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What to buy and not buy in May

Star-wars-1118389_1920Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to go out and shop during the month of May. However, even if you’re still staying at home you can shop from home.

While it’s important to continue to limit your shopping to essential items, because you don’t put a burden on employees who are still required to go to work to handle your order, there are important things going on in May, such as buying birthday presents for May birthdays and Mother’s Day. I mention that because my birthday is in May, and I’d like to get a present to cheer myself up.

Here are tips from DealNews for May shopping:

Star Wars items

Star Wars Day is May 4 — as in "May the Fourth Be With You" — and companies often celebrate by offering deals on different kinds of merchandise.

Even though May 4 is my birthday, I’m not longing for a Star Wars t-shirt.

Mother’s Day

Traditional gifts such as flowers and jewelry will likely jump in price right before Mother's Day, which is May 10 this year.

While the gift of an experience is usually good, it’s unknown when spas will open and music concerts will occur again. Maybe a gift card for her favorite restaurant could work if you’re pretty certain it will be able to open again.

A themed gift baskets with snacks and chocolates could work if you order it early enough to get a good price for shipping. Books are good, if your mom is an avid reader.

Appliances and kitchen gadgets

Long holiday weekends are almost always a great time for deals on pricey items such as large appliances.

Watch appliance sales, which could start 10 days before Memorial Day; the holiday is on May 25 this year. You could find sales for as much as 64 percent off kitchen items, but 40 percent is more typical.

Chest freezers will drop to $159 or less this year, while discounts on high-end washer/dryer pairs could put them far below their typical $1,000-plus price tag. Portable air conditioners could fall to around $220.

Mattresses

May is a great time to buy a mattress, thanks to Memorial Day sales and other sales from various stores. Be sure to compare prices.

Gas … maybe

Gas tends to jump in price in May, with families everywhere preparing to take trips for the long holiday weekend. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders. While some states are making plans to end those, not everyone is ready to leave home yet. Even if you aren't willing to risk a trip to the beach, you can still opt to take a scenic drive and observe social distancing guidelines.

Four things to skip

Grills. Expect modest discounts on grills for Memorial Day, but much better savings will likely come in September and October.

Perennial plants. Perennial plants will have lower prices in August and September. These plants can be planted in spring or fall, so nurseries try to clean out stock at the end of the summer – look for two-for-one deals.

Athletic apparel. Athletic apparel tends to go on sale in June, when people are gearing up to spend summer outdoors. Watch for prices to drop as low as $5.

Lingerie. Buy lingerie in June.

Copyright 2020, Rita R. Robison, Consumer and Personal Finance Journalist

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