I write this as another day of truly vulgar behavior is behind us. Yes, deals are great. I love them. But I did not go anywhere near the craziness today, and with so many tools now available to us, we don’t need to venture into the insane crowds to get bargains. Remember, Black Friday deals are not always what they appear to be, and you can often find better deals on Cyber Monday (without having to set foot in a store). So, with that said, let’s look forward to the last shopping month of 2014.
First, What to Buy…
So, it’s that time; the Christmas and holiday shopping lists are being made, and it’s time to start digging out the best deals to keep everyone happy and your wallet in check. Here are the deals you should pounce on this month.
If you’re smart, you can grab yourself some free money by buying select gift cards that come with incentives. You can get $25 to $50 in free gift cards by spending $150 to $200 on them. If you were planning to shop at those stores anyway, you’ve just bagged free money. Even places like Chipotle will give you a free burrito for buying a certain amount in gift cards. If you eat their food often, you’re golden.
When Thanksgiving ends, the stores are desperate to dump their stock to fill the shelves with Christmas goodies. Make a space in your basement or attic for the killer deals you’ll find on decorations, cards, cookware and much more. There are also going to be huge discounts on Thanksgiving themed food and drink. It’s still fresh; it’s just got a dated theme. Who cares?!
Thrift Store Goodies
If you aren’t shopping in thrift stores, you’re missing out on some unbelievable bargains. Most people are too busy with the upcoming holidays to bother listing unwanted items on eBay or Craigslist, so they drop them off at the local ARC or Goodwill. Not only will you find some items in like new condition, you’ll also get incredible bargains on items you can resell on eBay for a massive profit. One great find could pay for your whole shopping list, if you know what you’re looking for.
Christmas Decorations and Goods
Wait a second. Don’t go rushing out for these now. You need to wait until after December 25th. But after that, go hog wild! The stores do not want all that merchandise clogging up their shelves. Expect to see 50% to 90% savings on everything from trees and lights to yard decorations, cards, and gift-wrap. Remember, Christmas will be here again next year, so buy now to save later.
It’s odd, putting champagne on the discount list when this is the peak month to buy it. But, liquor stores are smart. They know that by making champagne a loss leader, they’ll make it back on the other booze you’ll buy. However, you don’t have to buy anything else — just grab the cheap champagne and celebrate in style.
As the year comes to a close, and the bad weather comes rushing in, car dealerships are clearing out inventory. They’ll drop their prices to do it, and offer huge incentives. If you don’t mind braving the weather on those cold, open lots, you could drive into 2014 with a great bargain. However, it’s always better to buy used, even if it’s just a year old. New cars depreciate quickly.
Just like car dealerships, sellers of homes have it tough at this time of year. Most just take their homes off the market to ride out the winter months. So if houses are on the market, the sellers are very motivated. Now is the time to do some home hunting, and dare to undercut asking prices by a chunk.
Manufacturers know this is the season for cooking impulse buys, and they’ll do what they can to lure you in. A nicely timed discount will tip people from “maybe next month” to “I’ll take it.” So with all the different holidays and events coming, you can stock up on new kitchen gadgets and save more than a few bucks. Also, consider wedding gifts, which may be coming up in the spring.
Toys Go Cheap
Deals on lots of toys pop up in December every year, even though they’re in high demand. There is insane competition between all the different toys, and so manufacturers are cutting prices to grab your attention. It’s good news for you and the kids, but there is a catch — you’ll have to wait until Mid-December.
Tool Prices Are Cut
It’s not a great time to be doing DIY, but it’s a great time to stock up on the essentials everyone needs to get the jobs done. You’ll see prices cut on all sorts of tools and equipment, from power drills (go for Lithium batteries) and bench saws to screwdrivers, wrench sets, and sanders.
And, What to Avoid…
With the exception of Cyber Monday, there are some deals that are too good to be true in December. With 2015 quickly approaching, you may see some good offers on older equipment, gadgets, and appliances. Make sure you’re okay with dated products before you dive in. Here are other things to avoid this month.
I said it last year, and I’ll say it again. Gym memberships and subscriptions hit a peak in the New Year, and they are starting to see those increase in December. A lot of people like to have the membership in place, so that they can get straight down to the hard work in the first week of January. It’s going to be this way for a while, so just find another way to stay fit. Craigslist will have some killer deals thanks to new equipment for Christmas.
Aside from Cyber Monday, the best deals for your electronic gadgets have come and gone. What’s more, any deals you may find will be on the 2014 stock that retailers are trying to clear out before the 2015 goodies arrive in the New Year. Do yourself a favor, and wait it out.
People love giving jewelry at this time of year. And when people love doing something, retailers love charging them top dollar for it. So unless you really have to drop some of your cash on rings, necklaces, and other sparkling items, wait until next year for that pricey item.
Unless you absolutely have to put a brand new calendar up on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, you should steer clear of calendars. They are expensive right now. Full price, everywhere you look. But come a few weeks into 2015, the prices will start to fall like the rain in Seattle. You can expect to save at least 50%, and when February comes around, stores everywhere will be almost giving them away. Really, with the smartphones and tablets, does anyone really need them as reminders anymore?
Winter Gear and Clothing
It’s cold out there. Snow shovels, big coats, hats, gloves, boots, and all the other winter gear is marked at full price for the next few months. If you really need them now, consider Craigslist or thrift stores to save some cash.
This article is from Paul Michael of Wise Bread, an award-winning personal finance and credit card comparison website. Read more articles from Wise Bread: