The holidays are officially here. Tis the season to be shopping. If you didn’t get everything on your Christmas list on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, then you’ll most likely be strolling the malls or surfing the Internet well into December.
In many cases, you’ll still see some great deals on Christmas gifts and essentials for holiday parties. Some items, however, won’t be going on sale until next year. So while December is, in general, a good month to shop, you won’t find everything deeply discounted.
What are some items to stock up on during December? Which items should you hold off on for several months until they go on sale? Read on for your December shopping guide to savings.
Toys: While you’ll see great deals on toys on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don’t feel too bad if you missed out. In December – specifically the middle two weeks – expect to see more sales. In fact, many Editor’s Choice deals will be on sale at this time. New toys tend to come out in February, so you can bet that retailers will take advantage of this by having sales right before Christmas. You know, so you can buy even more toys. However, don’t wait too long. Get your toys by December 20. After that, it’s slim pickings because everyone else will have already done their toy shopping. Plus, sales tend to drop off by then, so get your toys while they’re hot.
Gift cards: Gift cards are big around the holidays. That’s because gift givers find them easier and more convenient to buy than regular gifts. Many retailers tend to offer gift card freebies with special purchases. For example, if you buy many of the same item or purchase limited edition gaming systems or other high-priced items, then you might be treated to a free gift card. In addition, if you buy certain gift card increments – such as $50 at L.L. Bean – then you might receive an extra $10 gift card. Many restaurants offer this promotion. In addition, iTunes gift cards can be found for great prices in December. For example, you might be able to buy a $50 gift card for only $50. Twenty percent off deals are common this time of year, so look around.
Kitchen items: Chances are, you’ll be cooking and baking more in December. The good news is that kitchen utensils and other essentials will be at their lowest prices of the year. You might think that Black Friday is the best time of year to buy these things. While you will find some good prices, it’s a good idea to wait until December, especially if you’re looking for high-quality knives and bakeware. Editor’s Choice deals will be more prevalent in December. Check out Amazon for great deals.
Golf clubs: New golf clubs are released every year. Die-hard golfers only want the latest and greatest, but if you have someone on your list who doesn’t care that the clubs are a year old – as long as they are decent quality – then December is a great time to snag some golf clubs to place under the Christmas tree.
Pool: With rain, snow and ice in many parts of the country, very few people have swimming on the mind. That’s why you have to use this to your advantage. Pool companies have hardly any business this time of year, so if you decide to have a pool installed in December, expect to get an excellent deal. Wait until spring and the prices climb much higher. So if you’ve been thinking of getting a pool for quite some time, consider one in December. You’ll be glad you did once the 100-degree temperatures start rolling around in June.
Cars: Been considering a 2016 model? If so, December is the best time to buy, as car dealerships everywhere are unloading the 2016 models to make room for the shiny new 2017 models. To save the most money, schedule your car shopping for December 31, when the average discount is 8.8%.
Tools: December is a great time to buy a tool set, wrench or drill for Dad. That’s because many home and garden stores tend to have those tools still lying around after Black Friday has come and gone. Take advantage of these deals, but don’t wait too long. These items won’t stick around too long at these prices - $20 for circular saws! – so plan a visit to Lowe’s or Home Depot within the first two weeks of December.
Electronics: Black Friday or Cyber Monday would have been a good opportunity to purchase a new tablet or laptop. If you missed your chance, just wait a few months longer. Once 2017 rolls out, there will be newer versions of computers and mobile devices. Once the new stock comes in, the 2016 models will go on clearance to make room. So look for these sales in the new year, but not before Christmas.
Gym memberships: Gym memberships are pricey in general, but don’t expect any good deals in December or January, when everyone is purchasing memberships as part of their New Year’s resolutions. Want to stay fit or build some muscle? Look for cheap gym equipment on Craigslist in the months following Christmas. By this time, many people will have given up on exercise, so use this opportunity to snag a great deal on a treadmill or weight set. Click here to check out our top picks for the Best Gym Memberships.
Calendars: Some people have to be prepared for 2017 and therefore will want to buy a calendar in December. Just wait a few weeks. Once January rolls around, calendar prices will be dropping rapidly. By February, you’ll find them for a buck. Better yet, just use the calendar on your tablet or smartphone. Seriously, do you even need a hard copy version anymore?
Jewelry: Many women expect pricey necklaces, rings and bracelets this time of year. Unfortunately, their husbands and boyfriends have to pay the price. Jewelers take advantage of this situation by charging high prices during the Christmas season. Huge sales are rare this time of year. Expect better deals around Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, so if you can, wait a few months.
Winter gear: Sure, you may need a coat now that it’s freezing. Winter gear isn’t something you think about in the middle of summer when bikinis and sunglasses are on your mind. But don’t expect any great deals on winter essentials this time of year. Prices for boots, gloves, coats and hats are going to stay pretty level because there’s a high demand for them. Once spring rolls around and it’s time to bring in T-shirts, shorts and sandals, you’ll see winter gear on clearance at most stores. This is the time to plan ahead and get your winter essentials. Your wallet will thank you.
Shopping is inevitable in December. There’s no way around it. You’ll need last-minute gifts, food for Christmas dinner, supplies for your holiday party. The list goes on. The goal is to get what you need without overspending.