Average earnings in the US have been falling in terms of what they can buy since 2009. That’s according to the Office of National Statistics.
While we might not have more money coming in, we can still make decisions about when we spend.
We asked a range of experts for their opinions on the best times to buy certain goods in 2014.
- Christmas goods are at rock-bottom prices. Stock up on cards, crackers and wrapping paper.
- Furniture as well as winter clothes are available in the sales.
- Frozen party snacks are also on offer, according to Sarah Sysum from BBC Easy Cook magazine.
- Second hand tablets or other electronics are available as people sell off unwanted Christmas presents or older models that have been replaced. That’s according to Evan Kypreos from Trusted Reviews.
- Gyms might be more flexible when it comes the membership prices. “In January there are plenty of offers,” says Rick Asiyani from Men’s Fitness magazine “But in February or March when the rush dies down, you could potentially negotiate a better deal.”
- Mobile phones and televisions often get discounted through February and March as shops cut prices ready for newer models. Analyst Stephen Mader of Kantar Retail says: “It may not be possible to get a discount on existing premium products, but you can often find good bargains in the mid-tier price brackets.”
- Golf membership could be cheaper according to Stuart Barber from Golf Today magazine: “Most clubs are looking for new members and offer incentives in March and April when the weather starts to improve.”
- Cameras get discounted as newer models are launched and retailers clear their shelves – according consumer publication Which?
- Weddings are cheaper in March than other times of the year, says wedding organiser Louise Alexander: “If you’re flexible with the date and book late, you’ll get a much better deal because venues want to sell the space.”
- Chocolate. You might be sick of Easter eggs but now is the time to buy discounted chocolate.
- Ski equipment and clothes are on end of season sale. Beware, availability on sizes will be limited, warns Vicky Norman from the Ski Club of Great Britain: “We urge people not to compromise on fit when it comes to ski gear – particularly on items like boots and helmets,” she says.
- DIY goods are often reduced says Fiona Garcia, editor of DIY Week. Shops are keen to tempt us with deals as the weather gets warmer.
- Summer package holiday brochures get published around now. The Independent’s travel editor Simon Calder recommends buying early for summer holidays. For other times of the year the advice is different: “If you can be flexible and aren’t fussed about where you go, wait until the week or even the day before,” he says.
- Summer drinks are often cheaper, says Peter Millikin from You Could Save. As the weather gets warmer he recommends keeping an eye out for deals on cider and Pimms over Wimbledon fortnight.
- Laptops are sold cheaply in the run up to new product launches at the end of the summer, according to Evan Kypreos from Trusted Reviews.
- Summer clothing ranges are cut in price as autumn styles come in.
- Fitness clothes and equipment are cheaper, that’s the view of Rick Asiyani from Men’s Fitness. He says it’s because there’s often a drop in sales as people lose interest in getting a swimsuit body.
- Garden furniture and soft furnishings prices are cut as the summer ranges are sold off says Charlotte Blake, Good Homes magazine.
- Computer equipment and printers are available on “back to school” deals say Which?
- Cruises can be booked at good rates during “national cruise week” (the third week of the month). Adam Coulter from Cruise Critic also says good deals can also be found between January and March.
- Bikes can be picked up at cheaper prices if you’re not fussy about having the latest model. Sam Dansie from Bike Radar says new models are released around August and September, it means you can find discounts on older stock in October.
- Sweets can be found at bargain prices as shops clear their Halloween stock.
- Weddings can also be cheaper this time of year says wedding planner Louise Alexander.
- Houses may be cheaper, says Cardiff estate agent Michael Jones: “The run up to Christmas is a good time to buy, when the market’s a bit depressed.” However, for a better selection and more daylight for viewings, he suggests waiting until the spring.
- Golf equipment and surf gear is best bought around now. “Boards are often sold cheaply in winter on auction and second hand surfboard websites,” says Martin Aaron of the Welsh Coast Surf Club.
- Video games, wines and spirits often go on sale as people stock up for Christmas, says Peter Millikin from You Could Save.
- TVs. Consumer publication Which? says UK retailers have caught on to the American tradition of holding “Black Friday” sales which means there are good promotional prices available.
- Books often get reduced in the run up to Christmas. “On a pound-per-hour basis, books are the best value for money ever,” says Peter Crawshaw from Lovereading.
- Power tools come specially packaged for Christmas, and Fiona Garcia from DIY Week says this means there are good promotional offers available.
- Builders are best contacted this time of the year: “They’re looking to organise their forthcoming year’s contracts and the weeks around Christmas are a good time to schedule something in,” says Matt Brereton from the Federation of Master Builders.
- Cars aren’t usually on people’s minds this time of year. It means a quiet month for dealers who are keen to shift stock, says Kieren Puffett, editor of motoring website Parker’s. He also points out that July is also good time to get a decent price – dealers are trying to clear out ready for new models.