What to buy and what to pass on in May

It's a new month, with new ways to save, especially with two major holidays coming up. But the best Mother's Day and Memorial Day sales are on some unexpected things, not your typical Mother's Day flowers or Memorial Day barbecues.

For starters, this is a great month to buy a new vacuum cleaner. Smart Shopping Expert Trae Bodge says she sees strong deals on vacuum cleaners, according to data on Slickdeals.netmaking this a great time to wrap up that spring cleaning. Last year, both Dyson and Hoover offered discounts. This year, Bodge says Target is offering strong deals on Dyson again. If you're interested in a robot vacuum cleaner, Bodge says, Samsung is offering a discount worth checking out.

Active wear is another hot item this month. Bodge says Dick's Sporting Goods has workout gear up to 40 percent off. Nike is offering up to 50 percent off. So if you need new active wear, now is the time.

If you need to stock up on health and beauty products, you have lots of options. Bodge says Nordstrom has 25 percent to 50 percent off beauty, which is a very deep discount. Ulta has buy one, get one 50 percent off on L'oreal and several other popular brands.

Be careful if you're buying flowers for Mother's Day. You'll see a lot of discounts, but Bodge says they're often based on inflated prices. She suggests shopping in other categories, such as accessories.

Bodge says Swarovski had strong deals and Kate Spade had a surprise Mother's Day sale last year. If you're interested in shopping early for Mother's Day, Macy's Friends and Family runs through Sunday, May 7, offering 30 percent off many categories.

Memorial Day Sales start just two weeks later. And it is all about the beds. Mattresses are very deeply discounted at the end of May. Jet has up to 40 percent off gel mattresses. Overstock is offering one of its biggest sales of the year: up to 65 percent off mattresses. If you need a new mattress, this is the time to buy.

Another area with great Memorial Day Sales is camping equipment. If you like to camp in the summer and you need a new tent, for example, Bodge says you'll find good deals there, too.

Neiman Marcus' Friends and Family event runs through Saturday, May 6, with 25 percent off both online and in store.

Also, if you're a Sam's Club member or want to become one, the club is running a special: sign up or renew and get a $20 gift card, rotisserie chicken, rolls, and a pie.

These are other things to avoid this month. Summer clothing isn't discounted enough yet. Wait a little longer if you can. Also wait for the back-to-school sales towards the middle and end of the summer if you're shopping for electronics and computers.