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Memorial Day sales: What to buy and when to wait for a better deal

Consumer experts say Memorial Day sales offer good discounts on mattresses but shoppers should wait to buy summer items.

SAN DIEGO — The Memorial Day sales have started early and while you can find some deep discounts at local retailers and online, not everything is a steal.

Before you fork over any money, CBS 8 is Working For You to find what deals are good on big-ticket items now and what shoppers should wait to buy on another holiday or sale.

The government's Consumer Price Index shows prices are up 4.9 percent in the past year, down from 9.1 percent inflation in June of 2022, but still high...and retailers know it.

“I would say it's a little bit more work to save money these days. And it's not just because of inflation,” said Julie Ramhold, Consumer Analyst, DealNews.com.

The summer sales are enticing but not for all items.

“Do I buy it now? Or do I buy it on July 4, or Labor Day? It really kind of comes down to what you're shopping for,” said Ramhold.

She says Memorial Day weekend is a great time to buy springtime clothing, indoor furniture, small and large home appliances, and mattresses.

“Typically, we can see around 40% off online, some retailers will take up to $450 off up to $500 off [mattresses],” said Ramhold.

Some retailers end their Memorial Day sales at 11:59 p.m. on the holiday and others extend their sales into the week.

We found a price comparison tool on Google Shopping where users can type in a specific item and compare prices between retailers.

“There's also some categories to steer clear of,” said Ramhold.

She says for now, shoppers should hold off on buying items in high demand like patio furniture, grills or pool toys.

“If you wait until the 4th of July, then we start to see much better discounts because retailers are already going to be trying to sell off some of their summer stock. If you can wait until the end of the season and August and around Labor Day, that's when you'll find the best discounts,” said Ramhold.

Laptops, MacBooks, and tablets are often marked down during Back to School sales. And bigger discounts on a wide range of TVs and smartphones are still found during Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day.

There are a lot of shopping holidays to keep track of.

“It kind of widens the scope of when you can shop for something but it does means that consumers have to be more attentive,” said Ramhold.

Experts say reviews can be a shopper's most reliable source.

“That's why I like going to sites like Reddit because you'll find real users that are brutally honest about what they think,” said Ramhold.

Another cautionary tool is to search an item's price history for potential deceptive advertising.

Ramhold says some retailers, not all, may push prices up before a sale and then drop them down to their regular price to make it look like a good deal.

“I wouldn't assume that every good deal is a good deal but I would say be really cautious, especially if it seems too good to be true,” said Ramhold.

It's a lot of work but CBS 8 has tried to make it a little easier to save you money and time at checkout.

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