What Not to Gobble up in November
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Talk about two-faced: When it comes to bargains, November is almost two different months.
For most mortals, November is November until the calendar says otherwise. But for shopping fanatics, bargainistas and retailers, the days after Thanksgiving are when the serious price cuts really begin.
So while you may find limited markdowns before Turkey Day, afterward "it's hard to find things that aren't on sale," says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation.
During the first three weeks of November, there are bargains, too -- everything from frozen turkeys to futons to older-model TVs to car tires.
But if you're shopping sales and bargains, there are a handful of items you will probably have to avoid until the holiday shopping season begins. Here are four things that likely won't be on special for most of November.
If you plan to get engaged over the holidays, you could get a better deal on that diamond after Black Friday, says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. It's difficult to find bargains on jewelry in the first three weeks of November.
"A lot of people get engaged in December," Butler says. For fine jewelry, "December is by far the biggest month -- it can be 30 (percent) to 35% of a jeweler's sales for the year." Because of the competition for that demand, discounts on fine jewelry can be found as the holiday shopping season kicks off, he says.
Another item that tends to be full-priced until holiday sales: fine watches, says Sharon Banfield, director of public relations for PriceGrabber.com.
Expect better deals: "If you're looking at jewelry, you want to wait until the end of November and the beginning of December," Butler says.
What is a bargain now: During the first three weeks of November, look for deals on costume and bridge jewelry of "up to 50% off," Butler says.
For those who seek a ring of a very different stripe: Tires are often a bargain in November, Banfield says. With winter weather imminent in many parts of the country, look for discounts of about 15%, she says.
Holiday collectibles -- everything from limited runs of fine china and stemware (2013 Champagne flutes, anyone?) to special editions of high-end dolls -- are in stores now. But you likely won't find them on sale in November or anytime soon, says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation.
Expect better deals: While retailers often mark down the leftovers after the New Year's confetti has been swept away, there are no guarantees that the item you want will be available, he says.
If you are interested in anything that is made and marketed for only a short time, "you need to shop early," Butler says.
What is a bargain now: Personal care and grooming products -- such as massagers, shavers, heating pads and the like -- are often 25% to 40% off during the first weeks of November, Butler says.
It can pay off to procrastinate when it comes to buying calendars and planners.
If you're buying 2013 calendars and planners in November 2012, you're likely going to be paying list price, says Andrea Woroch, savings expert with CouponSherpa.com. "I would recommend holding off," she says.
Expect better deals: After New Year's. " If you wait until January, you're already going to find better prices," Woroch says. Look for deals of up to 40% off, she says.
What is a bargain now: Mark November's calendar if you or someone in your family likes toys: Nov. 10 is Neighborhood Toy Store Day.
You'll find demonstrations, discounts and gifts with purchase at a lot of independently owned toy stores, says Kathleen McHugh, president of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association. It's all about "cookies and fun," she says.
The good news is that you really can buy peonies in November. And you can get some gorgeous colors, such as coral and burgundy, says Carol Caggiano, spokeswoman for the Society of American Florists.
The bad news is that, in November, most peonies are flown in from New Zealand. The price is about double what you'd pay when they're in season locally, she says.
Expect better deals: In May, when peonies are in season, you can find them for about half of what you'd pay in November, Caggiano says.
What is a bargain now: Chrysanthemums. "You'll see some varieties not normally available, and the color range is spectacular," Caggiano says. Everything from deep purples to bronzes to rusts and deep burgundies, she says. This time of year, they're usually at the peak of their season, "and usually they're at their best, as far as quality."
In the market for a new TV? You might want to wait until December -- or at least the last week in November -- to snag a better price, says Sharon Banfield, director of public relations for PriceGrabber.com.
Expect better deals: After the holiday shopping season begins, Banfield says. "You can get some fantastic buys -- between 20 (percent) to 25%," she says. But, as with most things tech, "If you're getting the latest and greatest of everything, you're not going to get the biggest discount."
What is a bargain now: If you don't want to wait for a holiday sale on a TV, you might find great deals on last year's models, Banfield says.
Or, if you're getting ready for holiday guests, it's good time to get a deal on new furniture. Many retailers offer markdowns of 20% to 30% off in November, says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation.
Need extra dinnerware, barware, cookware or table linens for the holiday feast? You're in luck, Banfield says. While deals will vary, she says, look for discounts of about 20% in November.