A woman unboxing a television in her living room.

Finding ways to save on purchases isn’t just any bargain hunter’s dream, it can also play a role in your financial health. With inflation increasing the costs of many items worldwide, taking advantage of savings is more important than ever.

The good news is there’s no shortage of opportunities to shave a few bucks off your receipt. From coupons to discount codes to semi-annual sales, you have plenty of tools to work with. But have you ever used your calendar? (Yes, your calendar.) Mapping out optimal purchasing times, especially for larger items may help you save on cars, furniture, wedding rings and even your next home.

It’s all about timing.

When you’re gearing up to make a major purchase — the kind that you make occasionally (like a house, a car or that well-made closet staple) — you shouldn’t rush into it. That’s because for many items, the time of year can make a big difference in the price tag.

Need a new laptop? Besides Black Friday or Cyber Monday, back-to-school season could be your best bet. If you’re planning to put a ring on it, you’ll want to time any diamond shopping after the holidays but before Valentine’s Day. And when you’re in the market for a new home-sweet-home, you’ll probably be able to snag the best price in November.

Why? Let’s rewind to Econ 101 for a moment and talk about supply and demand.

Many products (such as kitchen appliances, bikes, boats and much more) go through sales cycles where interest from consumers might be higher or lower depending on a variety of factors. When the overall demand for an item is lower than the supply or when sellers are ready to replace stock with the latest models, they’ll often lower the price.

For example, AC units are a hot commodity during the warmer months and less desired in the winter. Therefore, sellers may hike up the price to take advantage of the high volume of summertime buyers — and sell at a discount when they’re trying to move units off the shelves during colder months.

Regardless of what big purchase you plan to make, don’t discount the benefits of putting in a little extra research to find the best timing for your wallet.

A calendar depicting the best times of the year to make big purchases. January: Wedding dresses and engagement rings. February: Wedding dresses, engagement rings, and mattresses. March: Wedding dresses. May: Mattresses. June: Wedding dresses. July: Wedding dresses, refrigerators, washer/dryers. August: Wedding dresses, computers, houses. September: Bikes, computers, refrigerators, washer/dryers. October: Mattress, car. November: Mattress, car, computer, television, refrigerators, washer/dryers. December: Wedding dress, car, computer, television.

Planning is key.

By having a clear idea of when you want to make a certain purchase, you can more easily plan to budget and save in the weeks, months or years leading up.

Think of it this way: If you know you want to buy a new car next October, you can tailor your budget with precision to make sure you’ve saved enough by that time. But if you just think, “I’ll buy a car sometime next year,” without a concrete timeline, you could end up scrambling for cash (or having to put off your purchase even longer).

The more time you have to build up funds, the less you’ll have to stash away each month — and vice versa. Plus, if you are saving for multiple goals, having timelines for each one can help you prioritize how you divvy up your savings.

Save the smart way.

By planning ahead, you also have more room to implement different strategies and use different savings tools to your advantage. One tactic that works well when you’ve got time to spare? Microsaving. By consistently squirreling away micro amounts of savings (we’re talking a handful of change each day), you can amass a nice nest egg over time.

If the organizational side of saving for multiple long (and short) term goals stresses you out, have no fear. Whether you’re saving for different phases of life, growing your emergency fund, or saving for something special (like a vacation), our buckets tool, a feature of Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account can help. Buckets are like customizable, digital envelopes that let you save up for multiple items at once and keep them separated — while still under one roof. Over a 12-month period, people who have used our Smart Savings Tools grow their Online Savings Account balances 2x more on average than those who don’t.
Illustration of a 3-D bar graph with text overlay: On average, Ally customers who use our smart savings tools grow their balance 2x as fast.

Don’t discount the calendar.

Planning a major purchase can be exciting — and getting a good deal on something you’ve been saving toward can be pretty sweet. So, when you have a big item on your wish list for the future, use your calendar to your advantage. From budgeting month-to-month to snagging discounts, it’s a great saving tool to leverage.

Save smart and reach your goals faster with buckets and boosters, features of Ally Bank’s Online Savings Account.

Start Saving Smarter Today.