by Broderick Perkins
The cost of homeownership doesn't stop at the mortgage - or even insurance, taxes, upkeep, utility bills and maintenance.
Where you live would be little more than an empty storage locker if you didn't outfit it will all the creature comforts that make a house a home - and that also costs money.
You can, however, fill your flat with stuff you get at bargain prices, if you time your purchases to traditional sales periods.
That doesn't mean waiting until Black Friday.
To the contrary, two studies, one by Decide Inc. and the Wall Street Journal, the other by Sales.com, both reveal the year-end holiday season isn't the only time bargains abound.
Other reports from AARP and LifeHacker offer month-by-month buying bargains for everything from appliances to power tools.
Something's on sale every month. Here's the rundown.
January - Furniture makers introduce new models in January and retailers need to move out the old to make room for the new. Styles don't change that much from year to year. Cash in on models from the previous year.
Households want to roll out the red carpet for guests over the holidays, so they often buy flooring at the end of the year. Prices fall in January when demand drops off.
January's traditional "white sales" come with bargains on bedding and linens, though you can find these sales throughout the year.
Also, look for pre-Super Bowl sales on the latest LCD, LED, plasma and big-screen flat panel televisions in 2-D and 3-D, as well as other home theater products, which likely have been on and off sale since just before the holidays.
February - Who needs an air conditioner in the middle of the winter? Bargain shoppers.
Older model televisions could also be on sale to make room for the new models later in the year.
March - China and flatware deals grace store shelves in preparation for spring weddings.
Another harbinger of spring? Sales on gardening tools. The inventory may be picked over until the sowing season hits full stride, but that means you can harvest a decent discount.
April - Clean up on low prices for vacuum cleaners. When spring cleaning fully gets underway, prices will rise with the demand.
May - Sales and discount coupons for barbecue equipment, patio furniture and other items you use in extended living spaces outside your home, show up as spring gets underway. After the summer heat arrives, retailers cool it on sales on these items, until after July 4.
Many businesses start up after the tax return deadline, so expect to see some sales on office furniture you may need for your home office.
June - With Father's Day on the horizon, tools, with and without a power assist, can get your pop off the couch, out of the man cave and into some deferred maintenance work before it gets too hot.
July - Look for another round of furniture clearance items to make way for the year's second batch of new models.
Discounts also become available on kitchen appliances - refrigerators, ranges and microwaves.
After July 4, when the smoke has cleared, look for markdowns on barbecue grills.
August - Find sales on linens and storage containers in preparation for kids going to college and summer stuff getting stashed for the fall and winter.
September - Last gasp attempts to get you to buy stuff you may not use until next year include sales on grills and lawn mowers, but expect limited selections.
Stores make way for new appliances - other than refrigerators - by marking down old models.
October - Appliance sales continue, along with sales for what's left of patio furniture and other outdoor goods.
Looking toward the advent of more indoor events, retailers serve up cookware with bargain prices.
November - Holiday gift-giving season sales begin to offer some of the year's best prices on televisions and other electronics.
Appliance sales also continue to hit rock bottom and cheap tools are in abundance.
December - Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the weeks in advance of those shop-until-you-drop days, come with some of the year's best bargains continuing on televisions and electronics.
Because toasters, blenders and other small appliances are perfect shop-and-grab items for last-minute gift shoppers, retailers practically give them away.
Home improvements, contracted now, rather than during the busy spring and summer remodeling season, come with low demand-related discounts and negotiable deals that can be steals compared to the full price you'll pay in the spring.