Published January 04, 2013
Some Items Aren't on Sale in January
Shopping after New Year's is all about timing.
While some items are back to full price (after almost two months on sale), you can score significant discounts by waiting for end-of-month or Presidents Day sales. (Can you say "small appliances and furniture"?)
With other goods, spring or summer can bring even better deals.
Want to get the most for your money? Here are a few items that likely won't be on sale this month -- along with a handful of things that could be sporting some healthy new price tags.
Don't Buy Mattresses, Furniture in January
"Mattresses are not good buys in January," says Sharon Banfield, director of public relations for PriceGrabber.com.
Expect better deals: in February. "Most of the sales occur over the Presidents Day holiday weekend or July Fourth holiday weekend," she says. "That's significant for a mattress -- it's something people have for a decade or more."
What you can save if you wait: "at least 30%," says Banfield.
Likewise, if you're considering buying furniture but don't need it right away, you may want to wait a few weeks, says Michelle Madhok, founder of SheFinds.com.
"The new models are coming out in February, so the furniture won't be on sale until February," she says.
What you can save: up to half off on some of last year's models, says Madhok.
What is on sale in January: holiday trimmings. From wrapping paper to ornaments to home-decor items, "You can save 70 (percent) to 75%," says Banfield. "It's very substantial."
Don't Buy Luggage in January
Another item that's often full price in January: luggage.
"It's not a good time to buy," says Sharon Banfield, director of public relations for PriceGrabber.com.
Expect better deals: "in March, in time for spring break and April, in time for vacations," says Banfield. And in spring, people already are planning summer vacations, "so luggage is on sale," she says.
You save 20% to 25%, on average, if you wait, she says.
Or hit a Presidents Day sale and save 20% to 40% if you combine sales and coupons -- or get extra markdowns on merchandise that got its first price cut during January sales, says Hillary Mendelsohn, author of "thepurplebook" online shopping series and founder of ThePurpleBook.com.
What is on sale in January: winter clothing.
"Retailers want to clear their inventories for all the spring collections," says Banfield. "Depending on the retailer, you can find 40 (percent) to 50% off."
And coats and sweaters will be especially good buys, she says. "It's going to be picked over. But if you feel like waiting and if those gift cards are burning a hole in your pocket, you can find some substantial savings."
Don't Buy Patio Accessories in January
Common wisdom would say you can drive your best bargain on grills and patio furniture in the middle of the winter, right?
Not necessarily, says Hillary Mendelsohn, author of "thepurplebook" online shopping series and founder of ThePurpleBook.com.
Because retailers have cleared their outdoor goods in September and October, they're just beginning to get in their new merchandise now, she says.
Expect better deals: "You actually wait until close to Memorial Day," Mendelsohn says. Then you can save about 20%.
What is on sale in January: home improvement supplies.
Just in time for those New Year's home improvement resolutions, find about 15% off on everything from flooring and carpeting to tools, says Sharon Banfield, director of public relations for PriceGrabber.com.
And in some situations, you can find 25% to 50% off carpeting (by the room), says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation.
Don't Buy New Tech in January
This month, prices on electronics are "a mixed bag," says Sharon Banfield, director of public relations for PriceGrabber.com.
"You will find a lot of great deals because it's post-Christmas," she says. But new models introduced at January's Consumer Electronics Show will often carry higher prices, she says.
What is on sale in January: older tech. "If you want to go ahead and buy the old model, there's a great deal," Banfield says. What you'll save depends on the type of device, the maker and the retailer, "but again, they're going to be older versions."
Look for sales on TVs. "If a person pays full price for a television from now till March or April, they're not looking at their opportunities," Banfield says.
Expect better deals: Banfield predicts markdowns of 15% to 20% on TVs in January. And look for deals leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
Hillary Mendelsohn, author of "thepurplebook" online shopping series and founder of ThePurpleBook.com, believes consumers can do even better, especially on large-screen TVs.
"Right after Jan. 1, you're going to start seeing big deals for big televisions -- 20 (percent) to 30%," she says. "It's the best you're going to get all year."
Don't Buy Small Appliances in January
Looking to buy something such as a coffee maker, microwave or foot massager? You could get a better deal if you hold off just a few weeks.
Expect better deals: Along with November and December sales, you'll find some of the best prices at white sales, which begin at the end of January and peak in February, says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation.
"Presidents Day sales are usually good for things in the home," Butler says. Wait until late January or February, and you can save up to 30%, he says.
Ditto china, crystal and silver, he says. "While it's typically not on sale most of the month, white sales can yield savings of 20 (percent) to 35%," he says.
What is on sale in January: department store cosmetics. January specials feature cosmetic sets at special prices, Butler says. Unlike the holiday sets that often contain "more elaborate or gifty items, these are things people can use in their everyday lives," he says.
Don't Buy Winter Sports Gear in January
People think winter sports gear goes on sale after the holidays, says Hillary Mendelsohn, author of "thepurplebook" online shopping series and founder of ThePurpleBook.com. While it "may go on a slight discount, it won't go on a deep discount until after the winter sports season," she adds.
Expect better deals: starting in March, April and May, says Mendelsohn. At that point, you'll find everything from skis, snowboards and winter sportswear at 50% to 60% off, she says.
What is on sale in January: fitness equipment and gym memberships.
If you want to outfit that home gym, you can find some deals in January. Big-ticket fitness items, such as treadmills and elliptical machines, will be 15% to 25% off, Mendelsohn says.
Or you can save on a gym membership. While many gyms run January specials, there's always room to negotiate, she says. "Whatever special they're advertising, you can always probably get more," she says.
So take that January special as the start to negotiations, says Mendelsohn, and "ask, ask, ask."