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What to Buy (and Skip) in May 2022

Inflation, high gas prices and continued kinks in the supply chain make for an unpredictable retail experience. But there are deals to be had for the savvy shopper. In the month ahead, you’ll likely stumble on sales for appliances, apparel and even “Star Wars” memorabilia.

To help you shop smart and save money, we created a guide for what you should buy (and a few things you should skip) during the month of May.

May the force be with you.

Buy: Major furniture and appliances

May is a prime time for making major home-related purchases. That’s because Memorial Day sales are packed with markdowns on indoor furniture, patio furniture, appliances and mattresses. Last year, Lowes, Best Buy and Target held big sales over the holiday weekend. Expect discounts at online retailers like Overstock and Wayfair as well.

Some prices are automatically reduced, but other sales require shoppers to use a coupon code at checkout or complete a rebate. And if you’re after a big-ticket item like a new sofa, we suggest you look online first. Some items, like large furniture pieces, may still be on back-order for weeks, or even months.

This year, Memorial Day is May 30, but sales often begin at least a week earlier and can last into June.

Skip: Home electronics

We suggest making electronics purchases in November, when prices on laptops, tablets, gaming consoles and other electronics are usually at their lowest, thanks to Black Friday sales.

Buy: Small appliances

While you’re outfitting your home with a new sofa, chair or table at Memorial Day sales, check out coffee makers, blenders and other small kitchen appliances, too.

In the past, department stores such as Macy’s and JCPenney, as well as home and kitchen specialty stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, have offered savings on kitchen essentials.

Skip: Swimwear and lingerie

The sale fliers will flood your mailbox in May, but the month after is the better time to buy. That's because Victoria’s Secret sets the schedule for swimwear and lingerie deals, and the store’s Semi-Annual Sale traditionally happens each June. Other retailers follow suit.

In past installments, Victoria’s Secret has dished out discounts of up to 60% off almost 2,000 styles. If this year follows the same pattern, hold out a little while longer for similar savings.

Follow the retailer on social media and sign up for the store’s mailing list for sale announcements.

Buy: Spring apparel

Clothing sales are a given each May. Now that warm-weather styles have been in stores for a few months, you can expect retailers to bring down prices.

Our best advice for finding these deals? First, check retailers’ sale sections or clearance racks both in store and online. Then, register for your favorite clothing store’s email list, which could mean exclusive deals. Finally, fill your cart with sale-priced shirts and shorts while you’re getting that KitchenAid mixer and coffee table on Memorial Day.

Bonus: Free food days

Every month is home to some sort of national food observance, and May is no exception. Mark your calendar for the following dates, which are likely to include deals and freebies: National Buttermilk Biscuit Day on May 14 and National Hamburger Day on May 28. Most freebies are announced and shared via social media.


About the author: Courtney Neidel is NerdWallet’s consumer savings expert. Her work has been featured by USA Today and The New York Times.