The Best and Worst Things to Buy in May

This post comes from Julie Ramhold of partner site DealNews.com.

May is a big month for holidays, bringing “Star Wars” Day, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day over the course of a few weeks.

With those celebrations come a ton of savings, but don’t expect brag-worthy deals on most summer items. Read on for all the great offers you should look for this month.

8 things to buy in May

From “Star Wars” goodies to the perfect oven, here are some things you should buy in May:

‘Star Wars’ stuff on May 4

“Star Wars” Day happens on May 4 — as in “May the Fourth Be With You” — and it’s a good day to shop deals on merch from the franchise. Plus, with the new “Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge” opening this summer at Disney parks, there’s a (small) chance we could see a May 4 ticket promotion.

If Disney doesn’t offer deals on tickets, you should still check out ThinkGeek; it’s likely to have its own May the Fourth sale. In 2018, the retailer took up to 80% off a variety of “Star Wars”-themed products, and even provided $4 shipping on orders under $75. (Shipping usually starts at $7.95.)

Free comics on Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day is the first Saturday in May every year, and in 2019, it happens to coincide with “Star Wars” Day on May 4. As the name suggests, this is the day when you can pick up a free comic at one of the more than 2,000 local comic shops that participate.

Major publishers such as Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics and DC Comics will celebrate with special free titles. These books will cover superheroes, popular films and TV shows, video games, and of course stories for kids of all ages.

Cosplay is also a big part of this event, so feel free to dress up! Find a local participating shop here.

Mother’s Day gifts that aren’t flowers

Mother’s Day falls on May 12 this year, and while the standard gifts are easy, they’re also going to be more expensive. As the day draws closer, expect prices to jump on flowers, jewelry and perfume.

However, odds are your mom doesn’t want another heart-shaped necklace, anyway. Instead, consider a more meaningful gift. If you’re looking for experiences, be sure to check Groupon early on for sales. Last year, it took 20% off local deals, then a few days later had another sale that took an extra 25% off.

If your mom is an avid reader, consider giving her a magazine subscription. Pro tip: This also makes a good last-minute gift if the day sneaks up on you. In 2018, a year’s subscription to O, The Oprah Magazine was only $6, and you could even snag 10 issues of Woman’s Day for free. Look for DiscountMags.com to have a Dollar Day Sale around the beginning of the month, as well, with one-year subscriptions starting around $5.

Appliances and kitchen gadgets

Holiday weekends tend to be great times to shop home appliances. Take last Memorial Day, for example, when about one-third of the deals we saw were for home items of all kinds.

Home Depot has a popular Memorial Day sale every year, starting anywhere from five days before the holiday to just a few days before. Last year, it knocked up to 64% off select kitchen items, as well as up to 40% off vacuums. Meanwhile, Best Buy took up to 40% off both large and small appliances in its own sale. Both of these retailers will almost assuredly have notable sales again this year.

During the month of May, we expect to see chest freezers once again drop as low as $100, while washer/dryer pairs could be 50% off. Need a new refrigerator? We expect to see standard models as low as $390 this year.

Mattresses

May is an excellent time to shop for new mattresses — not just because they’re a popular part of Memorial Day sales, but also because the selection tends to be larger.

Need a new mattress? Retailers like Walmart, Sam’s Club and Amazon typically offer discounts as high as $500 in May.

While common discounts will be in the range of $500 off, some stores could take an initial 30% to 40% off, then add an additional discount of $200 or so. Either way, it should be easy to find a new bed within your budget.

Swimsuits

Like other seasonal items, swimsuits probably won’t be on sale during the peak of summer when you need them. If you shop in May, however, you can expect to find swim styles for as little as $12.

Look for Victoria’s Secret and Venus to take up to 50% off again, as well. And if you’re in need of goggles or water shoes, watch for accessories to drop to $7 or less at retailers like Amazon.

Samsung Galaxy S10 phones

We started seeing the first deals on the Samsung Galaxy S10 models in March, and we only expect the deals to get better in May.

Already this year, we’ve seen the unlocked S10+ drop by $190 to around $810. We could see prices drop an additional 10% to 20% during May, though, so keep an eye out for even better deals.

In-season fruits and veggies

It’s always good to purchase in-season produce, as it generally tastes better and is more budget-friendly than some alternatives.

For May, you can expect to see the best deals on:

  • Apricots
  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Cherries
  • Lettuce
  • Mangoes
  • Okra
  • Pineapples
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spring peas
  • Strawberries
  • Swiss chard
  • Zucchini

If you’re interested in eating locally as well as seasonally, check out this handy site. You can choose your state, the month and produce preferences to see what’s in season in your area.

4 things to skip

Some items are better purchased at other times of the year. They include:

Grills

Although May won’t be devoid of grill deals, they certainly won’t be the best ones. If you absolutely need this cooking item, look for Home Depot to take a modest 25% off during the second week of the month.

But if you can hold off, wait for Labor Day — that’s when we’ll likely see better deals in general. We could see small charcoal grills fall to $21 around this time, and gas grills could drop to $84.

Perennial Plants

Nurseries have to clean out stock just like any other retailer, so if you’re hoping to plant perennials, you’ll save money just by waiting for fall.

Perennials can be planted in the spring or fall, and around the end of summer is when nurseries and garden centers start trying to sell off that inventory. Look for your local garden center to offer 2-for-1 plants as part of its Labor Day sales.

Gas

Gas prices have already been on the rise this year. While summer holidays usually receive the blame for higher gas prices, these increases are largely due to planned and unplanned refinery maintenance, according to AAA.

Some places could see $4 per gallon — California already has — so keep your tank full and consider a staycation for Memorial Day, to avoid paying a higher price for as long as possible.

Athletic apparel

Though it might be tempting to stock up on warm-weather athletic gear, you should hold off until June. In 2018, April had more activewear deals than May, but June had more deals than both of those months.

Last June, Champion Outlet featured a buy one, get one free offer, and coupled it with free shipping to sweeten the deal. Also watch Lululemon’s “We Made Too Much” sale sections, which could have items as cheap as $7.

Top 5 stores for May 2019

Gap

This retailer should have a few standout deals over the course of the month. In the beginning of May, you can generally expect a spring sale to be lingering — last year it offered up to 70% off styles for the whole family.

And then for Memorial Day, Gap took an extra 40% off sitewide, as well as an extra 10% off and free shipping via a code.

Macy’s

Macy’s will, of course, have Memorial Day sales at the end of the month, providing a great opportunity to stock up on home goods.

However, look for the store to deeply discount clothing and shoes, as well. Last year it took up to 75% off women’s shoes via a coupon, and offered free shipping with the purchase of a beauty item, which started at $3.

Best Buy

It should be no surprise that Best Buy is one of the top stores to look to during May. It should definitely discount major appliances, and while some could be subject to a $69.99 delivery fee, others (usually over $399) will bag free delivery.

Cole Haan

If you’re in the market for preppy sartorial pieces, look no further than Cole Haan’s Memorial Day Sale at the end of the month. It could take an extra 40% off sale items via a code.

Last year, it also offered free shipping. Combined with the extra 40% off, it was the best discount we’d seen since the previous Black Friday.

ThinkGeek

May 4 is “Star Wars” Day, and what better place to shop for geek-culture items than ThinkGeek? Look for it to take up to 80% off a variety of “Star Wars”-themed products in its May the Fourth Sale, plus offer free shipping on orders of $75.

Not spending that much? Last year, the sale featured $4 shipping on orders under $75 via a coupon code, and we expect a similar deal to happen this year.

More from DealNews:

Do you know of more great May deals? Share them in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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