Welcome to January 2013. Last year’s gift season is over. The Super Bowl is coming, as is Valentine’s Day. Resolutions are still fresh and possible. Anything can happen in a new year, especially when it comes to bargain hunting. Here’s a chance to get started on the ground floor.
Some say January is a slow month for sales, but the hardcore shoppers know this is the time to come out and play.
1. Winter Clothes
Major department stores are the best places to look for great deals on winter styles they’re looking to push out the door. They’re making room for spring and summer items, so this is the time to strike for coats and winter accessories such as hats and gloves. Same for sweaters, winter shoes and other cold weather items. Some of these items may be last year’s style, so that may stifle the fashion-forward folks out there. However, classic looks never go out of style. Keep that in mind when hunting down the deals.
Swimwear? In January? Yes, this is a great time to buy swimwear. Retailers need to move any lingering items from the recent summer season that's left on the shelves. You’ll even see some advanced hype for the upcoming season and styles. And here’s a great incentive for you to get and stay fit for swimwear season: Buy the swimwear now, and stay mindful of it all year.
3. HDTVs/Home Theater
You have two things going for you when it comes to shopping for TVs and home theater systems in January. One, the Super Bowl is around the corner and retailers want to make sure you can see and hear the action in shattering definition and decibels. Two, the new models are also on their way. Retailers need that shelf space.
Finding a quality HDTV or home theater system is easy. You can research prices and performance online before you buy. But remember to stick to your guns and not be swayed by deals that are too good to be true. Few items carry such a high risk for buyer’s remorse.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Retailers have more wiggle room on TVs and accessories than you might think. It can’t hurt to ask.
If you work in a furniture store, January is a lonely month. Since it is typically a sluggish time for sales, retailers are willing to make deals to make room for their spring and summer collections. As mentioned above, classic lines never go out of style. And just like when shopping for electronics, be ready to haggle. Most furniture salespeople expect haggling from customers since the markup on furniture is notoriously high.
5. Fitness equipment
This category also includes fitness DVDs and gym memberships. January is when we all decide to craft a Wolverine body out of our bloated, post-holiday buffet selves. Gyms are still reeling from the recession, so their aim is to entice you with low monthly fees, free membership, and reduced or free access to trainers and classes.
If you want a home gym, look at it as a lifetime investment for your family. If you stick with it, the upfront cost will pale in comparison to a lifetime of gym membership fees.
Finally, frugal shoppers may want to look to online auction and sales sites to buy equipment that has been forsaken by owners who gave up the fitness fight.
6. Holiday giftwrap
So this one is pretty obvious – and not very exciting – but you’ll be glad you did it once the holidays roll around again. From wrapping paper to bags and bows, this is the time to buy. Look for deals on tape and packing materials as well. Purchase and pack up all your wrapping needs, put them away until the holidays and you’ll be way ahead of the game next winter.
7. Video games
Unless you absolutely have to have it, you should never pay full price for a video game. There are always great games on the market. If they’re a few months old but you’ve never played them, then they’re new to you. And they’ll cost a lot less than the $60 brand new sticker price.
January – especially mid-January – is a good time to hunt for games because the popular games people got for Christmas are probably in the used bin by now. Major retailers and game stores have great deals, but you might be better off visiting an online site such as Glyde.com, which makes it as easy as possible to buy and sell games.
If there is a category of retailer that is particularly overstocked in January it’s toy stores. Prices on toys they gambled on that didn’t sell are now slashed and the toys they couldn’t keep in stock during the holidays are likely on the shelves. Now is the time to stock up on gifts for birthdays and special events that you’ll need throughout the year. If you’re worried about being timely or gender appropriate, stick to board games, puzzles and classic toys that don’t go out of style.
It’s the right time for “white sales” on linens such as sheets, blankets and towels. Look for deep discounts at major stores such as Macy’s and J.C. Penney who are keeping with the tradition of white sales, which began in 1878 by Philadelphia department store owner John Wannamaker. It also seems that these sales are getting better each year, which means this could be the best January yet to buy your spring linens and lightweight comforters early.
10. Home Décor
For many people a new year means a clean slate, a time to start fresh inside and out. Inspiration may strike while you’re taking down your Christmas decorations and putting your house back together after the onslaught of family members who forced you to rearrange everything to accommodate them for gatherings or extended visits.
Take a look around. If there’s something you want to change, chances are it’s on sale. This is especially true for stores popular with wedding registries. Keep that in mind if anyone you know got engaged for Christmas.
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