What to Buy (and Skip) in May

Courtney JespersenApril 30, 2020
On a similar note...
On a similar note...

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[Editor’s note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, in-store shopping may not be feasible, and some of these items may not be available.]

You’re likely spending quite a bit of time surfing online these days. And in the month ahead, you’ll undoubtedly stumble on sales for appliances, apparel and even “Star Wars” memorabilia.

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

Buy: Major furniture and appliances

May is a prime time for making major home-related purchases. That’s because Memorial Day sales are packed with markdowns on indoor furniture, patio furniture, appliances and mattresses.

Some prices are automatically reduced, but other sales require shoppers to use a coupon code at checkout or complete a rebate. Be sure to check the terms of the deals you find. This year, Memorial Day is May 25, but sales often begin at least a week earlier.

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 the day after Thanksgiving, August and the entire back-to-school season also traditionally deliver electronics deals.

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, too.

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

Skip: Swimwear and lingerie

Victoria’s Secret sets the schedule for swimwear and lingerie deals, and May is one month too early for steep savings. That’s because the store’s Semi-Annual Sale traditionally happens each June, and 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 getting that KitchenAid mixer and coffee table on Memorial Day.

Can’t wait until the end of the month? Plenty of apparel stores are hosting drastic apparel discounts right now. This includes retailers like Old Navy and American Eagle Outfitters.

Bonus: ‘Star Wars’ Day

May 4 is “Star Wars” Day, and you’ll certainly be feeling the force when you see the deals and discounts that come on this day each year. You’ll see sales on merchandise featuring your favorite characters, such as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

Last year, we spotted price cuts on apparel, video games and other items inspired by the movies. If previous years are any indication, expect savings at places like Amazon, Target and more.

Bonus: Free food days

Every month is home to some sort of national food observance, and May is no exception. Mark your calendar for the following dates, which are likely to include deals and freebies: National Buttermilk Biscuit Day on May 14 and National Hamburger Day on May 28. Most freebies are announced and shared via social media.

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