What to Buy and What to Skip in December
Holiday shopping is getting serious, and everything appears to be on sale. But savvy consumers know that seemingly ubiquitous discounting doesn't necessarily make this the best moment to make a purchase. What, then, should consumers buy in December?
Related: 10 Hot Holiday Gifts and How to Get Them for Less
Black Friday is the best time to score deals on electronics, but December is still a great time to buy TVs. Ultra-high-definition 4K TVs are seeing major discounts this holiday shopping season. Shoppers looking for something cheaper can also snag a regular HDTV for a bargain price in December. Blu-ray movies and DVDs are reduced too.
Digital cameras, tablets, laptops, and the like are big holiday purchases for many folks but unfortunately not the best deals in December. The biggest discounts historically appear in November for Black Friday and again in January, when new models debut and the previous year's models are marked down.
Planning to spend a lot of time in the kitchen over the holidays? Kitchen items are typically marked way down in December. Even if you don't expect to cook much this season, a mixer makes a good gift for the in-laws.
Dec. 26 is the time to start buying Christmas decor for next year. And if you haven't had enough Christmas candy by late December, pick some up for cheap.
Some big-ticket items are better buys than others in December. With the wedding season at a near standstill this month, dress vendors are looking to make a sale -- any sale -- so discounts abound.
If you're in the market for a new home, try to buy in December. Many sellers take properties off the market for the holidays, and those who don't are truly motivated, which means more negotiating leverage for buyers.
When it comes to stocking the refrigerator, don't be fooled by the cold temperatures. Many fruits and vegetables are in season and cheap. Try incorporating beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, onions, potatoes, radishes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash into holiday dishes. Seasonal fruits include clementines, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges, pears, and tangerines.
National Pie Day, Eggnog Day, Candy Cane Day, Champagne Day, and Cookie Day all fall in December. Look for sales and treat yourself or pick up these seasonal favorites for cheap to share at holiday parties.
As a general rule of thumb, most products are discounted when they go out of season. Items such as skis and snow blowers are still very much in demand in December, so hold off on those.
Put off purchases of jewelry and watches in December. They're popular holiday gifts, so jewelers aren't hurting for business and are therefore less likely to feature deals or discounts.
Most winter clothing is still tagged at close to full price in December. Sure, prices may start to dip the day after Christmas, but that still isn't the best time to buy. Consider waiting until January or even February, when demand is down and retailers are eager to unload inventory, although the selection is more limited.
Linens aren't high on many gift-shopping lists, so they aren't typically on sale as the holidays approach. Many department stores host their annual white sales in January, so don't shop for linens and towels just yet.
Furniture is also a no-no in December. It's not until January that retailers get anxious to clear the showroom for new products released in February.
Retailers are well aware that most people want a calendar for next year before Jan. 1, so discounts are few and far between. For people who can briefly manage to stay organized without one, there are better deals in January.
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