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The best time to buy anything

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Computers
Best time: July and August
If you're shopping for a low price on a computer, buying slightly older technology can save you some money. Following the release schedule of chip makers AMD and Intel will offer some clues as to when computer manufacturers will offer updates and redesigns, says CNET's Morris.

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Chip manufacturers turn out upgrades quickly, about every three months, with major computer manufacturers following suit. Otherwise, a good rule of thumb to follow is to buy in the middle of the summer to take advantage of the back-to-school sales or the winter holiday markdowns.

Cookware
Best time: April to May; October to November
"There are two big seasons for cookware and cookware promotions," says Hugh Rushing, executive vice president of the Cookware Manufacturers Association. "One is in the spring, in April and May, coinciding with the graduation and wedding season. The other is in October and November with promotions in regard to the holidays."

Furniture
Best time: January and July
New furniture hits the showrooms after the holidays, in February, and again in August. Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of public relations and marketing for American Home Furnishings Alliance, says there are two times of the year for guaranteed low prices. "After the holidays in January, stores have clearance sales to make room for new inventory coming in February," she says. "And in July, the same thing happens with fall inventory. For instance, it may be the same wooden frame for sofas with different upholstery in new colors for fall."  

Gas grills
Best time: Winter
Ritchey says when it comes to gas barbecue grills, timing for the best deal is the same as shopping for air-conditioners. "Most people buy in May, June and July for backyard barbecues. But wait until winter comes to buy, when demand is low."

Jewelry
Best time: Avoid the holidays, Valentine's Day and Mother's Day
For jewelry, it's more a matter of when not to buy if you're focused on getting the best deal possible. "You're going to pay closer to full price around the holidays because most jewelers generate one-third of their annual revenues and almost 100 percent of their annual profits in those two months," says Ken Gassman, founder and president of the Jewelry Industry Research Institute. "You're going to get great value the other eight months of the year." In general, avoid the fourth quarter, that's when most of jeweler's yearly profits are made.

Linens and bedding
Best time: January
The white sale was a marketing strategy originally devised by John Wanamaker in 1878 and it was so successful that retailers still follow his lead today. "January is kind of an industry standard," says Deb Dyer, marketing director for Cuddledown. "That is the time of the year when you are going to see a lot of white sales by everyone -- retailers, catalogers, everything. Linens do come out seasonally, so you'll see new colors in stores for spring and summer and then fall and winter." Just as with clothing, bargains can be found on the previous season's styles.

 
 
Next: "Is it always a good time to buy a mattress?"
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