May is not a month when you want to think about shopping. The weather is finally gorgeous, and you really want to be outside — barbecuing, playing with the kids, or sharing a beer with your neighbors. But May is a month filled with big holidays and good discounts, so take a little time out (or in, rather) to discover the spring shopping deals that await you.

Spring Apparel

Spring clothing has been on store shelves for over two months now, so retailers are finally ready to offer discounts. Plus, if you can wait to shop until Memorial Day, you'll see even better savings, as stores will want to move inventory to make room for newer summer styles.

A Gym Membership

Gyms offer good deals this time of year, since swimsuit season induced panic is starting to set in. Ask for a free trial or to have your registration fee waived, and remember that, as more people choose to exercise outdoors in the warmer weather, gyms are more willing to negotiate.


Skip the department stores (who offer the biggest discounts during January and July), and head straight to independent mattress retailers. In addition to a lower price, you may also be able to negotiate better warranties and financing options.

Mother's Day Gifts

Shopping for Mother's Day? Think high tech. "We've seen the most growth in shopping trips during Mother's Day for electronic items like smartphones and tablets," says Brent Shelton, spokesperson for consumer savings website "Moms want the benefits of today's tech conveniences to stay connected to their families."

Need ideas? Fatwallet has rounded up the Top 5 Tech Gifts Moms Truly Want, or for a more comprehensive gift guide, visit the 2013 Mother's Day Gift Guide from Cool Mom Picks (a bit expensive at times, but worth every penny if you find a gift mom will truly enjoy).

Patio Furniture

For the best deals, check spring garage sales for patio furniture at rock bottom prices. If you prefer to buy new, shop now, because prices will only go up, up, up as the summer season gets underway.

Party Supplies

May kicks off the summer party season, so right now shelves are well-stocked with seasonal party supplies. Shop for Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Memorial Day, as well as graduation parties, and even 4th of July. It's never too early to plan ahead — especially if you can save money by not waiting until the last minute.


I honestly don't know why it's best to buy ketchup in May, but if you check out Mark DiVincenzo's book Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That, and Go There, you can find out. You'll also learn plenty of other handy (and a few totally useless) shopping tips and strategies too.

Keep in mind too that many of the best April family shopping deals carry over into May. It's still a great time to buy a vacuum cleaners, winter clearance items, and big ticket items like houses.