Smart Money: When to buy what

Like acting, jazz and Space Invaders, bagging a bargain is all about timing. Here’s when to strike...

Would you buy a 99p Flake (TM) ice cream cone in the middle of a frigid British winter? How about an umbrella on a beach in July? There's a time and a place for everything, and gadgets are no exception.

If you play your cards right, you can snap up shiny new tech toys for less at certain times of the year. Put away that calendar though - we've already done all the hard work for you. You're welcome.



March: Cameras

Camera companies expect people to buy during the summer (for holiday snaps) so last year’s stock starts being discounted from March to May. Make your choice of camera ahead of time and then keep a close eye on prices through the spring – fluctuations can be quite sudden. Try to spend more money on lenses than camera bodies – not only do lenses make more difference to your pictures, they hold their value more.

April: DIY Tech

The Easter bank holiday weekend is the ideal time to ruin your home with some ill-advised DIY and make the most of the improving weather (hopefully). Hardware stores are aware of this so will try to coax you through their doors with deals on some shiny new do-it-yourself kit. Just make sure to put some cash aside to pay for a professional to put your handiwork right again afterwards.

July: Laptops

If you had a decent laptop, you could work from home, or the garden, or the beach, right? Well, ‘work’ might be stretching it but, luckily for you, laptops often drop in price when temperatures start to do the opposite. As it gets closer to September you might also be able to take advantage of back-to-school offers, even if you’ve been too old for the classroom for decades.

August: Fitness Kit

Your New Year’s resolution is a distant memory and the window for getting that elusive ‘beach body’ has well and truly slammed shut for another year. Some people are even already looking forward to Christmas dinner(s). Shops know this and will offer deals on fitness kit in an attempt to get you up off that sofa. Hey, you don’t have to use it right away. You could stick it in a drawer until January...

September: Last year’s iPad

You might be noticing a theme here – buy last year’s model new when the latest model is announced – but it’s particularly handy in the case of the iPad. Tablets aren’t replaced as quickly as phones, which means there isn’t as much of an arms race when it comes to developing them. That’s why the still-good iPad Mini 2 is still in our Top 10, at £100 cheaper than the iPad Mini 4.

October: Bikes

As the nights get gloomier and the skies wetter, only the hardcore are likely to be buying a bike. It’s also a month after the bike brands show off their new gear. Again, a new model year means the old stuff needs to go, so price drops are likely. If you’re buying from a shop, test your haggling skills by asking them to throw in a helmet or a lock.

November: Anything

OK, there’s no specific type of product to buy in November, but in recent years Black Friday has got bigger than Boxing Day for the major shopping sites. It falls on the fourth Friday of the month, and as long as you don’t get swept up in he hype and buy something you don’t need, there are massive bargains to be found – but you’ll need to be quick. Stuff.tv will keep you abreast of all the best ones.

December: Cars

There are various times throughout the year when it’s good to buy a new set of wheels (summer for off-roaders, winter for convertibles, just before new registrations come out in March and September),but right before Christmas is the last time most people are considering it... which puts you in a decent position to negotiate at a dealership. Call it a present to yourself.

January: Second-hand gadgets

Everyone’s skint after Christmas, and with payday seemingly so far away lots of people try to offset the excesses of the festive season by clearing out last year’s gadgets or selling any unwanted gifts). That means eBay is a good bet for some second-hand tech. If you’ve managed to put a few quid aside, this is the time to treat yourself to something new (to you.

February: TVs

There are more TVs launched in January at CES in Las Vegas than any other time of year,but those new models take a while to hit the shops, so start keeping an eye on prices around February time. You’ll see the previous year’s models getting big reductions in order to make way for the new batch. So as long as you don’t need to have the very latest model, it’s a great time to go shopping for your new idiot-lantern.