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What Not to Buy During Memorial Day Sales

May 13, 2016
Holiday Tips & News, Shopping
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Memorial Day falls on May 30 this year, and the holiday weekend will be chock-full of sales, deals and discounts.

You’ll likely be cashing in on savings on furniture and mattresses, categories that historically see deep discounts over Memorial Day, but other products won’t get such big price cuts.

To make sure you get the best deals, we’ve listed what to skip on the long weekend:

The colorful swimsuit that’s calling your name

That yellow polka-dot bikini may have you dreaming of sandy beaches and ocean waves, but don’t purchase your swim essentials just yet.

Summer products usually cost more at the beginning of the season, and their prices drop midway or at the end, when they’re the absolute lowest. If you can forgo buying now, you’ll swim into savings over the next few months.

Drastic deals will surface in June. For instance, intimates superstore Victoria’s Secret hosts a Semi-Annual Sale with steep discounts on swimwear and lingerie. In June 2015, for instance, Victoria’s Secret offered 25% to 50% off on over 500 bra styles and 25% to 50% off on more than 700 swim styles.

All things Apple

As we advised in our what to buy in May guide, try to refrain from electronics purchases this month, including Apple products. We tend to see electronics deals swell around Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November.

Memorial Day sales will likely have a smartphone or two in the mix. But if you’re in the market for a new iPhone and phone plan, we recommend waiting until September, when Apple is expected to release a new phone. New phone releases almost always mean price drops on previous models.

» MORE: iPhone SE vs. iPhone 6S

Early back-to-school supplies

Although the current school year isn’t over quite yet, some students (and parents) are already looking ahead to next year — and stores don’t hesitate to stock shelves early. But don’t spring for premature back-to-school shopping this month.

Judging by trends from past years, prices on back-to-school supplies are best in late August and early September, when stores start hosting blowout sales. That’s when you’re likely to find good deals on office supplies, backpacks and even laptops.

Anything and everything that’s on sale

Beware of retailers that claim that “everything” in their store is on sale over Memorial Day weekend. Not everything that’s included in these sale events is actually cheaper than it is at other times of the year.

That’s where smart shopping strategies come in. Instead of walking into a store blindly, have an idea of what you want to buy and conduct a quick search on your smartphone to ensure you’re taking advantage of all applicable coupons. Then, compare prices among stores to make sure you’re not being overcharged.

Expensive shipping fees

You absolutely shouldn’t settle for high shipping fees if you’ll be shopping online this Memorial Day weekend. That’s because many retailers will offer free shipping as an incentive to shop.

Some stores will require you to enter a promo code at checkout to have the free shipping applied to your purchase. Others will set a minimum amount you need to spend to qualify for free shipping. To ensure you’ve met the minimum required for free shipping, consolidate all of your purchases at one store instead of spreading them out among many.

And if you can’t reach the minimum free shipping threshold, don’t just buy extra products until you do. Instead, buy your items online and pick them up in the store, an option that many retailers such as Macy’s and Target now offer.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.