Money-saving tips: know when and how to shop

BOXING Day isn't the only day of the year you can grab a bargain. You can save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars a year by shopping at the right time.

It can come down to the right month, week and even the time of day to find the biggest bargains on everything from cars to furniture.


Firstly, don't use travel booking sites to buy flights as you will get hit with additional charges. Book through the airline's own site and book as far in advance as you can. Avoid peak times for domestic travel - Friday afternoons, Sunday nights and Monday mornings. Conversely, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturday afternoons usually have less demand.


The days for the cheapest supermarket prices are Mondays and Thursdays. Retail consultancy firm The Bailey Group found stores often offer specials on staples on Mondays. Another round of specials happens each Thursday and again on Friday with fresh produce markdowns. The best time to shop is generally after 6pm when supermarkets price their perishable produce down.


Petrol stations have their own pricing cycle where the cost per litre rises and falls. Generally though, it's best to avoid the bowsers on Thursday and Friday. An ACCC survey found the end of the working week is the peak for petrol prices in most cities and towns.


Car salespeople typically receive bonuses at the end of the month, quarter or financial year, and so will typically work hard to meet their quotas then. The customer who comes in ready to buy at the end of the month or even the end of the week may get a better deal if it helps put the manager over the top of their quota. Also look for cars that have a new model coming out soon, when dealers will need to clear the previous model by discounting. January is a carry-over month for the previous year's discounting.


If you're planning to get work done on your house, aim for winter. Colder periods of the year are the labour downtime which means contractors have to be more competitive in their business. This is especially true of swimming pools - think ahead this winter and reap the benefits come summer.


Australian retailers typically have the biggest in-store and online discounts from November to January. Hang out to get your big ticket gadgets in the January sales.


Many new video games come out in summer for the holiday season, and go on sale in January and February.


Father's Day is probably the only hardware-driven holiday on the calendar, so don't buy power tools around this time.


Back-to-school sales offer decent discounts on stationery and office supplies. Plan your bigger purchases for around January to March.


Indoor furniture is often heavily discounted in January before retailers clear old stock and release new season items in February and March. Outdoor furniture tends to be more expensive in summer when patio sets, barbecues and poolside furniture are all in high demand.

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