Making a shopping list for anything other than holiday gifts right now might seem excessive, but there are deals to be had if you can stretch your budget to make a few extra purchases. January often brings statement shock from the past month’s expenses — last-minute gifts, holiday parties, things to wear to said parties — so if you can snag a few discounts now and in December, you’ll be grateful when those holiday bills start rolling in.
TVs are a big-ticket item on Black Friday, and if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on one, you’ll probably save a good chunk of cash. The key here is to know what you want (or at least acknowledge what you need) in a television before you get caught up in the adrenaline rush of buying something at an outrageously steep discount. If you don’t want to run the risk (or if you’d just rather spend the day after Thanksgiving at home in your pajamas), look for Cyber Monday deals or wait until spring, when new models are released and older versions get marked down.
If you’re in the market for a new laptop or desktop, you’ll find some tempting deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Not willing to wake up early, wait in line and risk a shopping stampede? You can still save if you buy an older model just before its new counterpart is released. Check tech blogs and manufacturers’ Web sites to stay on top of release dates.
If all that holiday cooking and baking has you lamenting your current set of saucepans and stockpots, now is a good time to upgrade. Shoppers seeking practical gifts turn to kitchen essentials, which means stores will offer discounts on them during the holidays. Check outlets and online retailers for extra-steep savings.
Scoring tickets to your beloved team’s home games can be as fruitless and frustrating as trying to track down Santa. But by December, half the league’s teams will be out of the playoff race. The result? Fewer fans want to sit in the cold to watch a game that doesn’t really count, so there’s less competition for tickets. You won’t be so lucky if your team is playoff-bound.
If you can stick to locally grown produce, you’ll do best by your budget. Look for broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and root vegetables. Need a juicy reminder of warmer days? Look for grapefruit, oranges and tangerines grown on the East Coast.
If you’re planning a spring vacation, start comparison-shopping for airfare now. Shop for rates early in the week, when fewer people are searching, and try to book flights that depart in the middle of the week or on a Saturday to save a bit of cash. Use a deal-aggregating site, such as Kayak.com, to search a bevy of providers for your preferred itinerary, and sign up to receive e-mail alerts when fares fall into your price range.
With plenty of cork-popping occasions on the horizon, stores order extra crates of the bubbly stuff around this time of year. Look for specials just before Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Got a sweet tooth? The days following major holidays are an ideal time to scoop up deals on chocolate and candy. Stop by your local mass retailer, supermarket and pharmacy to compare prices. If you want to maximize savings, pick up higher-end brands once prices get slashed.
Yet another gift that virtually anyone can use, small home appliances — think toasters, blenders, mixers and the like — make for easy last-minute purchases, which means stores often run promotions on them to move as many as possible. So if your kitchen needs upgrading, now’s a good time to buy some updated gizmos to bring out your inner Martha Stewart.
THE BOTTOM LINE Take advantage of post-holiday sales — Black Friday and Cyber Monday, primarily — to save on electronics, appliances and holiday items. Make a list of what you need and stick to it — you’ll save more by avoiding the temptation of too-good-to-be-true deals.