published Sunday, January 5th, 2014

Consumer Watch: Guide to smart spending in 2014

By Ellen Phillips

Happy New Year! With the start of a brand new year, I thought readers would appreciate a concise list of when to shop for most products throughout the year. While I’ve skirted this topic before, I’ve never actually made a list per se. (Even with email, tweets, catalogs, and every other type of ad smacking us in the face, ShopSmart, partner of Consumer Reports, stresses that deep discounts for many items still go by the calendar.) So, yes, do pay attention to ads you receive for sale prices but also print out this column, stick it on or in a visible spot, and, thus, save some cold, hard cash by planning ahead. (Note that some sales duplicate themselves throughout the year.)

* January: Bedding, linens, swimwear, toys, treadmills/ellipticals, TVs and winter clothes.

* February: Humidifiers, indoor furniture, treadmills and ellipticals.

* March: Digital cameras, humidifiers, outdoor plantings, small electronics, TVs, and winter sports gear.

* April: Desktop/laptop computers, digital cameras, lawn mowers, and spring clothing.

* May: Athletic clothing and shoes, camping/outdoor gear, carpeting, cordless phones, lawn mowers, and small electronics.

* June: Camcorders, carpeting, computers, indoor furniture, small electronics, summer sports gear, and swimwear.

* July: Camcorders, indoor/outdoor furniture, and swimwear.

* August: Air conditioners, backpacks, dehumidifiers, outdoor furniture, and snow blowers.

* September: Bikes, digital cameras, gas grills, lawn mowers, outdoor plantings, small electronics, and snow blowers.

* October: Bikes, computers, digital cameras, gas grills, lawn mowers, and winter coats.

* November: Baby products, bikes, camcorders, gas grills, GPS devices, toys, and TVs.

* December: Bikes, camcorders, gas grills, GPS devices, large and small home appliances, small electronics, toys, and TVs.

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer books. Email her at consumer

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