What To Buy (and Avoid Buying) in May

As the weather continues to hammer certain parts of the US, it's hard to believe that summer is just around the corner. For many of us, spring is hardly getting the chance to poke its head through the dark clouds. But, there are May bargains to be had, and if you know what to look for you can save a bundle. Oh, and Mother's Day is on May 11th, so if you haven't started looking yet, use the list below for some money-saving gift ideas.

What to Buy

Memorial Day is in May, and that brings some very memorable bargains with it. If you're looking for deals on certain items, the top ones are listed here.

1. Spring Clothing

Even though it's still technically spring, the retail stores are preparing for summer. And to make way for all the beach balls and sun loungers, they're dumping spring clothing by the truckload. Expect discounts of 50%-75% on light jackets, long sleeved tees, and other merchandise reserved for mild weather. Remember, Memorial Day (May 26) is coming, but the longer you wait for bargains, the less choice you'll have. Empty racks are not much fun to browse.

2. Mattresses

Memorial Day is mattress day! We still don't know the link between remembering our fallen heroes and saving money on a bed, if someone knows why please let us know. Anyway, if the saggy, lumpy bed is ready to hit the curb, now is the time to replace it for less than you'd spend during the rest of the year. Traditional coil/spring mattresses will be the best bargains, but expect to see competitive pricing on memory foam and air-filled specialty mattresses, too. (See also: The 5 Best Mattresses)

3. Kitchen Goodies

Retailers are targeting college grads and the start of wedding season with discounts on cookware, small appliances, and refrigerators (if you give a fridge as a wedding gift, you are awesome). Keep an eye out for stellar deals on pots and pans, cutlery, microwave ovens, blenders, coffee makers, and knife sets.


As every year passes, the big HDTV sets (55" to 60") become more and more affordable. This year is no exception, and you can now replace your old 42" LCD TV for a 60" monster, at around a third of the price you probably paid for it. Shop around, and you can walk out of the door with a massive flat screen TV with change from $600. And what's more, the screen resolution will be beautiful. Don't expect any kind of discount on the new curved HDTV sets though. (See also: The 5 Best 3D TVs)

5. Mother's Day Leftovers

As mentioned above, Mother's Day is May 11th. Before that Sunday, prices on traditional gifts for mom will be high. But by May 12th, expect Mother's Day branded chocolates, flowers, fragrances, cards, and perfumes to be heavily discounted.

6. Party Supplies

As it's not peak season (yet) for parties, the stores will be stocking up and tempting you to take the goods. This is particularly true of grilling supplies like charcoal, plasticware, tablecloths, napkins, and condiments. There are also college grad parties, and Father's Day is in June. So get the deals now, before you have to pay for last minute goodies.

7. Office Furniture

Just like last month, you can still find great deals on office furniture and supplies. In particular, look for great deals on office chairs, filing cabinets, safes, and bookcases. If your home office is looking drab, this is a great time to add a little freshness to the look and feel.

What to Avoid

May has its fair share of "bargains" that are far from being good deals. Avoid the following, and wait until the offers are worth the trip.

1. Beef — It's Not for Dinner This Month

Although it's not quite peak season for grilling, many of us are pulling the covers off the barbecues and getting ready to cook in the outdoors again. If you must have the smell of brats and burgers in your nostrils, opt for pork, turkey, and chicken products. And stay away from the big ribeyes, t-bones, and filets that will take a chunk out of your monthly food budget.

2. Grills

Be it charcoal, wood, gas, or a combination, grills are hot products right now. And that means the prices are not. Give your wallet a break, and get a used grill from Craigslist. Some people just can't wait to have a bigger, brighter grill, and you'll get a great used model for pennies on the dollar.

3. Jewelry

Moms love jewelry. And as Mother's Day is on May 11th, you will see high demand at the beginning of the month for sparkling gifts of all shapes and sizes. But jewelry doesn't go off either (unless is has Mother's Day messaging on it), so it won't be going on sale right after. Give the bling a miss, and think of something that will not break the bank.

4. Laptops

You will find some OK deals on laptops in May, but the best time to buy them is in the Back to School sales. If you can hold out, you'll get some great deals in mid-July.

5. Patio Furniture

Big retailers have already started discounting their outdoor furniture, but not by much. 15% off here and there is not worth your time. You will get massive savings later in the summer, when the shelves are being stocked with items for fall. Check your local thrift stores and Craigslist for good deals on patio furniture and outdoor rugs.

Are you planning to make any big (or small!) purchases this May? What deals are you seeing?

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Guest's picture

Interesting list. I would have guessed items that are in season like Spring Clothing would be most expensive in the spring and they can be had for less at the end of the summer.

Guest's picture

All about that gym membership! I've been looking for one since my college has their gym closed for the summer, I guess now is the perfect time to look! :)

Guest's picture

I love the suggestions. I am not a huge shopper but I LOVE bargain hunting. There is some sort of satisfaction that comes with it, but there is also that awful feeling when you see an item for a lot cheaper later than you paid for it. This just happened to me with the TV. I bought my TV when they were on sale for Super Bowl but I could have put it off further. On the plus side, I won't go out and buy that grill I was planning to buy on Friday. Well, maybe I will since I don't have one and just moved into a new place and kept telling myself I was getting one for myself as house warming. I guess I can splurge on that.

Guest's picture

I like the idea of buying 3D TV this summer. I have not checked yet on the prices, but if the prices really drops low, I am considering it.