Like many of you, I love to shop and, like everyone, I love to save money. That means I’m always on the lookout for great deals at my favorite stores. I sign up for every deal email I can, and regularly pop onto RetailMeNot and other coupon sites (bit.ly/1TQot4X).
I also keep a close eye on the calendar, and not just for the big shopping holidays like Memorial Day. The month you shop can make a big difference in what kind of deals you can get for certain items. For example, it makes sense that summer brings the best deals on winter clothes, but does technology have similar rules? It does. Let’s take a look at what kind of deals on tech you can find in February.
Before we look at specifics, remember that Presidents Day is on Feb. 15 this year, which means a nice three-day Valentine weekend for some. However, Presidents Day is also a day for sales, and historically more than 30 percent of the sales are on electronics.
Office Depot, Staples and Dell Small Business typically offer coupons for $10 to $50 off entire purchases. If you’ve got your eye on a tech gadget, I’d wait until at least the middle of the month to buy. There are, however, one or two exceptions.
Aside from Presidents Day and Valentine’s Day, the other big event of February is the Super Bowl, which is this Sunday. Of course, retailers know you don’t want to watch the biggest game of the year on a tiny TV, so they offer deals on newer, bigger TVs. Go to bit.ly/1TDGd60 to learn what else you need besides a nice TV to throw the best Super Bowl party of the year.
Unlike Black Friday, these deals focus more toward larger sets and more recognizable brands like Samsung, Sony and LG. Depending on the TV, you can save anywhere from $100 to 40 percent or more. So it’s a good time to buy a new TV for your living room, and shuffle your current TV off to a bedroom.
Before you hit the store, make sure you know the general details of what you want, such as size, 4K vs. 1080p, smart vs. dumb, etc. Read my comprehensive TV buying guide at bit.ly/1Qizrlg to help you figure out the answer to these questions and more.
In general, February isn’t the best time to buy a smartphone. New models are often announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, or shortly afterward, but aren’t available until spring. You typically want to wait until those go on the market so you can buy today’s models at a steep discount. For example, if you’re looking at a Samsung Galaxy S6 or S5, you should wait for the S7 to become available in a few months. Then, both of those models will drop another hundred dollars or so.
That being said, around Valentine’s Day you’ll often see “his & hers” offers on smartphones and cellular plans. With Verizon, for example, if you buy a Droid Turbo 2 or Droid Maxx you get 50 percent off a second one. It’s also offering $200 off on iPads and deals on smartphone accessories like battery cases.
You might find similar or better deals from other carriers, so be sure to look around as Valentine’s Day approaches. If you need new smartphones now, the savings could be enough to make them a good buy.
Tax season is here, and even though you have until April 18 to file (bit.ly/1Phw5KI), tax preparation companies are already trying to grab your attention. They do that by offering services and software at a discount, or special promotions.
TurboTax, for example, is knocking at least $20 off every tier of software, while H&R Block is giving away $1,000 to 1,000 people every day. TaxAct is offering free state filing in addition to free federal filing on simple tax returns.
Historically, February is a good month for buying computers. With new models appearing at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, retailers offer deals on older models to try and clear the shelves for new items. You might not get as many deals as the back-to-school sales over the summer, but it’s still a good time to buy.
This year, there’s another reason to buy. Microsoft has announced (bit.ly/1nNgmwn) that computers running the latest Intel processors (6000 series), and any new processors going forward, are not going to support any Windows version other than Windows 10. That doesn’t mean older versions of Windows will magically stop working, but you might not get the full performance of the hardware, and you might run into driver glitches, especially for video.
If you’re looking to buy a Windows 10 computer and install Windows 7 or 8.1 on it, now’s a good time to buy an older model before they leave the stores. Be sure to grab a model with an Intel 5000 series processor for the best compatibility and performance.
If you’re in the mood to get fit, a fitness tracker like the Fitbit or Jawbone makes a good workout companion. You should be able to get them fairly cheap this month as well. Plenty of retailers stocked up on them in December to capitalize on the “lose weight/get fit” New Year’s resolutions. Now that January has come and gone, they need to get rid of the rest. Go to bit.ly/1NQ9xyJ to check out my fitness tracker comparison chart to see which fitness tracker is right for you.
As I said above, there are going to be plenty of other tech deals this month if you keep your eyes open. Make a list of things you want and the current prices. That way, you’ll know what kind of deal you’re really getting. You can even use a site like CamelCamelCamel (bit.ly/1PA5c8z) to keep track of prices for you and let you know when they drop.
For more help saving money, or making money, check out my regular Money Making and Saving articles at bit.ly/1jtK9jc.
Kim Komando hosts the nation’s largest talk radio show about consumer electronics, computers and the Internet. Hear it locally at 94.3 WSC News Radio noon-3 p.m. Sundays. For more information, go to www.komando.com. Kim also posts breaking tech news 24/7 at News.Komando.com.