6 Things It's Better to Buy at the Last Minute

Are you an anxious planner when it comes to deals? Me too! But sometimes, acting strategically spontaneous can be rewarding. The early bird doesn't always get the worm. Here are six things it's better to buy at the absolute last minute.

1. Hotel rooms

Sometimes planning a vacation is the best part of the process. But if you want to get a deal, it may pay to be a little late to pull the trigger. With apps like Hotels Tonight, or discount-minded broker sites like Booking.com, it's easier than ever to book a last-minute stay. This is especially true at the nicer three-stars-and-above hotels, which are more expensive. They tend to have lots of vacancy on Sundays and weeknights, so if you can handle the uncertainty of waiting until the last minute, you could score really posh lodgings.

The downside is that you may end up with your second or third choice of hotel if your favorite option sells out before you can snag a deal, but it's still likely that you'll end up with more value for your buck when you scoop up unbooked inventory at the eleventh hour.

2. Show tickets

From sporting events to plays, there are ways to sneak in under the wire and get a last-minute deal. An empty seat is lost money, so venues would rather sell a last-minute ticket at a discount than lose that revenue altogether. Take advantage by buying your sports tickets one to three days before the game using sites like SeatGeek. For music and theater shows, wait until the day of. The best deals await you at the box office — visit once they open to inquire about discount remainder tickets.

3. Farmers market fare

After a long morning of selling fruit, veggies, cheese, and other perishables, farmers market stalls are eager to sell everything. That means when 2 p.m. rolls around, deals can be made. This is especially true for produce, meat, and dairy — items that will likely be a hassle to repack and transport, or may perish en route — so they'll want to unload them fast. Swoop in to make your offer, and they will likely accept. You'll finally be able to afford items that are sometimes not worth the extra expense otherwise. (See also: Buy This — Not That — at the Farmers Market)

4. Cruises

Cruises remain a very popular and cost-effective way to enjoy an all-inclusive vacation. Nevertheless, many ships don't fill up to 100 percent capacity, so it's a great opportunity to get an even better deal on a cruise. Especially good times for deals are right before or after a major peak holiday, and during hurricane season, but sometimes you can even get lucky on a cruise during peak time.

You may have to settle for a cruise that ends in a different port than you departed from, or you might need to take more time off for a longer cruise, if that's what's available during your last-minute buying window. Still, you might get lucky!

5. Flights

Despite the unpredictable nature of plane tickets, there are so many flights daily that it is still possible to get lucky with a last-minute fare. If you live near a hub, you can be especially lucky. Use Google Flights regularly to check in on your options. They do a good job of sorting through the best costs and departure times. Southwest has sales all the time, so if the time is right, pounce! Tuesdays are ideal to shop if you're buying flights for the coming weekend. (See also: 10 Flight Booking Hacks to Save You Hundreds)

6. Holiday gifts

Are you someone who buys all your presents early and gets mad at your partner for waiting until Christmas Eve to shop? Well, maybe they're onto something. Sure, there are lots of deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but at many big box and department stores, the better deals on the stuff you want happen the week of Christmas. Coats, pajamas, boots, appliances, holiday-themed merchandise, undersold video game consoles, and more get deep discounts. At drugstores, you may see stocking stuffers like candy, toys, and bath gift baskets move to the clearance aisle, too.

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