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Smart Buying

13 Things Not to Buy During the Holidays

You'll find better prices on these items if you wait a little longer.

Is there a new computer, tool or bicycle on your holiday shopping list? Hold on there. While you can find many great deals during November and December, you’re better off making some purchases at other times of the year. Here are 13 items that are even cheaper before or after the holidays.

SEE ALSO: Our Slide Show of These 13 Things Not to Buy During the Holidays


Prices have plummeted over the past seven years for some amazing flat-screens and big-screens. But if you really want to give that special someone the gift of HDTV, you might want to wait until February. Retailers will start lowering prices on last year’s models before new models start hitting the stores in March. The best deals follow the Super Bowl in early February. You could save a few hundred dollars.



Wait for “white sales” in January before buying sheets, blankets, towels and more. The tradition of department stores discounting linens in January started back in the 19th century. Now, even some catalog retailers follow suit, offering deals in their issues that come out at the beginning of the year. Look for discounts ranging from 10% to 60%.


Dad always has a list of fix-it projects to tackle around the house, but the holidays aren't the best time to score deals on new tools. Consider giving tools as a gift for Father’s Day in June -- when prices will fall by 25% -- instead of Christmas. Frugal Dad will be happy you saved the cash.

Snow Blowers


The Winter Solstice is the worst time to buy a snow blower. In cold, wet climates, March is the month for purchasing this big-ticket item, says Mark Di Vincenzo, author of Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That and Go There. You might really appreciate a back-saving snow blower before winter’s heaviest storms arrive, but you’ll appreciate even more the 30% to 40% savings you’ll find as winter ends.


Sure, it would be nice to give your spouse a new camera to take pictures of the kids throughout the holiday season. But you might want to wait until February for a better deal. The biggest electronic trade shows of the year happen in January and February, when new models are revealed. By late February, older models are being sold at discounts of 30% or more. Look for Presidents’ Day to be an especially good day to shop for sales.



February and March are the ideal months to pick up winter outerwear, such as coats, hats and gloves. Retailers realize that most people have already bought their winter clothing by then, so you can take advantage of discounting to fill your closet for winters ahead.


Skis during the holiday season may seem like the perfect match for that first winter snowstorm. But the best deals can be had in March and April as the ski season winds down, says Stephen Regenold, editor of Look for sales on models from the past winter.



Maybe you want to impress visiting relatives over the holidays by sprucing up your living room. But hold off on buying that new sofa. New furniture inventory hits showrooms in February, so look to save 10% to 50% if you buy in January, as retailers push to clear the showroom. Old models tend to be just as good, using the exact same frames as the new.


Forget the notion of a car in the driveway on Christmas morning. Instead, think New Year's Eve (during business hours, of course) to get the best deal. Car dealers want to clear their inventory before the end of the year. TrueCar, which collects automobile data, estimates prices on all vehicles nationwide will average 9.3% below sticker price -- the steepest discount of December. Looking for a used car? Hold off until April for the best deals because it’s the month that dealers tend to buy the most at auction, giving you the best selection.


The cold weather creeping up may spark thoughts of escaping to far-off, warm destinations. For those who want to hit the seas, though, booking a cruise is best after the holidays. Wait until “wave season,” which is January to March, to book a summer cruise, says Jaime Freedman, of TravelZoo. You’ll be met with an onslaught of deals as cruise lines compete with one another for customers. Rising airfare prices have made cruises increasingly enticing with their all-inclusive pricing, says Freedman.


As the riding season winds down for most people, you may think that bicycles are ripe for discounts. And you’re right, if you just wait a little longer, until after the holiday season. After the holiday rush, discounts are steep on older models. Shops are also more likely to throw in a few extra free accessories because they are looking for business during the slow winter months. Better yet, fewer customers means you’ll get more personal service.

Gym memberships

Many people make a New Year’s Resolution to get fit. That’s why health clubs get a wave of new sign-ups around the first of the year. Business tends to drop in the spring and summer, as folks go outdoors for their exercise, so shop around in June for cut-rate promotions during the lull. Seek a lower monthly rate or get your enrollment fee waived. Don't be afraid to haggle with sales reps; they should be willing to deal while things are slow.


If you can wait another year for a big-ticket appliance, you might be better off. New models of big appliances roll into showrooms in September and October, making autumn a great time to get a deal as stores clear out the old to make room for the new. Look for steep discounts during Labor Day weekend.