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If you're a regular FatWallet reader, you know how to save big on hot products when they're out of season. Buying coats during the deep-discount summer sales, picking up TVs and other big ticket items when sellers have an overstock, tricks like that can save you a lot of money in the long run. But what if you need a coat during the winter? What happens if your TV breaks during football season, and you can't wait a few months to buy a new one? Don't give up: you can still save big.
Re-Think Your Definition Of "Buying In Advance"Most time-specific items won't ever go bad. There's nothing wrong with storing wrapping paper. There's no issue with keeping a coat tucked away for the better part of a year. The same is true with many office supplies – you can buy them up a year in advance and then store them for when they're needed next school year. But for many people, thinking a year ahead is well outside the window of what they're used to. Expand your horizons, rethink your definitions. Any time you see a major sale, think about whether the item is seasonal and if so, whether you'd have use for it. That doesn't mean you should always buy, but it does mean you should always consider it.
Don't Make Seasonal Consumption A Big DealKids can often put a lot of pressure on parents to buy certain items at certain times. It's really hard to say no to a son or daughter who's really excited about that new binder that they say on TV and really want for school! But if you teach your kids the value of frugality, in time they'll be perfectly content just to have what they need. There may be some unhappiness along the way, but think about it: what will have a bigger impact, buying discount office supplies for school a year early, or having the extra funds necessary to contribute to a healthy college fund?
Handling Items That Must Be Bought Within A Certain Time WindowThere are some seasonal items that are pretty much unavoidable. Two good examples here are office supplies during back to school and wrapping paper around the holidays. You can't send your son or daughter to school without school supplies! Without wrapping paper, it's hard to have a celebratory holiday.
Things like this make saving the hardest. All of the big stores know that you're pretty much required to buy, and they'll make you pay more as a result. The trick here is to stick with smaller stores and particularly focus on dollar stores. Even the most customer-friendly stores tend to mark these items up big time during the season. But any store that's price-limited can't just break that because it's a different season.
No matter how frugal you are there will be times when you simply must buy a seasonal item at full price. But the more you plan ahead and the more open-minded you are about where you shop, the more likely you are to save as much as possible.
Nikki is an independent writer for DollarTree.com. Dollar Tree offers great deals on office supplies, party supplies and more.
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