Timing the stock market is hard, but scheduling your purchases to take advantage of the shopping cycles is easy.

For instance, buying clothes after the season has passed typically nets big discounts. Anxious to get rid of older items, retailers mark down the previous season’s must-haves, which means deep discounts for smart shoppers — like the winner of this month’s Frugal contest, Brian Thomas of Thousand Oaks, Calif. Congratulations, Brian!

Bankrate: How did you come up with your frugal tip?

Brian Thomas: My wife and I were browsing through a high-end department store with the rest of our family and we saw huge discounts on off-season items so we decided to stock up when the price was best.

Bankrate: Do you have any children to buy clothes for?

Brian Thomas: We have a 2-year-old. Instead of buying a whole brand new wardrobe every four to six months, it’s nice to be able to buy a lot of stuff in advance.

November’s Frugal $ense winner: Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas of Thousand Oaks, Calif. won $100 for submitting the following tip:
Buy your summer clothes now
Buying your summer clothes at the start of the winter season can save 50 percent to 75 percent on your wardrobe costs. Most retailers are making room for their winter lines and clearing out their summer stuff.

The reverse works as well. We have winter clothes in our closets that we bought last January and February at substantial discounts. You’ll get a ton of satisfaction out of wearing a $40 item for which you paid $5.
Read more tipsSubmit your tip

Bankrate: Are you generally frugal?

Brian Thomas: Yes, for the most part we like to watch where our money goes and look out for the best possible deals.

Bankrate: How else do you save money?

Brian Thomas: We look out for sale ads and we buy some stuff secondhand, and my wife uses coupons.

Bankrate: Do you budget?

Brian Thomas: For groceries and stuff like that we do budget, and my wife keeps on top of that kind of stuff with reward cards and coupons.