What to Buy (and Skip) in May 2024

Courtney Neidel
Tommy Tindall
By Tommy Tindall and  Courtney Neidel 
Edited by Sheri Gordon

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

High prices continue to make for an unpredictable retail experience, but there are deals to be had for the savvy shopper. In the month ahead, you’ll likely stumble on sales for appliances, apparel and even “Star Wars” memorabilia.

To help you shop smart and save money, we created a guide for what you should buy (and a few things you should skip) during the month of May.

May the force be with you.

Buy: Blinds, furniture and appliances

May is a prime time for sprucing up the home. That’s because Memorial Day sales are packed with markdowns on indoor and outdoor furniture, appliances and home improvement products.

Expect discounts from the major players like Lowe’s, Best Buy and Wayfair. Check specialty stores and websites for discounts on pricey items like blinds. Last year, Blinds.com offered 45% off during its Memorial Day sale.

Memorial Day is Monday, May 27 this year, but sales often begin a week earlier and can last into June.

Skip: Home electronics

We suggest making electronics purchases in November, when prices on laptops, tablets, gaming consoles and other electronics are usually at their lowest, thanks to Black Friday sales. If you can’t wait until then, you can likely bank on Amazon holding its annual Prime Day sale sometime this summer. Amazon and competing retailers will put just about everything on sale.

Buy: Small appliances

While you’re outfitting your home with a new sofa, chair or table at Memorial Day sales, check out coffee makers, blenders and other small kitchen appliances.

In the past, department stores such as Macy’s and JCPenney, as well as home and kitchen specialty stores like Williams Sonoma, have offered savings on kitchen essentials.

Count window air conditioners as small appliances on discount too, according to Consumer Reports. May isn’t warm enough in some places for them to fly off the shelf, and you could get a deal for beating the heat. Check Amazon, Costco and Home Depot for good prices in May.

Skip: Swimwear and lingerie

The sale fliers will flood your mailbox in May, but the month after is the better time to buy. That's because Victoria’s Secret sets the schedule for swimwear and lingerie deals, and the store’s Semi-Annual Sale traditionally starts in June. Other retailers follow suit.

In past installments, Victoria’s Secret has dished out discounts of up to 60% off almost 2,000 styles. If this year follows the same pattern, hold out a little while longer for similar savings.

Follow the retailer on social media and sign up for the store’s mailing list for sale announcements.

Buy: Spring apparel

Clothing sales are a given each May. Now that warm-weather styles have been in stores for a few months, you can expect retailers to bring down prices.

Our best advice for finding these deals? First, check retailers’ sale sections or clearance racks both in store and online. Then, register for your favorite clothing store’s email list, which could mean exclusive deals. Finally, fill your cart with sale-priced shirts and shorts while you’re shopping on Memorial Day.

Bonus: ‘Star Wars’ Day

May 4 is “Star Wars” Day, and yes, it’s cause for pop culture consumerism. You’ll see sales on merchandise featuring your favorite characters, such as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

We’ve previously spotted price cuts on toys, apparel and even jewelry inspired by the movies. If prior years are any indication, expect savings on products from makers like Hasbro, Funko and Huffy.

Get more financial clarity with NerdWallet
Monitor your credit, track your spending and see all of your finances together in a single place.

Bonus: Free food days

The best things to buy every month include food too. Keep an eye on social media and mark your calendar for these dates in May, which are likely to bring word of deals and freebies: National Buttermilk Biscuit Day on May 14 and National Hamburger Day on May 28. May your May be tasty, and cheap.