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Smart Buying

Best and Worst Buys of November 2013

You'll find cookware, computers, TVs and more on sale, but wait a little longer to buy toys and winter apparel.

November is a deal hunter’s smorgasbord. You'll find a large variety of items marked down throughout the month -- especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving when retailers have big sales. However, not everything's on sale in November. That's why it's important to time your purchases right to get the best price. Here's a roundup of what you can expect to find on sale and what you should wait a little longer to buy.

What's on sale ...

Candy. If you have a sweet tooth, you can stock up on candy in early November because any Halloween treats that didn’t sell will be deeply discounted, says Brett Billick, a vice president for Deals2Buy.com. You’ll also be able to find a lot of manufacturers’ coupons for candy after Halloween.

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Computers and electronics. Black Friday is the best time to get a deeply discounted computer, according to dealnews.com. If you're looking for a deal on Apple products, you'll find deeper discounts -- up to 20% -- from retailers such as Amazon.com, MacMall.com and MacConnection.com than you will at Apple stores, according to to personal finance site CreditDonkey.com. You'll also find deals on electronics the first two weeks of November, according to a Savings.com analysis.

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Cookware. Retailers mark down pots, pans and kitchen accessories just in time for the holiday cooking season. According to dealnews.com, there are more cookware deals in November than in any other month. Discounts range from 30% to 80%, depending on the retailer. In particular, look for cookware sales on Black Friday or Cyber Monday -- the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend when online retailers mark down items.

Frozen turkeys. All those turkeys that didn’t end up on someone’s table for Thanksgiving will be discounted as grocery stores try to unload excess inventory, says Luke Knowles, founder of FreeShipping.org. So if you’re planning a big Christmas meal, you can get a good deal on a turkey at the end of November after Thanksgiving. Some grocery stores also give away turkeys before Thanksgiving to loyal customers who spend at least $200 to $400 a month, according to CreditDonkey.com. So check if your grocery will be running a promotion like this.

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Televisions. Retailers often use televisions as their Black Friday door-buster deals -- items that are deeply discounted and in limited quantities -- to lure shoppers into their stores early in the morning on the day after Thanksgiving, Knowles says. Prices on off-brand HDTVs tend to reach record lows on Black Friday, and there are lots of deals on name-brand 32-inch to 47-inch HDTVs, according to dealnews.com. But for the best prices on name-brand big-screen TVs (55 inches and up) and home-entertainment systems, hold off until January or February for pre-Super Bowl sales.

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Wedding dresses. There's a decrease in demand for wedding dresses in November and December, so brides-to-be can find good deals during these months, according to CreditDonkey.com and dealnews.com. You'll also find deals on wedding supplies during these months when people are more busy planning for the holidays than for weddings.

Wait a little longer to buy ...

Holiday decorations. Sure, you probably want to deck your halls before Christmas. But 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.

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Toys. The lists for the most sought-after toys for the holidays usually are released in the fall. However, to get the best price on those toys, consumers should wait until December to buy them, Billick says. Retailers typically mark down toys to their lowest prices of the season about two weeks before Christmas. However, don’t wait until the very last minute to buy toys because stores tend to raise prices again just ahead of Christmas Day because they know that procrastinating shoppers are desperate to buy gifts to put under the tree, according to dealnews.com.

Video games. New video games are released in fall and highly sought after during 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, Billick says. 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.

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