What to Buy in May: Memorial Day Steals, Mother’s Day Gifts, and Star Wars Stuff

What to Buy in May: Memorial Day Steals, Mother’s Day Gifts, and Star Wars Stuff
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The month of May is jam-packed with holidays that give way to great savings opportunities. Mother's Day and Memorial Day are the two biggies, but even Cinco de Mayo, and the unofficial but increasingly legitimate Star Wars Day (May 4th) render great deals.

Consumers can expect sales on a variety of items including home appliances and grills, mattresses, Mother's Day gifts such as flowers and jewelry, and yes, all kinds of Star Wars-themed products.

We can also anticipate major sales from box retailers as the result of a more dismal fact: store closures.

"With what seems like more major store closings this year than past years, closeouts will be plentiful at these retailers in May," said Brent Shelton, online shopping expert at FatWallet.

Related: J.C.Penney to Close 140 Stores

JCPenney announced in February that it would be liquidating 130 to 140 stores throughout spring and summer. Sears Holding continues to narrow the brick and mortar presence of both Kmart and Sears (though many have already closed), and the women's apparel and accessories retailer Bebe is looking to close all its locations by the end of the month.

Home Appliances and Grilling Gear

"Memorial Day sales are largely about home goods, as households conduct spring cleaning and stores try to clear out the warehouse to make way for outdoor items," said Benjamin Glaser, features editor at DealNews. "Refrigerators and washers could see 20 percent off — major savings on expensive items — while discounts on toasters and blenders could top 30 percent."

Glaser points to deals on washers and dryers at Whirlpool Outlet, where using the coupon code "SIGNUP10" nabs you an extra 10 percent off. These items, which start at $539, also qualify for free shipping.

At Sears, the Kenmore 25-Cu. Ft. Refrigerator is retailing for $765, down from $1399.99, with free shipping. Also at Sears, the Craftsman Wet/Dry Vac is selling for $59.99 — not on sale, but Shop your Way Rewards members can receive around $40 in Sears points with this purchase, which also has free shipping. RetailMeNot is also offering $10 cash back for online purchases at Sears of $40 or more.

"Memorial Day is a big weekend for hosting outdoor barbecues and big box stores discount items in order to sell more," said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot.

Check out heavily marked down grills at Sears such as the Kenmore 4 Burner Stainless Steel Lid Gas Grill with Storage, on sale for $277.19, down from $399.99; and the Kenmore 6 Burner Stainless Steel Front Gas Grill With Storage for $494.99, down from $649.99. At Macy's, the Char-Broil Big Easy Smoker Roaster & Grill is on sale for $249.99, down from $499.99; and the George Foreman GFO240S Indoor & Outdoor Grill is on sale for $99.99, down from $149.99. Use the promo code FRIEND for an extra 25 percent off select home appliance items, through May 7.

Mattresses

"Thanks to spring cleaning, college graduates moving into apartments, and stores clearing out inventory, Memorial Day has become the single best time of year to buy a mattress," said Glaser. "You should get at least 50 percent off, and ideally you'll find coupons that stack addition discounts on top of those savings (which could take 10 percent to 40 percent off already-discounted items.)

We can expect more deals to roll out as the month goes on, but you can already find big savings at Sit N' Sleep, which names among its "Monster Markdowns" the Kingsdown Fantasy Firm, on sale for $519.99, down dramatically from $1,059.99, and the Kingsdown Fantasy Plush Eurotop, on sale for $609.99, down from $1,219.99. Over at Sears, save between 50 and 60 percent on mattresses such as the Sealy Response Kenney Firm Queen mattress, on sale for $349.99, down from $699.99.

Skirboll adds that via RetailMeNot, you can save 15 percent off your 1800Mattress purchase.

Courtney Jespersen, retail expert at NerdWallet advises consumers to keep an eye out for deals from Overstock and J.C.Penney, which have teased Memorial Day Sales but have yet to disclose full details.

