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Time your purchases to enjoy the best prices

Getting the best deal in Buffalo is all a matter of timing. Below is a handy calendar list of the best times to buy things. Tape it to the fridge. This monthly guide will help you to plan menus, make sure you will always get the lowest prices and, as Shakespeare says, fill your purse. Here's how and when:

*February: Now that most of us have fallen off our diet resolutions, this is a good month to take advantage of those pre-Valentine's Day deals on bagged candy with coupons and sales. And don't forget that after Saturday, there's the chocolate clearance sale. Dark chocolate is good for you now.

Also, grocery stores gear up for National Canned Food Month, so there are good deals on canned foods, with more coupons offered in the Sunday edition of The Buffalo News. It's not a bad time to think about stocking up, in case we get hit with another ice storm.

For potato chip addicts, it's also National Snack Food Month, with savings and coupons out there worth their weight in salt.

Look for winter clothes being cleared out, up to 50 percent off. Also, it's the time to buy those Valentine's Day stuffed animals and jewelry. If you're really a hard-nosed deal junkie, just cut off the heart tags and the plush critters are ready for your Easter baskets.

*March: Next month is Frozen Food Month, and Western New York grocers traditionally have made sure that you can get great prices with coupons.

Also, look for lower-priced post-Christmas video games and china.

*April: With Easter falling on the 12th of this month, think about buying your eggs around the celebration. A dozen large eggs could possibly be purchased for under 80 cents. Ham and lamb also are featured at lower prices. The same goes for kosher and Passover (April 9) foods. With American Cancer Society Month coming in April, you can get healthy prices on whole grains, salads and soy-based foods, too. Watch for coupons and also save a lot by not getting sick.

In addition, dream about your next vacation with spring travel deals. It's a good time for the best prices on flat-screen TVs and other electronics because Japan closes its financial year.

*May: Preparing for picnic season? Look for coupons on paper goods like plates and cups. Also, there are savings on barbecue sauce, lemonade and pop. With National Strawberry Month, now's the time to fill your freezer full of these delicious, low-calorie berries.

Looking forward to the beach? Get your towels now. After Mom's Day on May 10, little appliances go on sale.

*June: During National Dairy Month, look for coupons on cheese, ice cream and yogurt. After Dad's Day on June 21, there are tool sales.

*July: With most hot dogs sold between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there will be coupons to clip. Look for discounts for National Hot Dog Month, as well as National Pickle Month, National Baked Bean Month and National Ice Cream Month (whew!) for Independence Day stock-ups.

And it isn't too early to start thinking about pens, pencils and other school supplies with office store clearances. Not a bad month to look at upholstered furniture.

*August: Now's the time to get your fill of fresh local fruit and veggies. There are also sales on pool toys, patio chairs and tables.

*September: It's back-to-school-themed Better Breakfast Month, featuring cereal deals and coupons. Now's the time to buy your summer clothes -- with up to 65 percent discounts -- as well as inflatable pools.

*October: This bewitching month has spook-tacular sales and coupons on Halloween treats. With new vintages being released, it's also the month to fill your wine cellar. And to go with that wine -- National Pizza and Pasta Month items on sale with coupons. Lawn mowers are at a good price as well, when leaves are falling off trees.

*November: Halloween sweets, cookies, costumes and decorations are all being cleared out at this time of year. Also you'll find the lowest prices on food items like stuffing mix, creamy soup, canned cranberries, yams and veggies. Get your best price on a turkey a week before Thanksgiving, as low as 49 cents per pound. Baked goods and frozen pies are also at their best price. Stock up for Christmas.

*December: A great time to buy a car, since dealers want to get rid of 2009 models. Also, it's smart to purchase a wedding dress this month. Don't forget those post-Christmas sales of paper wrap, decorations, wreaths, cards, ribbons and the now-chic aluminum tree. You can save as much as 60 percent off holiday tableware.

*January: New Year's resolution time is also appropriately National Diet Foods Month, with coupons, sales and good deals on health club memberships. Same goes for National Fiber Focus Month, with healthful high-fiber foods like cereals, breads and prunes on sale. The first month of the year is National Hot Tea Month, with sales and coupons for various teas. It's a good month to buy a winter coat, with 75 percent off in after-Christmas sales. Remember you'll still get good wear out of it in Buffalo's swirling snow.

Christmas decor and bows drop to 80 percent off! Put them in storage and you'll be ahead for next Christmas, as well as saving cash. The best time to buy furniture is after everyone else is tapped out with holiday bills. In addition, look for deals on sheets, pillows, comforters, bikes, outdoor gear and Super Bowl snacks.

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Shopping tip

Don't wait too long for those after-season clothing sales or else you may be stuck with terrible style and size choices.

e-mail: lcontinelli@buffnews.com

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