if you go that route.

For Grills, Wait Just a Little Bit Longer

We mentioned it last month, but it's even more pertinent as the weather truly starts becoming dreamy — hold off on buying a grill, regardless of whether its charcoal or gas. We see an increase in Editors' Choice offerings in June, so you'd be better served shelving your buying plans for another month. You can also wait until after the 4th of July when we'll see a wealth of grill models featured in summer home sales.

Growing Discounts on Home Office Furniture

We begin to see an influx of deals on home office furniture — desks, shelving units, and padded chairs — in May. If you can hold out until June though, a majority of these items will likely see their all-time lowest price points of the year. If you want to update your home office, then look to OfficeMax, Staples, Office Depot, and Walmart for the best offers.

Jump on Outdoor Gear Deals

Breathe in the fresh spring air and get active outside with a plethora of deals on camping and outdoor gear from stores like REI, Gander Mountain, and Altrec. Look for hiking, fishing, and camping accessories to hit appealing prices.

Learn to Haggle for Gym Memberships

When the weather is warm enough to run or exercise outside, you have more ammunition to haggle a good deal from a gym that's looking for ways to encourage people to work out indoors. You can seek out promotions that cut initial costs like initiation fees or the first few months of enrollment, or you can put your game face on and demand the discounts while negotiating the terms of your contract.

Ivy Bridge to Usher in New Deals on Sandy Bridge Systems?

May will be an interesting month for laptop deals. On the one hand, we have Intel's new Ivy Bridge-based systems poised to enter the market with better battery life and more powerful graphics than today's laptops. Naturally, these new laptops will be competing with the very capable line of Sandy Bridge laptops already on the market. However, initial reviews indicate consumers won't notice that much of a performance increase with Ivy Bridge laptops. Nevertheless, the new systems are bound to lower prices on current Sandy Bridge-based laptops.

Secondly, deals on fully equipped quad-core desktop replacements continue to sell at all-time low prices. In fact, last month we saw an HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition Intel Core i7 Notebook come in at $700; that's the second lowest price we've ever seen for any 17" quad-core Core i7-based desktop replacement with a full 8GB of RAM, dedicated graphics card, and 750GB hard drive. Savvy shoppers should look for deals under $800 and snag anything under $700.

LED LCDs Remain Flat, OLED Makes Its Official Debut

As expected, April wasn't a stellar month for HDTV deals; deals generally remained flat for name-brand 42" and 47" models, and rose by roughly $50 for name-brand 55" sets. We expect May to offer more of the same. However, we started seeing deals on 2012's new line of HDTVs. The LG 47" 120Hz 1080p 3D WiFi LED-Backlit Widescreen LCD HD Television (47LM6700) in particular has dropped from its debut price of $1,379 in late March to $999.99 in late April. That's a $379 drop in just four weeks. Not bad for a new TV that packs every feature imaginable. We expect to see more deals on this TV in May. (For comparison, brand-name 2011 47" LCD HDTVs have averaged $547 so far this year.)

Another 2012 TV, the Panasonic VIERA 50" 600Hz 1080p Widescreen Plasma HD Television (TCP50U50), also made its first debut on dealnews for $781. It's one of Panasonic's budget models and will likely see further discounts in the coming weeks.

And for you well-heeled shoppers out there, mark your calendars. On May 16, at the Cannes Film Festival, LG is expected to debut its 55" OLED HDTV, reports PC World. The price? A cool $8,000. Painful as that may sound, keep in mind that this could trigger further discounts on LED-based LCD HDTVs.


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Front page photo credit: Karen Salmansohn
Photo credits top to bottom: Brand Name Coupons,
Alanna Kalixo, Single Minded Women,
Tiki Lounge Show, Shu Spectrum,
Touchscreen Laptop, and Toshiba


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Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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