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Everything you buy has two seasons: a season when you need it most and one when stores desperately want to unload it. While these two rarely coincide, it pays to plan ahead if you’re looking to save some bucks, says Mark Di Vincenzo, author of Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00. His research has uncovered hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars that consumers can save just by adopting smarter ways to shop. “Some of this stuff is quite logical,” he admits. “It amazes me how even the smartest people I know can be lacking in common sense.”

A vacation. Hotel salespeople have quotas, says Di Vincenzo, and end-of-year bonuses are on the line. Even if you’re scheduling a trip for next summer, the salesperson can still count it toward this quarter’s business, and will be eager to get it done at any price.

A new roof. Shingles contain heat-activated sealant strips, which are designed to seal when they get warm. If you wait until the winter, the strips may never heat enough to properly seal; in the summer, your shingles may overheat and “scar.”

Housecleaning services. “A sad fact of the tough economy is that people tend to let their cleaning person go in November, to save money for the holidays,” he says.

A new car. Starting in September, auto prices continue to improve until year-end. “Dealers need to get cars off their lot to make room for new models,” he says. “My wife bought a car for $9,500 below sticker price.”

Camping equipment. Do you like to hike? Canoe? Kayak? In most parts of the country, by November it’s too cold for these outdoor hobbies, and sporting goods stores are eager to make space for spring’s new arrivals.

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