The 5 Best Things to Buy in May — and 4 to Avoid

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Many consumers consider May to be the kickoff to summer, and along with warmer weather comes plenty of savings to take advantage of.

With holidays like Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, shoppers will have a plethora of May deals to choose from in 2021.

Check out our guide on what to buy in May and what to hold off on for now. Then read up on what to buy every month of the year in 2021, so you’ll know when you can save the most on the items you want.

The 5 Best Things to Buy in May

Star Wars Items

May 4 is known as Star Wars Day — as in, “May the Fourth Be With You.”

Companies typically celebrate by offering discounts on a variety of Star Wars items, from toys to apparel. And sometimes they even offer deals on the movies themselves. For instance, last year Best Buy had the entire Skywalker Saga on Blu-ray for $200, while LEGO offered an A-wing Starfighter set with three free gifts for the same price.

However, not all deals were for individual items.

Steam hosted a Star Wars Day sale and knocked anywhere from 40% to 74% off, and Target cut 20% off Star Wars items during its event. Kohl’s discounted items by up to 70%, Williams-Sonoma had a selection of Star Wars-themed Instant Pots from $60, and Nintendo celebrated with deals from $7 on three Star Wars titles.

Mother’s Day Gifts That Aren’t Flowers

Mother’s Day is on May 9 this year, but if you’re shopping for gifts at the beginning of the month, you may need to think outside the box. Odds are that traditional gifts like flowers and mom-themed jewelry will have jumped in price.

Depending on how close to the holiday you buy, gifts purchased online may run the risk of not arriving in time for Mother’s Day. Consider gifting digital services for music, movies and TV, or audiobooks instead, as these can be delivered instantaneously.

Be sure to check out sites like Groupon around this time — for instance, last year users could snag a 3-month subscription to Pandora Premium for free.

Does your mom prefer Amazon? Groupon also offered a 3-month subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited for free.

Be sure to look at Amazon itself, as well. Last year it featured a 2-month Kindle Unlimited subscription for free. The service provides unlimited access to over 1 million books, as well as magazines and Audible narration.

And if your mom prefers physical magazines, keep an eye on sites like DiscountMags, which could offer 1-year subscriptions on select titles for as little as $5.

Appliances and Kitchen Gadgets

Thanks to Memorial Day sales, May is an excellent month to shop products like large appliances and kitchen gadgets.

Expect stores like Best Buy to offer free shipping on appliance orders over $399, Home Depot to offer free delivery on orders of $396, and Lowe’s to cut up to 50% off select washers, dryers, refrigerators, ovens, and more.

Mattresses

Aside from large appliances, the other major item Memorial Day sales are known for is mattresses.

Plenty of retailers should have mattress deals throughout the month, including Macy’s, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and even Best Buy and Home Depot. Watch for prices to start as low as $52 for trifold mattresses, and as low as $236 for queen-size 10″ memory foam mattresses.

If you’re hoping for May sales, be sure to check out major brands like Tempur-Pedic. Last year they took up to $500 off during their event, while Saatva knocked $200 off orders of $1,000. Cocoon by Sealy cut 35% off select Chill mattresses, and US-Mattress took an extra 40% to 50% off during its clearance sale.

In-Season Produce

Summer brings plenty of fresh fruits and veggies to feast on, and May is when the list of in-season produce starts to grow a little longer compared to other times of year.

Expect to find artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, okra, radishes, rhubarb, spring peas, Swiss chard, and zucchini at their peak.

And if you want to grill fruit or incorporate it into fresh summery desserts, look for apricots, cherries, mangoes, pineapples, and strawberries to be the best options.

Prefer to shop local? Be sure to check out the Seasonal Food Guide site, as it allows you to choose your state and the month — select either early or late time frames — and you’ll be able to see the produce available in your state at that time.

4 Things Not to Buy in May

Patience brings savings with many products. Hold off on buying the below items for now if you want to score the best prices.

Grills

Buy: In September and October

Why: Any grill deals around Memorial Day will probably come with modest discounts at best — September and October could bring lower prices.

Athletic Apparel

Buy: In June

Why: Many people amp up their fitness routines in June, and retailers price athletic apparel accordingly with lower prices to meet the demand.

Lingerie

Buy: In June

Why: With the Victoria’s Secret Semi-Annual Sale likely to fall in June, and the chance for Frederick’s of Hollywood to offer a competing event, it’ll be a good month to shop lingerie.

Perennial Plants

Buy: In August and September

Why: Perennials can be planted in spring or fall, and nurseries will often try to clear out stock once summer ends — at that time we could see 2-for-1 specials.

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