Polls / May 11, 2010

Would you shop for a coat in summer (and shorts in winter) to get a bargain?

Shopping for clothes out of season to get a bargain is popular, with 79% of respondents to the latest eZonomics poll saying they do it. Just 21% say they don't and prefer to buy in season.

When winter is t-shirt and shorts weather
Buying out of season is a good strategy to make you clothing budget stretch further. It is particularly useful for shoppers who are organised (can save for and plan their clothing purchases) patient (are happy not to wear their new garment straight away) and have tastes that mean last season's dress will be loved for years to come.
Pitfalls include the potential for limited choice in size and style.
This off-season shopping style works for more products than you might expect. A "best time to buy" list from blog Budgets are Sexy lists spring as the best time to buy televisions (as well as boots and winter gear), while winter is best for snapping up discount air conditioners, gas grills and luggage. eZonomics suggests holidays can be added to the list, with savings possible from planning vacations outside the most popular travel dates.

Do I really need another pair of black pants?
As tempting as buying yet another pair of black pants (novelty t-shirt, or shiny shoes) on sale might be, don't let the offer of a bargain tempt you into spending more than planned.
The bottom line is: if you don't need it, it's not a bargain.

Retailing games have many rules
Retailers are savvy to customers shopping out of season, says personal finance and game theory blog Mind Your Decisions. In a post about buying a discount shirt, the complexities of the dynamic between bargain hunters and the "clothing empire" striking back is discussed. It says some stores are managing their stock more carefully so there is little excess at the end of each season.
"The clothing problem involves the important ideas of arbitrage, zero-sum games, and 'limiting your options'," it says. "These are concepts that come up in all sorts of personal finance decisions."

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eZonomics team
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