February is about more than chocolates and flowers, especially if you're a shopper looking for deep discounts.
There aren't lots of sales promotions this month, according to the National Retail Federation. But Consumer Reports' product-research experts, who track prices all year long, have have found a few items that are typically on deep discount in February.
Upcoming Presidents' Day sales mean you'll be able to score even greater savings on these items. (We've seen the Presidents' Day sales period start as early as the first week in February and last until after the 20th of the month).
Want to know what's on deep discount the rest of the year? Check our calendar of deals.
Sales on Indoor Furniture
Furniture pricetags are slashed this month because stores need to make way for new lines that will arrive after the spring High Point Market (April 16 to 20 this year).
Where you shop makes a difference. Catalog retailers, for example, including those that are an adjunct to a chain of stores, tend to have the deepest selection. But mass-market retailers, including Ikea, Value City, and Walmart, tend to stress price and offer more savings. Expect a fairly limited fabric selection on upholstered furniture, however.
Size up upholstered furniture like an expert. Follow these steps when examining floor samples when shopping and again when the furniture is delivered, to be sure that the piece that is delivered matches what you saw in the store.
To find the best furniture stores, check this interactive guide, which also includes details on upholstered furniture, styles, and furniture-care tips.
Great Deals on Mattresses
Manufacturers usually modify innerspring mattresses for different sellers, changing the color, padding, quilting pattern, and so forth. Then each seller can call the mattress by a different name. Because such mattresses are at least somewhat different, and the names vary, it's really hard to comparison shop. Look for the deepest discounts around Presidents' Day, when you should expect to find prices slashed at least 50 to 60 percent.
Take them for a spin. Buy at a store, not online or over the phone, unless you've already tried the identical mattress in a store. A product manager for Tempur-Pedic told us that more online customers return their mattresses than shoppers who buy in a store.
Shop back to front. Stores keep the priciest models up front, so head to the back of the store first. Start out by lying down on the least expensive bed from a few top brands, then do the same thing working your way up in cost. Our mattress buying guide contains lots of additional shopping tips. We put mattresses through tough tests; you can see which ones came out on top in our Ratings.
Discounts on Winter Clothing
We've found winter apparel is usually on deep discount in February as retailers make way for spring lines. But this year's unusually warm fall means retailers are swamped with unsold coats, scarves, and sweaters. So look for sales of 60 to 70 percent off these items, says DealNews.
Time your purchase. Shopping on the right day of the week can save you even more. Kohl's fans, for example, should check out the "Gold Star Clearance" racks, where prices are slashed up to 80 percent on weekend nights. Every Wednesday, shoppers who are 60 years old and older get an extra 15 percent off.
At Target, women's clothing is generally marked down on Tuesdays, men's on Wednesdays, and kids' on Mondays. Markdowns at Marshalls and T.J. Maxx usually happen on Wednesday. Your local store may have its own schedule, so ask salespeople when items are typically marked down.
Hit the outlets. We've examined the clothing sold at outlets several times, and although we've detected some shortcuts taken on items made expressly for the outlets (like less expensive buttons or fewer stitches per inch), we've found most of the merchandise is good quality. Just look over each piece of clothing carefully to make sure there are no loose threads, tears, or other faults.
Price Cuts on Humidifiers
Running a humidifier can relieve itchy eyes, sore throat, and cracked skin by adding moisture to dry, heated air.
Before you buy, check the features. A humidistat—if it's accurate—can help you maintain relative humidity between the optimal levels of 30 percent to 50 percent.
Put substance over style. Models resembling a radio can liven up your decor but their output might be too low for the area you need to humidify. Some models with a touch of whimsy, however—like this owl model from Crane—also delivered good performance.
Check our humidifier buying guide for more tips on finding the right model in our Ratings. To learn how we test humidifiers in our labs, watch the video below.
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