What to Buy, and Avoid Buying, in February
It's February, and in many parts of the country the weather is miserable. There's snow, ice, sleet, slick roads, and backed-up traffic for miles. It's not exactly ideal conditions to hunt for bargains. But if you know you need one of the items on the list below, you could get a real steal if you weather the storm. (See also: 50+ Life Hacks to Win at Winter)
What to Buy
February is the shortest month of the year. It also brings some memorable events, including Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, Black History Month, President's Day, and the long awaited Winter Olympics, which open on the 7th. Let's take a look at the deals you can get.
1. Tax Prep Software
Ugh. Does anyone out there actually enjoy doing their taxes? Ninety-nine percent of people would say no, and the other 1% are accountants raking in the prep fees. Still, as it's such a painful process, most people put it off for as long as possible, so the tax software deals are out there now to entice you. 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
The beginning of this month is NOT a good time to buy these items. But once Valentine's Day is over, they'll be everywhere. Delicious chocolates in a heart-shaped box are still delicious 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 and save. Who cares if your candy is themed?! (See also: Wise Bread's Guide to Valentine's Day)
3. Mattresses and Furniture
With President's Day comes cheap mattresses; 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.
As we said in the opening paragraph, many parts of the country are bitterly cold. It's not the best time to have a wedding. No one wants to see pictures of the bride and groom shivering outside the church. 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. You'll see massive savings, if you can handle the weather. (See also: How to Plan a Last-Minute Wedding)
5. Electronics and Big Screen TVs
Last month, the 2014 CES show premiered all the latest and greatest gadgets, electronics, TVs, and media players. The current stock in stores like Best Buy suddenly doesn't look so cool. Who wants to buy a product that is about to be old news? Retailers 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 fat discount. (See also: The Best 3D TVs)
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. (See also: 10 Best Cycling Apps for $5 or Less)
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 Apparel
Stores are going to make room for their spring collections. And this month, they're starting to get a little more urgent about clearing the shelves to make way for the new goods. 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.
Valentine's Day is popular for fragrances. Stores stock up on them, as they're popular gift items. But then they want to clear the shelves for important stuff…like Easter eggs, Easter baskets, and Easter everything else! So, if you're in the market for a new perfume or cologne, the end of February will be kind to you.
10. The Wii U and Other Video Games
Nintendo was expecting the Wii U to go gangbusters. It was more a case of it being a big bust. Now, to try and drag their sales figures out of the basement, Nintendo is going to be slashing the prices. They also have to compete with the Xbox One and PS4. And that will not be easy. Also, 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. It's the perfect time to pick up the new releases for a song.
What to Avoid
We mentioned the more famous holidays of February. Did you know this month is also home to Walking the Dog Day, Ferris Wheel Day, Plum Pudding Day, and even Get a Different Name Day? As these crazy holidays come and go, remember not to fall for the crazy prices on the items below. They're not so good.
1. Smart Phones and the iPhone
The CES show is over, but it's not the place for smartphone announcements. There is another show called the Mobile World Congress still to come in late February, and that's when the latest phones and handheld tech advances are showcased. Also, iPhone 6 is expected to be released later this year, so wait a while, and you'll get an iPhone 5S at a lower price.
Once again, February is the most expensive time of the year to buy eyeglasses. We asked last year, and we'll ask again this year…optometrists of the world, why is it so expensive to buy spectacles this month?
With the winter killing morale, people are planning vacations and want to buy their new luggage now. When demand is high, prices are too. Unless your old suitcases are falling apart, wait a few months to replace them. Or find some good used ones on Craigslist. (See also: Best Things to Buy on Craigslist)
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. Again, if your fridge is dead, scour Craigslist.
Are you planning to make any largish purchases this month? Are you getting it at a discount?