Know when to buy to minimize costs
It may surprise you to hear that costs for home improvement projects aren’t static—they cycle up and down constantly in response to changing demand. If you want the best price for any given home improvement project, the best time to buy is when most people aren’t—that way, you can find hungry contractors and suppliers who will compete for your business. Here are a few of the best seasonal items to buy, and when it’s a good idea to buy.
1. Pool This is the big kahuna of home improvement projects, and of course, the time to build is in mid-autumn, just in time to winterize your pool, and then wait seven or eight months before you can really enjoy it. If you can stand the wait, you can save thousands of dollars, as most pool contractors practically have to go into hibernation over the winter, and welcome any opportunity for extra work in the off-season. It’s also a great way to make sure you’re committed—a pool is a big investment, and if you’re willing to wait half a year before you can enjoy it, it’s probably not an impulse buy.
2. Outdoor features Since most consumers aren’t thinking about spending a whole lot of time relaxing in their backyards with the weather getting colder, manufacturers need a way to remind consumers that they’re still out there—so now is a great time to look into fire pits, sconces, and water features for your backyard. Of course, doing any significant renovation to your backyard will leave it scarred all winter because the grass won’t grow to fill in seams and tears, but if your yard is ugly in the winter anyway, it’s not too high a price to pay.
3. Flooring You wouldn’t expect things like laminate flooring to get slashed for Black Friday (who wants laminate flooring in their stocking?), but it turns out that many consumers buy home improvement supplies on Black Friday so they can surprise their significant others with a new kitchen, new hardwood floors, etc. Often the deepest discounts are on mid-range supplies, so do some homework beforehand to make sure that the cheap item you’re buying will actually be an improvement over what you currently have.
4. Electronics and Appliances You’ve got to be ready for battle to shop for electronics and media on Black Friday, but it’s possible to find some fantastic deals to outfit a media center in your home. The most routinely discounted electronics items are low-to-mid-range, so it might not be the time to pick up your Super Bowl TV, but if you want to outfit a spare room or play room for kids, it’s a great time to pick up a mid-range TV. For small items that are easy to ship, like video games or small consumer electronics, don’t fight the crowds—instead, wait for Cyber Monday, and buy online. Check out these Cyber Monday tablet deals, and use your time on Black Friday for big items that you need to be in the store for.
5. Furnace and Water Heater Repair Specialists in these fields see a lot less business in the summer, so it’s a great time to look for a tune-up or even get a brand new furnace installed. You’ll get higher-skilled labor for cheaper, and parts are generally also discounted. Early to late spring is the best time for parts (since retailers need to clear their winter inventory), but summer is the best time for labor costs.
Aimee Watts is a staff writer for Going Cellular. She has spent ten years telecommuting full- time, and loves spreading tips and advice for fellow work-at-home parents. She loves gadgets, new ideas, and skiing with her two favorite people: her husband and teenage son. They live in Evergreen, Colorado.