The 7 Best Things to Buy in April, and a Few Purchases to Avoid

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The weather in April may be hard to predict, but the month’s best sales and savings don’t have to be. To prove this, we’ve delved into our archives to see what will be on sale, discovering that spring apparel will finally hit sale sections, while Tax Day and Earth Day will bring freebies for the most budget-conscious shoppers.

Read on to learn about the best things to buy in April, the items you should wait to get, and the top stores to check out during the month. First, seven things to buy:

1. Spring clothing

You can’t expect to see many deals on in-season apparel until at least two months in, which makes April the ideal time to start shopping for spring clothing. Last year, we saw dedicated spring sales with discounts of up to 80 percent off at the Gap, Wilsons Leather, and Saks Off 5th. Major department stores also started to move warm-weather threads to the sale aisle as they prepared for incoming summer collections.

This April, you can expect the price of men’s shorts to fall to just $3 at stores like Walmart, while dresses and sandals will likely start at around $6 at a number of outlets.

2. Tax Day freebies

After getting through the stressful tax-filing process, you’ll deserve a treat come April 17. Luckily, a bunch of our favorite stores annually offer freebies on Tax Day.

The usual suspects include Great American Cookies, which has offered a free cookie to patrons on Tax Day, and Kona Ice, which routinely doles out portions of shaved ice each year. Also keep an eye on the Planet Fitness website. Last year, it offered a coupon for a free HydroMassage to those recovering from math-induced stress.

3. Early Mother’s Day deals

Mother’s Day falls on May 13 this year, but you can find great festive deals as early as the second week of April — that’s a whole month before the special day! Expect to see discounts as high as 90 percent off at Nordstrom Rack and TechRabbit, which both dropped their Mother’s Day promotions in mid-April last year.

Those shopping for sartorially inclined moms should expect to see big price drops on designer brands like Burberry, Versace and Fossil at Amazon. Plus, discounted Mother’s Day jewelry will likely fall to as low as $30 again at Zales.

4. Earth Day freebies and deals

Get environmentally friendly this month, all while collecting the second set of freebies April has to offer. Earth Day falls on the 22nd, when you can expect to score a limited supply of free LED bulbs and UTZ-certified coffee at Ikea. And if Staples offers the same deal as last year, you can recycle your camcorders and computer speakers, then nab a $10 coupon for a future purchase of $30 or more.

It may not be free, but among the most popular deals of last April was Amazon’s Earth Day sale, in which the store knocked an extra 20 percent off pre-owned items in its warehouse.

If you need an incentive to protect Mother Nature, head out on April 21 (the day before Earth Day) for a fee-free trip to any U.S. national park in celebration of National Park Week. (You won’t get a chance at this freebie again until September!)

5. Clearance Easter candy and gifts

Now that Easter has come and gone, you can take advantage of the clearance offers. Look for prices on all things chocolate and bunny-shaped to be halved, with deals at Target and Walmart from as little as a buck.

6. Thrift store furniture, appliances and clothing

It may come as a surprise that spring cleaning is real, and not something that your parents invented to get your socks off the floor. It’s so real, in fact, that it makes April a prime time to shop the thrift store, as the most diligent among us clear out unwanted furniture, appliances and apparel. Indeed, a Salvation Army spokesperson confirms that donations spike in April and May. And while you won’t necessarily find better prices, you will find a better selection, especially by shopping early in the week, as weekend donations start to hit the shelves.

In the furniture section at Salvation Army locations, you can expect to shop sofas from $35, and full-, queen-, and king-size beds from just $50. Washers and dryers, meanwhile, could sell from around $40. Plus, men’s and women’s apparel may sell for as little as $2.99, and adult shoes for just $4.99 at your local Goodwill, too.

7. Select produce

For lots of reasons, it’s best to shop in-season fruit and vegetables. Not only will your food taste better, but you’re likely to save up to 50 percent on your purchases. In April, you can anticipate lower prices on better-tasting asparagus, avocados, beets, broccoli, mushrooms and citrus fruits.

That covers where to look for the best deals this month. But some purchases should be delayed if you can do it.

4 things to wait on …

1. Mattresses, tools and appliances

Memorial Day falls on May 28 this year, and since it’s one of the biggest shopping holidays of the season, you can expect to see far better deals on mattresses, tools and appliances around that time. Last year, for example, April had only a third of the number of mattress deals that we saw in May, when discounts peaked at up to 70 percent off.

You can also expect to see an average of two more tool deals per day in May than in April, with the price of hand tools dropping as low as $3. Stores like The Home Depot and Lowe’s should knock up to 40 percent off both big-brand and lower-cost essentials. May should top April when it comes to most appliances, too, as we saw significantly more deals and Editors’ Choice offers in May last year. Washers fell to as low as $300, and refrigerators dropped to $665.

2. Laptops

Believe it or not, we start to see back-to-school discounts as early as June, which means that April isn’t quite the best time to splurge on a new laptop. Hold off for a few weeks, and you could save an extra $40 on low-cost touchscreen builds, while the cost of gaming laptops should drop by an extra 10 percent.

3. Gardening tools

April is certainly not a terrible time to shop for gardening tools (we saw about 60 percent more deals in this category in April compared with March last year), but prices are set to drop even further in May. Then, you can expect electric blowers to fall to as low as $16 (a $9 drop since April), and trimmers could drop by one-third to around $20.

4. Running shoes

While the big thaw has green-thumbed enthusiasts out mowing the lawn, April inspires joggers to once again hit the pavement. But know that April saw fewer deals on running shoes than March or May last year. Hold out until May, when Reebok‘s adult shoes could start at just $21, and Puma’s at $28.

Top stores for April

Eddie Bauer: April may be the time to shop spring apparel, but winter clothing is also going to hit final clearance at select stores, including Eddie Bauer. We’re hoping it will replicate last April, when it knocked 70 percent off women’s clearance items. This remains one of the store’s highest-ever flat discounts.

Nautica: Another apparel store that hosted a great sale last April is Nautica. We’re hoping it offers no-minimum free shipping bundled with a flat discount as high as 60 percent off again.

Kohl’s: April may not be the best month to buy appliances, with Memorial Day around the corner, but Kohl’s may offer an exception. Last year the store knocked a wide range of small kitchen appliances down to a measly $2 via mail-in rebates, including a slow cooker, toaster and coffee maker.

Sears and Home Depot: If you can’t hold out until May to shop these stores’ epic Memorial Day sales, know that each one hosted a Black Friday in Spring promotion last April, during which they discounted thousands of home goods.

What’s on your shopping list for the month? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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