What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in December

by Paul Michael on 3 December 2013 1 comment

It's the end of 2013 already. That zipped by didn't it?! It seems like only yesterday I was starting this new, regular feature for Wise Bread. And as predicted last month, the Xbox 360 did plummet to under $100! Now, with Christmas almost upon us, this is probably the most important update of the year. So, what's hot, and what's not? Let's dive in. (See also: 25 Tips for Smart Credit Use During the Holidays)

First, What to Buy…

Black Friday is behind us (phew), but Cyber Monday 2013 is on December 2nd this year. You are going to find deals for just about everything on that day, so this is not the place to list them. But once it has been and gone, what is still worth buying?

Thanksgiving Merchandise

Let's start with the obvious; now is the perfect time to raid the stores for next year's big event. You'll find killer deals on decorations, cards, cookware and much more. There are also going to be huge discounts on Thanksgiving themed food and drink. Grab it now; it's just as tasty.

HDTVs and Plasma TVs

Even after the massive discounts seen on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, HDTVs continue to be priced well under the suggested retail price. You'll see the biggest discounts from the less well-known brands, but even the big boys are chopping their prices. Plasma TVs are going to start being phased out completely in 2014, so if you don't mind the slightly inferior technology, you could get a real steal on a big screen TV.

Movies and Shows on Blu-Ray and DVD

With the HDTVs come big price reductions on Blu-Rays and DVDs. If you're looking for some great entertainment for yourself, or for gifts for family and friends, this is a good time to stock up on many of those movies and shows. (See also: The Ultimate GIft Guide)

Christmas Decorations and Goods

NOT before December 25th. But after that, it's party time! The stores do not want all that merchandise clogging up their shelves. Expect to see 50%–90% savings on everything from trees and lights to yard decorations, cards, and gift wrap. Remember, Christmas will be here again next year, so buy now to save later. (See also: Frugal Ways to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays)

Cars

As the year comes to a close, and the bad weather starts hammering most of us, car dealerships are looking to clear inventory. And they'll drop prices to do it. If you don't mind braving the weather on those cold, open lots, you could drive into 2014 with a great bargain.

Houses

Just like car dealerships, sellers of homes have it tough at this time of year. Most just take their homes off the market to ride out the winter months. So if houses are on the market, the sellers are VERY motivated. Now is the time to do some home hunting, and dare to undercut asking prices by a chunk. (See also: Things You Should Know When Buying Your First Home)

Kitchen Goods

Sales from last month will continue well into this month, as manufacturers know this is the season for cooking impulse buys. A nicely timed discount will tip people from "maybe next month" to "I'll take it." So with all the different holidays and events coming, you can stock up on new kitchen gadgets and save more than a few bucks.

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Toys. Really?

This one puzzles me, but I'm not going to question it. Deals on lots of toys pop up in December every year, even though they're in high demand. The only reason that comes to mind is the insane competition between all the different toys, and so manufacturers are cutting prices to grab your attention. Anyway, it's good news for you and the kids!

It's Tool Time

It's not a great time to be doing DIY, but it is a great time to stock up on the essentials everyone needs to get the jobs done. You'll see prices cut on all sorts of tools and equipment, from power drills (go for Lithium batteries) and bench saws to screwdrivers, wrench sets, and sanders. (See also: Cool Tool Gifts for Fixer-Uppers)

And, What to Avoid…

After Cyber Monday, you may still have a lot on your shopping list. If any of the items below are still on it, be careful and look around. Use the web, the deals sites, and consider gently used items. Otherwise, you are going to be paying top dollar.

Electronics

From digital cameras and MP3 players to video games and headphones, this is not the best time to buy electronics. A lot of older models will be replaced in the early part of 2014, so wait until then. If you must buy them, scour the deal sites and make sure you really are getting a bargain. (See also: 12 Essential Daily Deal Sites)

Jewelry

People love giving jewelry at this time of year. And when people love doing something, retailers love charging them top dollar for it. So unless you really have to drop some of your cash on rings, necklaces, and other sparkling items, wait until next year for that pricey item.

Calendars…Again

You are going to be very, very tempted to buy them, so you can pop them up on New Year's Day and start 2014 afresh. Don't do it. Within a few weeks, the prices will drop severely, by at least 50%. By the time February rolls around, stores will be almost giving them away. You can make it a few weeks until then, especially now that most of us have smart phones and computers with built-in calendars.

Gym Memberships

The New Year means New Year's Resolutions. In anticipation of this, gym memberships are bought as gifts or by people ready to start 2014 with a fit new attitude. Whatever the reason, gyms are going to be charging full price for the next few months.

Winter Gear and Clothing

A no brainer to end the list. It's cold out there. Snow shovels, big coats, hats, gloves, boots, and all the other winter gear is marked at full price for the next few months. If you really need them now, consider Craigslist or thrift stores to save some cash.

That's it. From everyone here at Wise Bread, have a wonderful holiday, and a safe and prosperous 2014!

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I never knew that this was the prime season for buying homes-- good to know!