If you've bought a home recently, odds are you aren't rolling in money right now. In fact, between your mortgage payments and bills for repairs and much-needed upgrades, your coffers might be pretty bare -- which is a shame, since part of the fun of owning a home is furnishing it. Right?
But even if money is tight, that doesn't mean you can't splurge a little -- especially if you time your purchases right. There are good (read: cheaper) times to buy certain items and not such good times. Know thy difference! All you need is a little patience and the ability to curb your I-want-it-NOW instincts to save big bucks on everything from televisions to carpeting and tools.
Here's your month-by-month guide on what to buy when you want to save big.
Find deep discounts on bedding, bath towels, linens, and other related products during January "White Sales," with closeout prices both online and in stores. And don't worry, other colors will be discounted, too; it's called this only because linens were available only in white waaaay back when this sale was invented in 1878.
You can also find deals on linens in August when students head back to college and department stores are pushing dorm room supplies.
Furniture: January and December
Looking to buy a couch, dining room set, or any other big-ticket piece of furniture? Shopping after the new year can save you some serious scratch. The reason: Designers and manufacturers release new models in February, making furniture stores eager to ditch their outdated inventory, which hogs a whole lot of floor space. That means you could save 30% to 60% on a couch. Who wouldn't like an extra thousand or so in their pockets?
Televisions: February and November
Black Friday is a no-brainer for TV purchases, but you can also take advantage of Super Bowl frenzy in late January and February to score a great deal on a big TV.
"Sales of TVs are often at their highest around then, since consumers want to watch big games on bigger screens," says Kendal Perez, a savings expert with CouponSherpa.com. But it's not just Super Bowl demand that lowers the price: The latest and greatest in TV technology is unveiled at January's Consumer Electronics Show, which drives retailers to discount older models to clear the store shelves. (Yes, stores still exist.)
Snowblowers and shovels: April and May
Don't wait till snow falls to buy your cold-weather gear. Pick up a new snowblower and shovel in the early spring, when "they're less in demand and retailers want more room for barbecues and patio furniture," says Perez. You might find decent deals on Black Friday, but they likely won't beat spring discounts.
May is the slow season for carpeting, so if you've been waiting to go wall to wall -- or replace your worn-out shag -- hit up your local carpeting center this month. Homeowners are too busy thinking about the outdoors to bother renovating their indoors, so you're likely to find good deals on square footage.
Gardening supplies: April
Everyone's stocking up on gardening supplies during the spring, and you'll find big-box home improvement stores such as Lowe's and Home Depot competing for customers with amazing "Spring Black Friday" (yes, it's a silly name) sales, usually in middle to late April.
"Expect deals like five for $10 mulch, BOGO free seed packets, and discounts on other gardening essentials," Perez says.
Tools: June and November
Millions of wives and children seeking the perfect Father's Day gift makes June a great month to refresh your tool collection. You'll find dozens of sales on everything from drills to nails to saws. Black Friday is another great time to catch especially good deals on tools.
Outdoor furniture: July and August
Don't pick up your new patio furniture at the beginning of the season -- wait until late summer, when the bulk of buyers have already done their shopping and retailers are putting their inventory on deeper discounts.
Picnic and grilling supplies: August and September
You'll find acceptable discounts on new picnic and grilling supplies in May and June, but the best deals will be found in August and September, "when retailers are pushing out inventory to make room for winter-related accessories," says Perez. Expect savings of up to 75% -- and if you need a lawn mower, pick it up at the same time to score an even better deal.
Major appliances: Holiday weekends
Retailers aren't tricking you: Those holiday markdown sales really are the best time to buy new appliances. If you're itching for a new fridge and Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or any other major retail holiday is around the corner, hold your horses.
"Most holiday weekends will feature some kind of discount or special financing on large appliances," says Perez.
Different holidays are better for different bargains. Memorial Day is best for that fridge, because new models arrive in June. Look at Labor Day and Columbus Day for washer-dryer units, dishwashers, stoves, and ranges, whose lines are often refreshed over the holiday season. But even if it's not the "right" holiday for your must-have major appliances, still wait for the next shopping day -- sales during holidays will still be better than standard prices.
Paint: Summer holidays
"Many homeowners take on paint tasks and other home improvement projects when the weather is warm," says Perez. You might think more homeowners out to buy means prices rise, but the opposite is often true: With more competition on the market, retailers are more likely to lower prices to entice buyers. Look for paint promotions during Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends, a great time to stock up on your favorite colors.