Once Christmas rolls around, we might vow to quit shopping for a while. After all, who has the money to keep on spending? But let’s face it – we’re going to keep shopping because we like finding deals.
Like any other month, January is a good time to buy certain items – and a not so good time to buy others. That’s primarily due to seasonality. Retailers are thinking ahead and due to limited space, they need to keep big sellers and let go of merchandise that isn’t selling well.
Competition is another reason why January brings lower prices on some item. Whatever the situation, you want to save money. Avoid paying full price on the items you buy with this handy guide to January shopping.
Christmas Decorations: If your local store still has Christmas decorations hanging around after 2016 ends, snag them! They will likely be reduced by up to 90%, since stores want to be rid of them. You might not be thinking about gift wrap and ornaments once January comes, but it’s a great time to stock up and save big. Target, Walmart, Sears and Home Depot often have some items at great prices.
Fitness Equipment: Getting into shape is a popular New Year’s resolution. Many people may not act on their resolutions, but retailers hope you do. That’s why you’ll see a lot of deals on fitness equipment in January. Retailers will start marking down clearance items even lower. Sporting goods stores will offer a wide range of sales. Target, Sears and Dick’s Sporting Goods often have discounts of up to 50%. Groupon will likely have special offers as well.
Gyms will also offer special deals on memberships. Most gyms will eliminate sign-up fees and even give you a free month or two. If they don’t offer, ask. They will likely oblige in order to get you signed up as a paying customer.
Electronics: If you’ve been thinking about a new TV or laptop, January is a great time to get a great deal on an older model. The Consumer Electronics Show takes place in January, and new items are released just after this show. Once retailers get these new items in stock, they’ll want to get rid of the older models to make room. This is your opportunity to save big.
Winter Apparel: Winter apparel sales slow down in January, so the retailers’ losses are your gain. Plus, retailers are looking to add spring apparel at this time. Use this opportunity to stock up on sweaters, jackets and other winter apparel. Expect discounts of 40-50% at retailers such as Target, Nordstrom and Columbia. Amazon has been known to offer discounts of up to 70%. Check out the Best Places to Get Great Deals on Winter Gear.
Tax Software: The thought of doing taxes may elicit a few groans, but if you’re expecting a refund, January is a good time to purchase TurboTax or whatever tax software you use. Starting in January, prices dip down as much as 50%.
Furniture: In the market for new furniture? January is a good time to start renovating your home. Retailers such as Target, Sears and JC Penney typically mark down home goods in January. Expect deals of about 40% off, with some furniture marked down by as much as 75%.
Valentine’s Day Gifts: Get an early start on shopping for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. Diamonds and pearls will be discounted when you shop at department stores or online retailers. Flower and chocolate sales will start toward the end of January. Look for discounts of up to 25% off from retailers such as Godiva and 1-800-Flowers.
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Mattresses: You might not enjoy sleeping on your lumpy mattress, but if you can, hold off until late spring or early summer. That’s because mattress retailers tend to have sales around holidays such as Memorial Day and Independence Day. It’ll be well worth the wait – you can save as much as 50%.
Luggage: Hold onto your current set of luggage for a few months longer. You may be ready to travel, but make it easier on your pocketbook and wait until late spring, if you can. Since travel increases by then, you’ll be better off waiting for sales. You can score as much as 40% off a set of luggage by April.
Patio Furniture: Stores just got rid of their inventory in November or so, so don’t expect deals any time soon. Many stores may not have a lot in stock just yet anyway, since it’s not quite spring yet. The best deals for patio furniture are around Labor Day, when summer starts to come to a close. However, you might see some deals before then, so be patient.
Winter Sports Equipment: Now that many ski resorts have gotten their first big snowfall, skiing and snowboarding is now underway. If you haven’t gotten all your equipment yet, be prepared to shell out a lot of dough. Your best bet is to buy used or search Craigslist or your newspaper’s classified ads for a private party seller. The best time of year to buy skis, snowboards and accessories is in March or April – when the season ends. Remember this if you need to stock up for next snow season.
Jewelry: While you might be able to score some great deals on Valentine’s Day gifts, the best time overall to buy jewelry is in late spring and early summer. Once Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day is out of the way, retailers have a hard time selling jewelry until Christmas. If you must buy jewelry for Valentine’s Day, shop online and you’ll find better deals that you would in-store.
January has many great deals in store. You’ll also find not-so-great deals, so don’t be fooled. By learning more about market timing, you can buy items at the right time and avoid overpaying. Your wallet will thank you.