Buy last-minute and save money

Learn how waiting to buy can bring you the best bargains.

When it comes to savings, good things come to those who wait. With a little flexibility and patience, you can snap up the best deals. 

  • Slash costs on clothing: It’s easy to spend less on trends. Rather than buying full-price merchandise at the start of the season, wait until midseason, when most retailers start rewarding loyal shoppers with exclusive discounts. Sign up for your favorite store’s e-mail list, “like” it on Facebook and follow on Twitter to save money. And if you’re buying anything online, google “coupon codes” plus the retailer’s name to find extra discounts.
  • See a show for less: Entertainment doesn't have to be expensive. Join goldstar.com; the site offers half-price tickets for date-night events such as theater or comedy performances. Or try stubhub.com—you might get a bargain if a ticket holder can’t make it to the show.
  • Travel on the cheap: For last-minute airline tickets or hotel rooms, priceline.com is your best bet. Gauge the going rate for your destination on sites such as travelocity.com and orbitz.com, then bid 40 to 50 percent below that range. To find deals on travel packages, check travelzoo.com's weekly roundup of Web deals, expedia.com for cruises and cheaptickets.com and bookit.com for all-inclusive vacations.
  • Snag an eBay deal: When you bid on eBay auctions too far in advance, you reveal how much you’re willing to pay and let others outbid you—which drives up the price. The best strategy is to wait until right before the auction ends to swoop in for your item. To ensure success, use auctionsniper.com to place your bid five seconds before the auction’s close.