Okay, I’ll say a word and you respond with the first thing that pops into your head:

Me: January

You: White Sales!

Excellent response — the very one I was hoping for to set the tone for this article. There was a time that our grandmothers patched the sheets while waiting for the the January White Sales.

But times have changed. It is increasingly a buyer’s market thanks to the advent of online shopping and so many retailers vying for our dollars.

Learning to "shop smart" is a great way to reduce debt and become a better steward. And in recent years some of the best sales often take place immediately before the related holiday or season.

Here’s a month-by-month guide for the best times to purchase all sorts of consumer goods:

January

Besides everything Christmas, this is the time to stock up on calendars, planners and date books while they’re available and at rock bottom prices. TVs are priced lowest during the two weeks prior to the Super Bowl.

Look for bargain prices on workout gear and fitness equipment to appeal to your New Year’s resolutions.

January is still a great time to land excellent deals on high-thread-count sheets as well as other "white sale" items like towels and blankets.

February

President’s Day is the cue for furniture retailers to offer blow-out bargains, especially on upholstered furniture. Watch for jewelry sales in honor of Valentine’s Day, and don’t be afraid to negotiate even the sale price on jewelry.

March

Even though it still feels like winter, home improvement centers haul out air conditioners in March and put them on sale. Other bargains: Winter sporting equipment and, oddly, frozen foods. March is National Frozen Food month so plan to fill your freezer with great bargains from Birdseye and Pictsweet for starters.

April

Home improvement items like flooring, house paint and gardening supplies are good buys now in anticipation of spring home-cleanup projects. And eggs—both chocolate and fowl. Think: Easter.

May

Mattresses and box springs are highly promoted from late May to early fall. This is when retailers gain significant support from the mattress manufacturers in the form of advertising and special offers. Memorial Day weekend is the traditional signal for big-ticket items like major appliances to go on sale.

June

If you’re not too picky, this is a great month to buy a wedding dress. What hasn’t sold gets highly discounted in anticipation of a new season of bridal wear. Home tools and hardware, dairy foods (yep, it’s National Dairy Month) and menswear are the hot items for June.

July

Electronics, including air conditioners (what’s left by this time in the season) and ceiling fans; craft supplies, summer clothes, shoes, swim wear and barbecues are offered at bargain prices this month.

August

Outdoor furniture, now marked down, is taking its last breath as the season winds down. Fresh produce is cheap this month as are school supplies and pre-season fall fashions. And white sale items are now offered routinely in August. My grandmother would be happy.

September