I know we are all coming down from the recent shopping season, but despite all of the gifts that were purchased, there might still be things we actually need. So, how do you find these useful items without breaking your budget?

Shopping off-season is one of the tried and true methods for finding great deals on useful items.  It takes planning and the willingness to do a little stockpiling, but great deals can be found.  And that’s the whole goal, am I right?  So, I put together this guide to help you out the next time you go shopping for off-season items.  You’re welcome.


After the new year begins, retailers are desperate to unload tons of merchandise from the previous holiday season. Winter fashions (even though they’re still in season) are reduced to rock bottom prices.   It makes for a great time to upgrade winter attire, especially since spring is still a ways away.

Grocery and discount retail stores are also working hard to rid their warehouses of holiday-themed merchandise and it’s not just Christmas lights and tree ornaments.  You can find useful items such as foods like nuts, chocolate, canned pumpkin and household items like “holiday scented” soap and candles. I’ve seen such items at my local Whole Foods and other stores for up to 75% off the retail price.

Post Valentine’s Day is also a wonderful time to collect high quality, delicious chocolate that will be going on clearance starting February 15th.  It’s also a good time for any post Valentine’s Day jewelry shopping.


Spring is a great time to shop at yard sales, estate sales, and thrift stores.  People are in the process of unloading their winter gear, especially clothing for children and adults.  Spring has always been an ideal time for spring cleaning, de-cluttering and moving as well, so people are eager to rid their homes of items they no longer want.  Thrift stores such as the Goodwill would have seen a large number of donations during the end of the previous year as people would have wanted to take advantage of collecting donation receipts for tax purposes.

If you’re in search of gifts for the upcoming mother’s and father’s days or graduation gifts, retailers are still in the process of getting rid of their Valentine’s Day inventory.  Therefore, it might be the perfect time for jewelry shopping if that’s your thing.  Also, thrift stores can be a great place to shop for jewelry.


Though it may be the last thing on your mind, summer is a good time to stock up on winter gear, especially winter sporting gear. Stores are desperate to get rid of their excess inventory to make way for summer items so you’ll find a lot of items on clearance.  It’s also a good time to find gently used items at thrift stores or garage sales since some may realize that they no longer want or need them.


I’ve found that during the months of September, October and November, stores are having their summer clearance sales.  Depending on which part of the country you’re living in, it could still be pretty warm.  I’ve purchased some of my best summer clothes during the months of fall and was still able to wear them until around November…or December.  Starting in September, retailers are making room for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas inventory. “Back to School” items such as school supplies and children’s clothing will see another drop in price after the beginning of the school year to make room for the next shopping season.

With a little planning and research, you’ll be able to predict the sale and clearance patterns of your favorite retailers.  Also consider signing up for a cash back credit card in order to save even more.  With proper planning, you can save a bundle while keeping your family stocked up with things they need.

When do you like to shop off-season?  What is the best deal you’ve found?