While the media tends to focus on shopping events like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Free Shipping Day, the sales and clearance deals you'll find right after Christmas just might trump them all. The key to maximizing your savings is to know which items tend to be marked down the most, as well considering events in early 2016 where you may need a gift. Buy it now, store it, and save a bunch of money. Here are the eight best post-Christmas deals worth considering.
1. Clothing and Outerwear
Aside from Cyber Monday and Free Shipping Day, perhaps the best time to stock up on clothing are the days right after Christmas. Last year, for instance, Nordstrom Rack sold clearance items for an additional 25% off through January 4th. On December 26th, Victoria's Secret had an in-store promotion for buy one bra, get one 50% off, while Macy's marked down all sweaters by 65%. Also last year, Banana Republic had a coupon code good for 50% off your entire online order. Look for more of the same deals this year.
Also, due to the incredibly warm weather right now in the eastern U.S., winter apparel is not exactly flying off the shelves. The good news is that many stores are trying to unload excess inventory of jackets, sweaters, boots, and scarves and offering deals up to 60% off. Look for these sales from retailers like Macy's, TJ Maxx, Gap, and Lands' End to continue right through the New Year. This really is a great time to stock up for next year's winter.
2. Christmas Decor and Wrapping Paper
I'm always surprised by the number of shoppers I see walking around before Christmas with a cart full of wrapping paper and decorations. Apparently, they haven't received the memo that the absolute best time to stock up on that stuff is right after Christmas. No joke, you'll find wrapping paper, decorations, bows, ornaments, and the like, at 40%–75% off. Retailers have no place to store their extra inventory and will practically give it away. The stores that typically have the best deals include Lowe's, Home Depot, Target, Walmart, and even Pottery Barn. (See also: 15 Cheap, Clever, and Attractive Ways to Save on Gift Wrapping Paper)
3. Wedding Gifts
While the wedding season won't roll around for another five months, it's still a great time to save money on a potential gift. If you know you'll be attending a matrimonial ceremony in the near future, take advantage of after-Christmas sales on small appliances, home decor, dishware, and housewares. Retailers that typically have their best sales of the year include JCPenney, Macy's, Crate & Barrel, and World Market.
4. Fitness Equipment
One of the most popular New Year's resolutions is to get in shape. To entice consumers to make a fitness equipment purchase, retailers like Sears, Sports Authority, and Dick's Sporting Goods start offering some pretty attractive incentives and coupons starting December 26th and going right through the New Year. Last year, we saw Sports Authority offer $50 off your order of $250 or more, and Sears was selling elliptical machines and treadmills from NordicTrack, ProForm, and AFG for 50% off the original price tag.
5. Teacher Gifts
With three elementary-aged kids, this is a tip my wife and I use. We routinely pick up a few teacher gifts that are on sale right after Christmas. We then store them until the end of May, when our kids give them to their teachers. If your kids give Christmas gifts to their teacher every December, stock up when ornaments and decorations are being sold for 75%–90% off the original price right after the holidays. This way, you won't be scrambling for last-minute teacher gifts next year.
Last year, starting on December 26th, we saw retailers like Best Buy, Sears, and Walmart slash the prices on overstocked HDTVs. Look for more of the same this year and be prepared to arrive when the doors open to secure a deal. While there will be some name brand models on sale, look for the best deals from third tier manufacturers like Westinghouse, Element, Insignia, RCA, and Ultra. Last year many of the prices were very similar to what we saw on Black Friday, making it a great day to save.
7. Baby Gear
This is another one of those out-of-the box ways to think about your spending. If you have a friend or family member expecting a baby in the next few months, right after Christmas is a terrific time to look for a baby shower or newborn gift on the cheap. Historically, retailers like Gymboree, Babies R Us, Hanna Andersson, and Children's Place have some amazing sales after the holidays as they start to clear out older merchandise.
8. Future Holiday Gifts
In particular, consider gifts for upcoming holidays like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. After-Christmas sales can often be a great time to save money on jewelry, tools, personalized gifts, and small kitchen appliances. Retailers to consider, both online and in-store, include Home Depot, Zales, Shutterfly, and Macy's, as they're famous for slashing prices right after Christmas through January 1st.
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