Best and Worst Buys of December 2013
Only 11% of Americans had finished their holiday shopping by this time last year, according to the National Retail Federation. If that trend holds up this year, that means most consumers will still have a lot of shopping to do this month. Depending on what's on your gift list, you might be able to find some good deals because several items will be marked down in December. Unfortunately, you might have to talk your friends and family into accepting a rain check for some things because they'll be much cheaper after the holidays. Here's a roundup of what you can expect to find on sale and what you should wait a little longer to buy.
SEE ALSO: 12 Things Not to Buy During the Holidays
What's on sale ...
Champagne. Sometimes prices don’t rise as demand does. In fact, retailers occasionally offer discounts on sought-after items. That’s the case for champagne. Liquor stores mark down bottles of bubbly by 15% to 20% in December because they know people will be buying them for holiday parties, says Luke Knowles, founder of FreeShipping.org. They use the discounts to get customers into their stores in hopes that they’ll buy more than just champagne, Knowles says. Regardless of the stores’ motives, it’s a good time to stock up for less.
Christmas decorations. You can score some great deals on holiday decorations if you wait until after December 25, when you see discounts up to 50%, according CreditDonkey.com.
Gift cards. Look for restaurants to offer a free gift card with the purchase of a gift card this month. And, according to dealnews.com, some retailers offer free gift cards with purchases that reach certain dollar amounts. For example, L.L. Bean is offering a $10 gift card when you make a purchase of $50 or more.
Golf clubs. In most parts of the country, the winter is off-season for golfers – making it a great time to find a deal on a set of golf clubs. Brett Billick, senior director of Deals2Buy.com, says that national retailers tend to mark down clubs by 40% to 50%. For more ways to save money on clubs, see Ways to Pay Less for Golf.
Tools. If you didn't brave the crowds over Thanksgiving weekend to get a deal on tools, you can still find plenty of discounts on drills, wrench sets, ladders, storage chests and more, according to dealnews.com.
Toys. Retailers typically mark toys down to their lowest prices of the season during the middle of December. However, don’t wait until the last-minute to buy toys because stores tend to raise prices again because they know that shoppers are desperate to buy gifts to put under the tree Christmas day, according to dealnews.com.
Wait a little longer to buy ...
Jewelry. Because jewelry is in high demand during the holidays, prices don't drop much. So you may want to give your sweetheart a rain check and wait until after Valentine's Day to buy that pearl necklace or those diamond earrings, says Howard Schaffer, vice president of Offers.com. You'll find much better sales then than the meager markdowns that might appear around the holidays.
Video games. New video games are released in fall and highly sought after during the holidays, Knowles says. By January, demand drops so retailers have sales to keep video games moving off the shelves. Knowles says that discounts vary depending on how popular the game is, but you usually can expect markdowns of 25% to 30%.
Winter apparel. Apparel retailers aim to clear out winter gear and restock their racks by the third week of January, says Billick of Deals2Buy.com. To do so, they have clearance sales and offer plenty of coupons and merchandise promotions, such as two-for-one deals, he says. Expect sales that take up to 80% off winter apparel, and look for coupons that slash up to an extra 60% off, according to dealnews.com.