Image: Mother's Day

Image: Mother's Day
Americans spent an average of $173 on Mom for Mother's Day 2016. Ross Dettman / AP

Mother's Day Gifts: Jewelry, Flowers, and Photos

"Mother's Day is another driver of deals and discounts in May, with coupons from gift providers like flower companies, gourmet food, beauty and fragrance, and spa-related discounts," said Kendal Perez, ‎savings expert for Coupon Sherpa. "Photo-related gifts are also popular for Mother's Day and represent some of the best discounts in May from specialty sites like Snapfish, as well as drugstores like Walgreens and CVS."

At 1800Baskets, get 20 percent off Mother's Day gifts with code 20HUG; 30 percent off $50 Mother's Day orders with code 30HUG; or 35 percent off orders of $99 or more with code 35HUG through May 11. At Murad, nab a free Mother's Day gift ($59 value) with any order of $125 or more through May 10 with promo code MOM. At Blue Nile get 15 percent off select regular priced jewelry for Mother's Day through May 12 with promo code MOM2017, and at Zales find 25 percent off Mother & Grandmother Jewelry through May 16 with promo code 25MOMAFF. 1800Flowers is touting 25 percent off plants and blooms through May 12 with promo code MDAYPLNT, and Snapfish is currently offering 50 percent off a photo locket necklace for Mom through May 16 with promo code 50LOCKET. And save 28 percent off prints at Shutterfly with promo code SAVE28RMN.

"Online stores and department stores also offer savings on Mother's Day gifts, with Amazon already providing discounts within their Mother's Day Gift Shop with deals on everything from jewelry to tote bags to Keurig machines," added Perez.

Star Wars Stuff

Why does Star Wars Day fall on May 4th? So that we can say, "May the fourth be with you." Yes, this is a geeky day indeed, but one that is seeing more aggressive deals over the last few years, as the franchise has recharged with new blockbusters.

"May the Fourth has become a major fan holiday for lovers of Star Wars. Stores have taken it up to, offering discounts and freebies for Star Wars merch," said DealNews' Glaser. "Look to the Disney Store and ThinkGeek for clothing and toys. Star Wars figurines are everywhere on May the Fourth, from action figures to Disney Infinity, for under $20. Surprisingly, Best Buy was one of our top stores for May the Fourth last year, with discounts not only on toys but on Star Wars-branded electronics."

Glaser suggests scoping out the clearance toys at Walmart. The LEGO Star Wars Carbon Freezing Chamber is also on sale at Walmart, now 17.49, down from $24.99. GameStop has the Star Wars Rogue One: Rebel U-Wing Fighter on sale for $16, down from $30, as well as the Star Wars Hoth Commando Backpack for $20, down from $40. ThinkGeek's May the 4th Be With You sale, which boasts savings between 20 and 60 percent off Star Wars merchandise through May 6th, is shaping up to be the best of all the Star Wars Day sales, if only because it features so many novel products. Take for instance, this Star Wars Space Collage Skirt for $44.99 down from $79.99; and the Star Wars Droid Kitchen Container Set, on sale for $13.99, down from $19.99

Cinco de Mayo

"Although Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday, American restaurants use the event as an opportunity to drive sales through drink and food specials," said Perez. "Last year, we saw free offers from Caribou Coffee and Taco Cabana, half-price specials from Taco Bueno, and drink deals from On the Border including 14-ounce margaritas for $4. Party supply stores like Party City also offer specials during Cinco de Mayo, with last year's deal providing a free pinata with purchases of $125 or more."

Related: Not My Guacamole! How a 20 Percent Tariff Could Affect Your Cinco de Mayo

Keep an eye on social media to find the most up-to-date local deals, especially if you're keen on Happy Hour specials and Mexican cuisine.

Reminder to Active Military and Veterans

Keep in mind that Memorial Day Weekend is not just all about retail sales for the masses; it's also about honoring those who serve and have served our country.

"Active military and veterans may receive exclusive deals and freebies over Memorial Day weekend, with many restaurants — including Applebee's, Bar Louie, Carrabba's, Glory Days, IHOP, McCormick & Schmick's and others — offering free meals to service members," said Perez. "Proof of service is typically required. Military also sees discounts and free offers over Memorial Day weekend from service providers including Meineke, Great Clips and Sports Clips, as well as complimentary admission to select venues like Legoland Florida and Colonial Williamsburg."