What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in February
It’s February, and that means there are deals to be had and pricing landmines to avoid. Let’s dive into the best of the bunch. (See also: The Best Time to Buy Anything)
What to Buy
This month, you can expect post-Valentine's Day deals and much more.
1. Tax Prep Software
As The Beatles said, "Let me tell you how it will be, there's one for you, nineteen for me, 'cause I'm the taxman.” And it doesn’t have to be that way, if you prepare and get the deductions you should. But people procrastinate, which is why tax software is cheaper now and more expensive the closer we get to the April deadline. Buy it now.
2. Chocolate, Flowers, and Other Valentine’s Day Leftovers
Let’s make this clear. At the beginning of the month, you’re not going to see a lot of deals in this arena. But once Valentine’s Day is over, they’ll be everywhere. Chocolates in a heart-shaped box are still chocolates, but they’re 50%-75% cheaper once the day has gone. The same goes for flowers, cards, jewelry and other love-related gifts. Stock up.
3. Mattresses and Furniture
I’m not sure what the correlation is between Presidents Day and cheap mattresses, but boy oh boy the bed companies love to put deals out this month. So do furniture manufactures and warehouse stores. So if you're in the market for a new bed or a remodel, this is the month to buy the big items.
People don’t want to get married in February. And who can blame them, as many parts of the country are bitterly cold. June is the peak time, but that means if you want some big savings on one of the most costly events in your life, this is the month to get it done. Of course, you should have been planning this months ago, but if you’re up for a challenge, go for it.
The annual CES show just ended. That’s when electronics manufacturers do their dog and pony show and show off all the latest gadgets that are about to hit the shelves. And that means stores like Best Buy are in a mad rush to dump the old stock to make room for the shiny new gadgets. Go get your electronics and big screen TVs at a nice discount.
6. Bicycles and Motorcycles
In the winter months, bike riding of either kind is nowhere near as fun. And that equates to low sales for the bike stores. Take advantage of their discounts and get yourself a new bike for the spring and summer months at a price people will be kicking themselves over later on.
7. Humidifiers and Air Conditioners
Again, the seasonality makes this one common sense. We don’t have our A/C units on, not when an open window will do the job just as well. And so you’ll find bargains galore on humidifiers and A/C units.
8. Winter Coats
Just like January, stores are still trying to make room for the spring collections. Only now, they’re starting to get a little more “urgent” about the whole thing. Expect discounts of 75% or even more. Sure, you won't get much use out of it, but as sure as night follows day, winter will be back again.
Another fallout from Valentine’s Day is fragrances. Stores stock up on them as they’re popular gift items, then they want to clear the shelves for important stuff…like Easter! So, if you’re in the market for a new perfume or cologne, the end of February will be kind to you.
10. Video Games
The release date for the big games is the end of the year. By the end of February, those hot news games have gone lukewarm. And it’s the perfect time to pick up the new releases for a song.
What to Avoid
In February, step away from the suitcases (and these other items).
1. Cell Phones
Despite the CES show being over, there were no reports of any real groundbreaking new phones with killer features. So in turn, that means people aren't scrambling to get the new models. There is another show called the Mobile World Congress still to come in late February, but who knows if any stellar announcements will be made then either. So, hold your horses on a new cell phone.
For some reason, February is the most expensive time of the year to buy eyeglasses. If an optician would like to comment on why that is, we’d all love to know
Once again, people are planning vacations and want to buy their new luggage now. When demand is high, prices are too. Unless your tatty suitcases are falling apart, wait a few months to replace them. Or find some good used ones on Craigslist.
Deals are coming, but not just yet. The new models roll out in the spring, and that’s when the discounts will appear on last year’s models. It’s just a few months, so do a little window-shopping and wait for the prices to fall.
5. The iPad Mini
When Apple releases a new product, the hardcore Apple fans go nuts and grab one. But like every Apple product, there is a new updated, upgraded version just around the corner. By summer, the new iPad Mini will be on shelves, and when that happens you’ll see a price drop on the current model. Until then, you’ll have to make do with your much bigger iPad or tablet. Oh, the hardship.