BUY THIS, NOT THAT, IN JANUARY
Have you spent too much on Christmas presents? Are holiday gift cards burning a hole in your pocket? Either way, frugal shoppers will find plenty of bargains in January, although some things should be put on the "wait" list.
BUY: CHRISTMAS/HOLIDAY ITEMS
Prices on holiday-themed goods take a dive immediately after Christmas and continue to fall throughout January. By early in the month, prices should be at least half off, albeit on a dwindling selection. Still, it's worth stocking up on holiday wrapping paper, ornaments, cards, and the like to stash away for next year.
BUY: WINTER APPAREL
Winter apparel prices are discounted even more in January than after-Christmas holiday items. According to retailers' calendars, spring is right around the corner and shelf space is in short supply. January is a good month to find a broad selection, good sales, and stackable coupons. February and March will see even better deals on winter clothing, but choices will be limited.
DON'T BUY: WINTER SPORTS GEAR
January is still peak season for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing, so there's no incentive to buy winter sports gear until the season ends. Look for attractive deals starting in March or April.
Prices on electronics began a downward spiral on Black Friday. That's when TVs typically see the biggest discounts, but after huge markdowns in November and December, January brings rock-bottom deals on other electronics such as tablets, cameras, and the like. The Consumer Electronics Show takes place early in January, which causes last year's models to hit clearance prices.
January "white sales" are historically the best opportunity to buy linens and towels. That said, June has actually surpassed January for linen and towel sales in recent years. Still, these are practical items to buy now if you don't want to wait another few months.
January is one of the best times of year to buy furniture, second only to November. Why? Because new models are released in February, which motivates retailers to start discounting old inventory the month prior. Consumers in need of a new sofa or dining set should plan to buy one in January.
DON'T BUY: MATTRESSES OR SMALL APPLIANCES
Mattresses are rarely good deals in January. Save more by waiting until Presidents' Day in February, when mattress sales pop up everywhere. Presidents' Day is also the best time to buy small appliances, so put off purchasing a new coffee maker or microwave.
BUY: HOME FITNESS GEAR
For deal hunters looking to kick their fitness levels up a notch, home workout gear is a good buy in January. If you're outfitting a home gym, bargain prices on exercise equipment abound. If your preference is following along with a fitness video, DVDs also will be on sale to start the year.
DON'T BUY: GYM MEMBERSHIP
Getting in shape is a popular New Year's resolution, and the local gym has no lack of new members in January. Hold off until warmer weather entices people to take their workouts outside. That's when gym proprietors will be eager to see your face.
BUY: SEASONAL PRODUCE
Stick to a resolution to eat better in 2016 with fresh and cheap in-season vegetables, including beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale, leeks, onions, and parsnips. Add some sweetness with healthy and readily available fruits, such as clementines, cranberries, grapefruit, pears, pineapples, and pomegranates.