How to Calculate Savings When Shopping

If you love a bit of retail therapy after a particularly long week, you are probably used to spending a few hours online shopping or visiting your favourite stores. But do you know how to get the most bang for your buck when shopping? Knowing the best times to buy everything on your shopping list can mean the difference between hundreds of dollars and thousands of dollars, and knowing how to calculate savings when shopping can make all the difference on your wallet.

Shopping Calendar: When to Buy Every Single Thing on Your Shopping List

You probably already know that major holidays like Black Friday and Christmas come with big savings, but did you know that there is a certain time of year where every item on your list is significantly cheaper?

Throughout the year, product prices fluctuate dramatically. Use this calendar to help guide your shopping trip and decide what to buy in each month.

January

Many people use January and the beginning of a new year as a motivator to get healthy! Because of this, January is a great time to jump on fitness gear, gym memberships, and athletic apparel and footwear.

If you really want to save, you may also be able to snag some leftover Christmas decor from December. Stores are trying to get rid of this out-of-season inventory, so it will likely be heavily marked down. Stock up for next year!

February

The big savings in February come around Presidents’ Day, where you’ll find great discounts on home electronics, appliances, and furniture. Woot.com is a fantastic website to score deals on these various categories!

March

With Tax Day right around the corner, early March is the perfect time to find discounts on tax prep software. Plus, you may also get an additional discount for filing taxes early!

St. Patrick’s Day also falls in March, so be sure to stock up on all things green, including decor, clothing, and party supplies!

April

Spring has arrived, which means it is time to start your spring cleaning routine! Now is the time to stock up on discounted cleaning supplies, vacuum cleaners, and organization supplies.

You will also see sales on candy, decor, and stuffed animals for Easter. For the best savings, buy the day after Easter in preparation for next year’s holiday.

May

One of the biggest sale days of the year, Memorial Day, falls in May. This long weekend usually means major savings on furniture, mattresses, and home goods. You will likely find the best deals from big box stores like BigLots!

Smaller kitchen appliances may also be included in Memorial Day Sales. You can either use this as an excuse to upgrade your current appliances or snag them to use as gifts in the upcoming wedding season!

June

As summer hits its stride, you will likely see sales on things like gym memberships and fitness gear. You will also find Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale this month, meaning now is the time to jump on new undergarments, lingerie, and apparel.

July

Many stores do a Christmas in July or July Black Friday sale, meaning you will find great savings on everything from electronics to home goods.

Be sure to also capitalize on summer apparel and patriotic gear the day after July 4th!

August

Summer is finally winding down, which means you will start seeing end-of-summer sales on everything from summer apparel and accessories, swimsuits and beach gear, outdoor furniture, and more.

As the school year begins, there will also be great sales on school and office supplies.

September

Get ready for another huge savings holiday –– Labor Day! This means major savings on mattresses, furniture, and other home goods.

Apple’s annual keynote event usually falls during September, so be sure to look out for discounts on current Apple products!

October

It’s finally cooling off outside and with Halloween just around the corner, now is the time to jump on savings for outdoor and patio furniture. Most stores are trying to clear out this inventory with summer ending, so you will find great savings on everything from patio chairs to lounge furniture.

November

Get ready for the biggest shopping day of the year. Black Friday is in November, with massive sales on everything from electronics to clothing and bath products.

December

The last month of the year comes with plenty of savings. Black Friday sales will spill over into December and with Christmas just around the corner, you will find discounts on decor, gifts, and more. 

Be sure to save some money for Cyber Monday too –– you’ll find even more great deals without having to leave home. Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales are starting earlier and earlier each year, so be ready!

How to Calculate Savings

If math isn’t your strong suit, you may have trouble mentally calculating prices when things are marked down. Not to worry! Calculating discounts is easy to do and only takes a few seconds!

To get started, you’ll need to know common terminology associated with discounts:

  • Original price – the price of the product without a discount
  • Discount rate – the percentage by which a product’s price is reduced
  • Discount amount –– the dollar amount by which a product’s price is reduced
  • Price after discount –– the price of the product after a discount is applied

The two-step formula for calculating the price after discount is below:

  1. (Original Price x Discount Rate) = Discount Amount
  2. (Original Price – Discount Amount) = Price After Discount

Let’s look at an example. You go to the store to buy a bag of dog food, which is normally $10.00 per bag. When you get to the store, you notice that the brand of dog food you buy is on sale –– there’s a sign that says “20 percent off!” Use the two-step formula to find out how much you’ll pay for the dog food after the cashier applies the discount.

  1. $10.00 x 20% = $2.00
  2. $10.00 – $2.00 = $8.00

This formula is easy to do by hand, but if you’re in the middle of the grocery store and don’t have time to whip out a piece of paper and pencil, you’ll want help calculating discounts more quickly. That’s where Coupon Chief’s discount calculator comes in handy. Just plug in the numbers you need to help you determine how much you’ll pay at checkout. There’s even a handy QR code you can scan with your smartphone to access the calculator more easily.

Final Words

Shopping strategically based on the sales cycle can provide significant savings. Plan ahead using the shopping calendar above, and you can sit back and calculate how much you have saved!

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