What will save you the most money?
Should I Buy Smart Home Products Now or Wait for a Sale?
It's an age-old dilemma:
Do I buy this product now or wait for it to go on sale?
This becomes especially tricky with smart home and other tech products, which get very expensive very fast. You want to avoid paying those high prices, but you also wonder if you'll miss your chance if you wait too long.
Never fear! I have some guidelines for making those purchase decisions with far less hassle.
Common holiday sales
The easiest way to get a discount is to just wait for a time when most industries roll back the prices.
Here are some holidays/seasons when products tend to go on sale:
- New Year's Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Valentine’s Day
- President’s Day
- Memorial Day/summer
- Fourth of July
- Back to school
- Labor Day/fall
If you buy from a manufacturer that doesn’t have a lot of sales—or the next sale is a ways away, like when a March Easter just passed and Memorial Day is two months away—it may be worth purchasing now. Otherwise, you risk paying extra through inflation.
Just knowing these key sales will save a casual smart home buyer a few hundred dollars or so a year. But if you’re a hardcore smart home shopper or avid saver, there’s more to consider.
It’s common to shop by product. For instance, you realize you need a new camera or decide to invest in faster Wi-Fi. You want the best deal, so you scour the internet to find the awesome-est product for the lowest amount of money, and you don’t care who makes it or where you’re buying.
But sometimes it makes more sense to keep your eye on a specific company’s sales. For instance, if you have an Abode security system, you likely want additional Abode products that’ll work with your system. So a SimpliSafe 95% off sale won’t help you much, even if it’s cheaper and sooner than Abode’s sales.
Should you buy these smart home devices and services now or wait for a sale?
Not every sale covers all products. To guarantee that waiting will bring savings on a specific item or service, you need intel about that item in particular.
But you don’t have to go into corporate espionage to figure out when your dream products will go on sale. Most smart home products and services have recognizable discount patterns.
Here are some key items and whether I think you should buy whenever or wait for a specific time.
Because of this, if you’re really digging a phone model, it’s usually best to wait until the next model drops. Once a phone is no longer the latest and greatest, its price usually goes down.
It might seem unrelated, but a phone is a huge part of the modern smart home. How else will you access all those apps?
Or if you’re dead set on the hot new thing, carriers will try to outbid each other by offering discounts on the new model alongside a service plan. Speaking of which …
A lot of carriers run frequent deals! If you don’t need urgent coverage, check in often until you find a price that appeals to you. Also, contracts are going out of style, so you might even find you prefer to change providers frequently for the best prices!
Pro tip: when choosing a phone service, be sure to consider the whole package to more accurately compare sales prices. That includes discounts on new phone models and free streaming services (more on that in a bit).
Wi-Fi isn’t something you can usually get on sale. There are only so many internet providers available in one area, so they don't have the incentive to offer a lot of deals. You’ll sometimes see the price drop at the end of the year (a holiday gift to yourself!), but internet service is something you can’t wait for.
So I recommend signing up for service as needed. If you wait for a sale, you'll wait for who knows how long!
TVs frequently have discounts at major retailers, especially around the winter holidays. Look for major price drops on Amazon or at your local Costco or Best Buy especially.
For streaming, Black Friday sales are where it’s at! We’ve gotten up to a year of streaming at a heavy discount this way.
You can also consider jumping to a brand-new service—the prices are usually lowest at the beginning. And sometimes you can find bundles, like Hulu and Disney+.
But our fave streaming service hack comes when you switch phones or phone providers. See if your new phone manufacturer or provider will offer it for free! (Sort of … you’re still paying for phone service.)
Apple products come with free Apple TV+, and we’ve also seen phone service providers offer free or discounted Netflix and Disney+ subscriptions.
But be aware—streaming service prices increase so quickly that it might not make sense to wait too long. Sometimes it’s better to subscribe right away and binge everything you want to see! And you’d be in good company—tons of Americans are canceling services and joining new ones.
If you're buying something listed for sale on Amazon, you should be able to grab it whenever you want. Sales for non-Amazon-owned products can be unpredictable, so you may not always be able to get a discount.
But if you're buying something that Amazon produces, wait for the big semi-annual sales: the Prime Day sale in July and the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale over Thanksgiving.
You can sometimes even get them bundled with other products at low prices. For instance, a few years ago, I bought my brother an Amazon Echo Flex (RIP) and Amazon Smart Plug together for just $15.
Do you need something urgently? Then don’t wait for a sale!
After moving to our new home, my husband and I decided to wait a few weeks for the Prime Day sale before buying home security. A few days before sale time, someone broke into our garage and stole around $1,000 worth of restaurant gift cards from my husband’s glovebox.
And yeah, we got a sweet deal on our Ring security, but we lost more in the burglary than we saved in the sale!