Memorial Day sales: Know what to buy & what to avoid

Jeanine Skowronski


Jeanine Skowronski

Jeanine Skowronski

Former Head of Content at Policygenius

Jeanine Skowronski is the former head of content at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, American Banker Magazine, Newsweek, Business Insider, Yahoo Finance, MSN, CNBC and more.

Published May 23, 2018|2 min read

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Retailers tout big sales pretty much every three-day weekend. People have an extra day off and deals get them to shop. These discounts aren't bogus, but if you're hitting up a Memorial Day sale to score the lowest price ever, there are some items worth waiting for. Here's what to buy — and what not to buy — during the first weekend of summer.

Skip: Laptops

You'll get a better deal on a new computer if you wait a few months for back-to-school sales. Or hold off until November and December, when winter holiday sales get going, according to

Shop: Mattresses

'Tis the season for sales on sleepers. Seriously. JCPenney and 1-800-Mattress are both offering up to 50% off mattresses. Macy's and Home Depot are deeply discounting beds to capitalize on the "rest" people associate with summer.

Skip: Grills

We know: It's summer. If you need a grill, you need a grill. Good news: You can probably get a decent price on one over Memorial Day weekend. But the deepest discounts on outdoor cooking equipment come post-Labor Day, when retailers clear out their inventory to make room for the indoor stuff.

Shop: Cars

Per an analysis from TrueCar, May is the best time to buy premium and small utility vehicles, pickup trucks and sports cars. Plus, dealerships tend to lower prices at the end of the month when they're rushing to meet sales quotas. In other words, Memorial Day weekend is a smart time to get a new ride.

Keep in mind, car-shopping is complicated — and getting the best price usually involves at least some negotiating. Fortunately, we've got a full guide to buying the best car for you here.

Skip: Backyard furniture & decor

Same rules of supply and demand are in effect. The lowest prices on lawn chairs, patio furniture or accessories come out when people starting putting their backyard equipment back in.

Shop: Spring apparel

Retailers will discount those light sweaters, denim jackets, blazers, collared shirts and windbreakers to make room for shorts, tank tops, skirts and other hot-weather apparel.

Skip: Bathing suits

Wait until retailers have to do the same thing with their summer apparel in August.

Shop: Appliances

Going off past Memorial Day circulars, appliances like refrigerators, washers, dryers and stoves are among the most commonly — and deepest — discounted items.

Skip: TVs

Fun fact: Outside of Black Friday sales, the best time to buy a television is actually right before the Super Bowl.

Remember, whether you're looking for dishwashers, decor or life insurance, it pays to comparison-shop. You want to make sure you are, in fact, getting a good deal.

For more savvy-shopping strategies, check out our 12 tips for making the most of coupons.

Image: Imgorthand