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All Contents © 2017The Kiplinger Washington Editors
By Bob Niedt, Online Editor
| December 2016
The season of giving is also the season of getting. You're likely spending lots of money purchasing gifts for friends and loved ones during the holidays. But proceed with caution: There are a number of things you shouldn't be buying between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Why? Because certain items tend to be considerably less expensive outside the peak holiday shopping season.
We reached out to deal experts to give us the particulars on what not to buy during the holidays. Here are 15 things they say you will be better off purchasing at other times of the year.
Andrea Browne Taylor and Cameron Huddleston contributed to this slideshow.
Forget the notion of waking up on Christmas morning to find a new car in the driveway. Instead, think New Year's Eve (during business hours, of course) to get the best deal on a new vehicle. Car dealers are in the mood to haggle and clear their inventory before year's end to make room for new models and earn manufacturer incentives.
Looking for a used car? Hold off until April for the best deals. It's the month dealers tend to buy the most at auction, giving you the best selection.
SEE ALSO: 13 Ways to Waste Money During the Holidays
You might see a few sales on fitness gear and apparel in late November and December, but January is when the real deals appear on exercise equipment, according to Benjamin Glaser of DealNews.com.
Hey, we've all done it and retailers know it: We resolve to lose weight and get fit in the New Year. To that end, those retailers have sales on fitness equipment in January. Look for markdowns of 30% to 70% on fitness DVDs, treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and complete home gyms.
SEE ALSO: 9 Secrets to Shopping at Best Buy
Cruising during the holidays can often mean more crowds and higher fares, says Colleen McDaniel, managing editor of Cruise Critic. By booking a cruise for January, February or March, you can take advantage of lower fares, avoid the holiday crowds and beat the spring break rush. The industry's "wave season" also takes place during that time, when cruise lines offer added discounts that may help you save even more on your trip, she says. You can score some of the best cruise deals if you book at the last minute -- just don't expect the really cheap tickets to get you a stateroom with a view.
If you're considering stocking up on bedding during the holidays -- we're talking everything from comforters to sheets and pillow cases -- wait a few weeks longer for even deeper discounts, according to the deals website BensBargains.com. Take advantage of "white sales" in January at big-name retailers including Macy's, Target and Kohl's. Savings on bedding during these annual sales can add up to as much as 50%.
SEE ALSO: 8 Things Kohl's Shoppers Need to Know
You can get two tickets for the price of one to several popular shows during Broadway Week (which is actually two weeks). In 2017, it runs from January 17 to February 5. The twofer tickets go on sale January 5. Some shows might even offer the discount for up to four weeks, according to one Broadway insider we spoke with.
In general, January and February are good months to see Broadway shows. It's off-season and the dead of winter, so ticket prices tend to drop. Avoid the crush between Christmas and New Year's.
If you need to spruce up the living or dining room before guests arrive for the holidays, don't expect to find a good deal on a sofa or table and chairs before Christmas. Instead, wait until after Christmas, when furniture stores hold clearance sales to make room for new styles that are usually released in February. For example, furniture retailer Room & Board has an in-store and online clearance sale once a year, typically the day after Christmas. Expect discounts of up to 50% on discontinued furniture styles and in-store floor samples.
Also, many stores offer 0% financing along with the big discounts during annual clearance sales. Put this note on your 2017 calendar: Because new styles often are released in August, too, July is another good month to look for deals on furniture.
Gift cards are a no-brainer when you're stumped for ideas. However, if you can hold off until after the holiday shopping frenzy has died down to purchase gift cards, you could save yourself some money.
Here's the scoop from deals experts: Some people who receive unwanted gift cards for the holiday turn around and sell them for cash online. Web sites such as CardCash.com and Cardpool.com buy the gift cards at a steep discount and re-sell them below face value. Since sites typically get flooded with gift cards right after the holidays, the average card price is driven down due to the increased inventory. Also on eBay right after the holidays, gift cards can sell for up to 15% cheaper than the original price.
SEE ALSO: 8 Worst Things to Keep in Your Wallet During the Holidays
Hold off on gifts for winter sports enthusiasts until the New Year. Snowboards, skis, ice skates, goggles, hockey gear and more will be marked down at least 10% to 20% in January, according to DealNews. If you can wait a bit longer, expect even deeper discounts during clearance sales in February and March when the winter sports season winds down.
SEE ALSO: 16 People You Shouldn't Tip for the Holidays
A new piece of jewelry ranks high on many holiday wish lists. But high demand often means higher prices, 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. You can save 15% to 25% on jewelry during post-Valentine's Day sales, says Howard Schaffer of deal site Offers.com.
SEE ALSO: 12 Secrets Costco Shoppers Need to Know
If you need to replace a beat-up roll-on that's been tossed around too many times by airline baggage handlers, March is the best time to buy luggage. Retailers mark down luggage because sales have slowed after the busy holiday travel season and haven't picked up yet for summer travel, according to Deals2Buy.com, a deals and coupons website. Look for discounts ranging from 20% to 70%.
SEE ALSO: 8 Surprising Things to Buy in Bulk
You probably don't expect Santa to shove a mattress down your chimney. But if you were thinking about giving your holiday guests something more comfortable than a futon to sleep on, you might want to reconsider buying a mattress during November or December. You'll save as much as 70% by waiting until Memorial Day sales in May to buy a mattress. In the meantime, promise your guests a plush mattress next year and hope they don't mind sleeping on the couch this year.
SEE ALSO: Best Times to Buy Big-Ticket Items
Perfume sales often peak around Christmas and Valentine's Day. So retailers tend to discount perfume heavily after these holidays have passed. FreeShipping.org founder Luke Knowles says consumers can expect prices on perfume to be slashed by as much as 50% in late February and March, with the best sales at websites dedicated to perfume.
SEE ALSO: 9 Worst Things to Buy Online
Tools typically are discounted during Black Friday sales. But wait to buy a new drill, wrench set or tool chest around Father's Day instead. You'll save 5% to 15% more on tools in June when retailers have sales on gifts for dads, says Offers.com's Schaffer.
SEE ALSO: 9 Money-Saving Hacks for Amazon Shoppers
Retailers will offer discounts on coats, sweaters and other cold-weather clothing during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. However, the deals will be even better in January when stores have clearance sales on winter apparel to make room for spring clothing. You can expect to see markdowns of at least 75%.
SEE ALSO: 8 Ways Retailers Get Us to Spend More (Hint: Beware Mannequin Eye Contact)
Resist the urge to buy new holiday decorations before Christmas because you can get them at bottom-of-the-barrel prices in January, according to Glaser of DealNews.com. Retailers typically mark down ornaments, garlands, artificial trees and décor as much as 90% after December 25. If you don't mind the red-and-green theme or chocolates shaped like a wreath, you can also load up on deeply discounted edible holiday treats in January. Buy durable decorations that will last in storage until next year, says Glaser.
SEE ALSO: Best Things to Buy at Dollar Stores During the Holidays
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