MomsGetReal Contributor Norman Fong

Winter seems to be the busiest time of year for shopping. It would seem like finding a sale when nearly everything is in demand would be difficult, but just like the early bird catches the worm, the smart shopper catches the sales.

Saving big in the winter requires a bit of extra know-how about when to buy what:

Best Items to Shop for in December

shutterstock_121339153Every store advertises huge sales from the day after Thanksgiving right up until Christmas. But you have to be savvy during this season. A lot of stores hike up prices and then offer 25-50% off so it looks like you are saving big when you’re really saving very little, if anything at all.

December is a great time of year for gift card offers. Certain companies like California Pizza Kitchen, Barnes and Noble, Kohl’s and Toys ‘R Us will offer you vouchers and gift cards if you spend a certain amount. The best time to buy toys for the little ones is mid-December and the worst time is days before Christmas, because the stores are fully aware of supply and demand on those days.

Tools and hardware start going on sale in November and run through December so it should be easy to check Dad off your list. If you are shopping for the women in your life, you may want to avoid buying jewelry this time of year because you will be hard-pressed to get a good deal. Lastly, the best time to purchase Christmas decorations is the day after Christmas – likely the exact moment you are boxing up your current ones.

Best Items to Shop for in January

This is the perfect month to take advantage of last year’s models. As soon as manufacturers start to release 2014 models, the 2013 ones go on sale. Cars, electronics, and appliances are ready to be purchased at a discounted rate.

Toward the end of this month you can get a great deal on what’s left of the 2014 calendars. You can also find bargains on exercise equipment, which will be a huge bonus for those weight loss resolutions. If you missed the late December Christmas decoration sales, fret not because in early-to-mid-January they are practically giving the stuff away.

Buying for other seasons is a great deal in winter months, so fans, air conditioners, and summer gear are items you should keep an eye on. Now is the time to get your swimwear at a fraction of the retail price. It is also the perfect time to buy winter clothes, since most have already purchased theirs earlier in the season.

Best Items to Shop for in February

This month is going to be your last chance for winter deals. The sales that started in December are going to be at their close-out best this month. Big name TVs such, as LG, Panasonic, and Samsung that are left over will be dropped to even lower prices. All winter gear is on its final way out so they can make room for spring products, so stock up on clothing, boots, and heaters.

Outdoor recreation and furniture items go on sale in February to get the consumer in the mood for spring. Now is the time to buy patio furniture, grills and outdoor toys for children before the prices spike for spring and summer.

The weeks before Valentine’s Day you will find promotions on candy, jewelry and flowers. And you can always depend on Presidents Day sales for clothing, appliances and even travel deals.

There is no need to go broke this winter as a consumer when it’s so much fun being frugal and shopping smart. Your saving grace is to stay informed and shop around. Some stores will even match any advertised price, rewarding the hard working shopper; you simply need to pay attention to the restrictions that apply. It may take you a bit more time but you can rest assured knowing you’ve gotten the best deal around.

Norman Fong is Co-Founder of www.buyvia.com, an online, Android and iOS App smart shopping service that lists reputable products from top online stores, at the best price available. By downloading the BuyVia Android and iOS App to their Android Device, iPhone or iPad, consumers can be alerted to the best deals on the most popular products, anywhere and anytime.