As the unofficial start of the summer, Memorial Day weekend is sure to be packed with sunshine, parades, and tasty barbeque (assuming price hikes haven't ruined your grilling plans). However, savvy dealhunters know the days surrounding May 26 will also offer excellent shopping opportunities. Historically, Memorial Day weekend serves up some of the best sales since the start of the year, frequently featuring coupons that stack with already-discounted goods.
Will 2014's sales measure up to those from years past? We combed the DealNews archives from the past two years to see what kinds of discounts you can expect from this year's Memorial Day sales.
Memorial Day Sales Are Feeling Shy This Year
In 2012 and 2013, we started seeing a sale creep, with some merchants beginning their Memorial Day-themed events very early on. In 2012, we saw our first Memorial Day deal on April 24; last year, Amazon inexplicably began its sale on March 27! Usually, we start seeing Memorial Day sales begin in earnest during the first full week of May.
However, that's just not the case this year. We didn't see our first Memorial Day sale mention until May 12! This is an odd turn of events to be certain, but it might mean that this year's Memorial Day sales will stick around longer than usual. For the past two years running, we've seen our last Memorial Day deal on May 31. Maybe 2014 will be the year these sales get extended into the first week of June.
Stuff Your Closet With Memorial Day Clothing Steals
Memorial Day is always a great time to stock up on spring apparel, but this year is special. Our recent bout of protracted winter has left a lot of spring clothing on the shelves, as retailers struggled to keep up with the unusual demand for more cold-weather gear. As a result, since early April we've seen tons of clearance sales, with retailers trying to get rid of their spring stock in time for the arrival of summer styles. As such, Memorial Day is certain to offer spring clearance blowouts, with stacking coupons offering the steepest discounts we've seen since January.
If patterns from 2012 and 2013 hold, you can expect to see clearance apparel discounts of up to 80% off on average. Better yet, you'll see a ton of stacking coupons that take an extra 15% to 40% off sitewide at retailers like Kohl's, Macy's, JCPenney, and American Eagle. Many of these clothing sales are sure to include free shipping, so you can dodge the mall crowd altogether. Don't forget to review our guide to using online coupon codes for tips on how to maximize your savings.
Skip the Summer Seasonal Items
It's glorious outside, isn't it? Makes you want to run out and buy a grill, maybe some patio furniture ... stop right there! You wouldn't buy a Christmas tree in November, would you? Of course not! Grills and other outdoor items are summer's big-ticket seasonal grabs, and they aren't at their best prices yet! As we mentioned in our buying guide, June and July are the best months to buy a grill. As for patio furniture, you won't start seeing the hottest deals until August.
That's not to say that other home goods are a bad buy during Memorial Day weekend. On the contrary, if you're in the market for a new tool or appliance, then Memorial Day sales are your friend. Last year, we saw select tool brands marked up to 50% off at Lowe's and Home Depot, knocking some hand tools down to just $5 each. Meanwhile, Sears took up to 30% off select appliances during its Memorial Day sale last year, and many items were eligible for up to an additional $40 off via stacking coupons. For example, during that Sears sale we saw a Dyson vacuum price low that wasn't beaten for another five months.
Time to Score Name-brand TVs and Touchscreen Laptops
Shopping during Memorial Day weekend offers a rare opportunity to grab big savings on name-brand HDTVs. Over the past two years, the best Memorial Day TV deals have been for brands like LG, Panasonic, and Samsung. You can expect Editors' Choice-worthy deals on a wide variety of sizes, but merchants like Dell are more likely to offer savings via a bundled gift card (rather than a super-low price). Thus far in 2014, we've seen a greater concentration of deals for 60" sets and TVs equipped with WiFi. So if you're looking for an awesome bargain on a small, no-frills set this Memorial Day, you might be disappointed.
Hunting for a laptop on Memorial Day? There's been a tidal wave of touchscreen laptop deals this year, so don't be surprised if these deals dominate the holiday sales. After all, touchscreens played a big role in last year's Memorial Day laptop deals, with retailers like Dell, Lenovo, and Toshiba offering up to $389 off on these systems. However, for the best bargains on more barebones configurations, you'll want to keep your eye out for refurbished laptops from sellers like eCOST, Woot, and Groupon; these merchants offered savings of up to $140 on refurb laptops last year.
Grab the Apple Pie, Not the Apple Products
Memorial Day weekend is definitely not the time to buy an Apple product, because the company's annual WWDC conference is just around the corner. We predicted that the 2013 MacBook Air could drop as low as $750 after the conference in early June. The exception to this rule is the iPhone, as we're not expecting an iPhone 6 reveal in June. Typically, Memorial Day offers a nice crop of deals on current- and previous-gen iPhones, but recall that we've already seen outstanding deals on these phones this year. If you're shopping for an iPhone 5S or 5C this Memorial Day, just remember that we've already seen the 5S for $100 and the 5C for free — so don't over-pay!
Keep these guidelines in mind, and you're sure to navigate 2014's Memorial Day sales with ease. Above all else, as you're celebrating (and saving!) this Memorial Day weekend, take some time to remember those brave men and women who gave their lives for our country, as well as the military service members that are still keeping us safe. Happy Memorial Day, everyone!