It’s easy to get lost in the blizzard of sales that hits every holiday season. Retailers hope to blow you away with promises of the lowest of prices and deepest of discounts. And while it is indeed one of the most wonderful times of year for many bargain-seekers, you may want to check your shopping list (twice) before plowing through stores. “Many people just assume Black Friday and before Christmas is the best time to buy everything, but it is not,” says Eric Jones, co-owner of deals site BestBlackFriday.com.
That’s part of why it’s a good idea to keep your holiday shopping in mind all year long. Since you pretty much know who will be on your list for gift giving, you can come up with ideas for them at any time of year and pick up their gifts when you find a good deal — no matter when that might be. “If shoppers are savvy enough, they can time their spending throughout the calendar year so they hit as many of these sale seasons as possible, which can lead to big savings,” says Courtney Jespersen, consumer savings expert at personal finance site NerdWallet.
A bit of bling might rank high on many people’s holiday wish lists, but if you can put your plans to buy diamonds and other jewelry on ice, you’re likely to find a better bargain later in the winter.
“Sales for quality jewelry peak in late January, after the holidays and a week or two ahead of Valentine’s Day,” says Brent Shelton of deals site DealCrunch.com. “Jewelers and department stores have their biggest and best sales during this time.”
You may be tempted to stock up on extra blankets and other bedding during Black Friday sales to get cozy for the holidays. But you can snuggle up to more savings if you hold off until after the turn of the year.
Jespersen of NerdWallet says that many retailers including Macy’s, Kohl’s, Overstock and Pottery Barn tend to fold their best deals on sheets, towels, comforter sets and other linens into their January white sales. Last year, she reports seeing savings of 50% or more on bedding during those sales, making them well worth the wait.
Between Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas cookies, we all know there’s more than one fat man packing extra holiday weight in his sleigh. And the time to start thinking about dropping some pounds is likely not until after the New Year.
“Very late December and early January is a better time [to purchase fitness equipment], with millions of people making New Year’s resolutions to finally get healthy and drop a few pounds,” says Jones of BestBlackFriday.com. “Stores know this, and they adjust prices accordingly every single year.”
Electronics go for incredible deals on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season. But if you’re in the market for a top-of-the-line computer, you’re better off waiting a few months.
“Although there will be select sales [during the holidays] that can help you save some money, the best times to buy newer and more powerful laptops is in late spring and mid-summer during back-to-school sales,” says Shelton of DealCrunch.com, “especially for MacBooks and the more expensive two-in-one hybrid laptops.”
You know all those commercials that show people surprising loved ones with a brand new car for the holidays? Turns out, not the best idea. Even if you could find a bow that big, you’re better off waiting until New Year’s Eve to buy a car to tie it on.
“Waiting until this day and a little haggling can yield an awesome deal on a new car that you may otherwise not have been able to afford,” says Jones of BestBlackFriday.com. “Dealerships not only have monthly sales goals to meet, but they have quarterly and yearly ones as well.”