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The best time to buy anything

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Bicycles and outdoor gear
Best time: January
"If you want the newest stuff, the time to look is in February and March when the season's models come out. The stores start replacing fall and winter stuff with spring and summer models, and that's true for most all outdoor gear from shoes to bikes, hiking gear, everything," says Dennis Lewon, senior editor for Outside magazine.  

Some companies will send out special holiday items that will land in the discount section after the season. "In general most of the new products come to stores in February," says Lewon. "January is good for looking for the old models in the classic post-holiday shopping period."

Best time: January to March
According to Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the winter boat show season is the time to get a good price on a new boat. "The primary winter boat show season is January, February and March. Going to a boat show is the easiest way to see the latest model of boats for many manufacturers, and compare features," he says. "Also, dealers typically offer their best pricing during boat shows."

Best time: September
New model years begin appearing at dealerships in the fall, making September an ideal time to snatch up the previous year's model at a discount. By the end of the year inventory dwindles, so acting earlier assures a determined buyer of the best selection. Another tip for buying a new car: "Monitor the number of days that a truck or car sits on a lot. Anytime a car or truck isn't selling well you can get a good deal," says Phillip Reed consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com and co-author of "Strategies for Smart Car Buyers." Shop on a weekday to get the undivided attention of the sales staff, and go at the end of the month when they're trying to make quotas. Be sure to go early in the morning or early in the afternoon and show up well-rested and with a full belly. "You don't want to be hungry or tired," says Reed. He also recommends using the Internet department to broker the deal, you'll save money and skip the high-pressure negotiations in the finance and insurance office. "Often the person who delivers the car to you isn't even a salesman but a porter. You just sign the papers and it's done," says Reed.

Cell phones
Best time: Any time
A new cell phone comes out approximately every five minutes. Obviously, that's hyperbole, but John Morris, editor of home and entertainment coverage for CNET.com, says the team reviewing cell phones can barely keep up with the steady stream of new models being offered. "The market for cell phones doesn't follow any seasonal trend or technological advances. Also, their release schedule is dictated by carriers as well as manufacturer, which makes it a little more complicated," he says.

Next: "For jewelry, it's more a matter of when not to buy. ..."
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