CheapsKate's Guide To Shopping In May: What To What To Buy (And Not Buy!) Now

May 2, 2013 by Katelyn Holland
shefinds | Shop

While April is always full of great friends & family discount, the sales really start to heat up in the May. Retailers want to make room for new summer styles, so there are tons of awesome sales. But be careful not to make an impulse purchase just because something seems like a great deal. There are some important things you need to know before you whipping out your credit card this month. Check out the list below to see my dos and don’ts for shopping in the month of May.

You can shop Mother’s Day sales from May 1: Mother’s Day isn’t until May 12, but you can already shop Mother’s Day sales from several sites–including Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Tarte, Kate Spade and more. Check out this year’s current Mother’s Day sales here.

Scoop up spring break essentials: Since spring break is over, all the tees, tanks and shorts that were in demand last month are on sale in May. Last year, competitive retailers like Kohl’s and JCPenny had major sales on tees and tanks. Memorial Day sales are also a great time to buy swimwear. Brad Wilson, CEO of coupon and savings site, told DailyFinance that swimwear “at the lowest prices you will see until much later in the season.”

Buy jewelry AFTER Mother’s Day: Fine jewelry prices tend to increase at the beginning of May because of Mother’s Day. Unless Mom really wants a diamond necklace, opt for a less traditional gift. [Dealnews]

Buy cosmetics BEFORE Mother’s Day: You can save major money on makeup and perfume in the weeks before Mother’s Day. Many stores will offer spa or fragrance sets in honor of the holiday. Cosmetics counters will also have special gifts with purchase.

Find best deals since Black Friday: Memorial Day boasts some of the best sales since Christmas. Since it is a mid-year holiday, you’ll find some of the deepest discounts of season. For example, Nordstrom’s Half-Yearly Sale is held in May and typically features markdowns of 30-65%. [ABC News]

Shop Memorial Day sales early: Many Memorial Day sales start early, so scope out the sales ahead of time. Tamra Feldman, vice president of Shop It To Me, told ABC News that shoppers find the best Memorial day markdowns on Friday and Saturday. Although Memorial Day is on a Monday, discounts taper off by the end of the weekend. Sales can start on the Wednesday before the holiday, so shop sooner rather than later if you want the best items. [ABC News

Use coupons on top of sales: You can get the best deals buy using coupons (or promo codes) on top of Memorial Day sales. Last year, LOFT and J. Crew had coupon codes for an extra discount off of already marked down items. Department stores, like Macy’s and Kohl’s, and also have great coupons that can be used on top of featured sales. Be sure to check websites like for additional coupon codes and discounts.  [Dealnews]

Get deals on graduation gifts: According to Jeanette Pavini from, anything that makes a good graduation or wedding present is going to be on sale this month. This means you can score deals on cookware, china and small kitchen appliances. [CBS Money Watch]

Hold out for free shipping: According to ABC News, many sites will be offering free shipping for Memorial Day. Don’t order anything online if the shipping is not free or discounted. [ABC News]

Take advantage of price adjustments: If you buy something early in the month, be sure to hold on to your receipt. If an item drops in price or goes on sale for Memorial Day, you might be able to get a price adjustment. Bring the item back with the receipt and the store will pay you the difference. Also, if you see the same item on sale at a different store, many stores with match the price. Check out the policies for different retailers here.

Wait until late May to shop for tech: Like Mother’s Day sales, Father’s day sales start early. This year the holiday falls on June 16th, so you can expect to see Father’s Day sales at the end of May. Prices on tech items like laptops, tablets and smartphones will drop during this time. [Fat Wallet]

Get discounts at Gap, J. Crew & More: During May, department stores and clothing retailers put items on clearance in order to make room for summer styles. Lindsay Sakraida, the Features Director at Dealnews, told Yahoo Finance, “Typically you wait about two months after it debuts in the store. If you want discounts of up to 75% off from Gap, Old Navy, J. Crew, it’s a great time to start looking. The spring items you spotted a few weeks back will start to go on sale.

For more steals and deals, check out the best apps for saving moneybeauty products you should never splurge on and how to update your look for spring without buying anything.


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