If you are among the Americans who manage to make it through the holiday season without decimating your budget, the new year presents a wonderful opportunity for bargains. So what to buy in January? Some stores are eager to clear out Christmas overstock, while others are simply desperate to generate foot traffic for out-of-season items and make room for new product lines.
With desperation comes deep discounts, here are 15 items that you can save big on if you're willing to wait until January.
There are few quieter places to spend a January afternoon than a motorcycle showroom floor in the northern part of the U.S. For the best deal, look for bikes left over from the previous model year and be prepared to drive a hard bargain. If you're shopping for a used bike, look for sales listings by private individuals. Anyone selling their bike in the middle of winter is probably eager to make a deal.
Carpet and flooring
Most customers in the market for new flooring will pull the trigger in time to have it in place for the holidays. You should find plenty of eager, attentive salespeople to wait on you and be ready to deal, just after the holiday season is over.
The newest, flashiest games have been on the store shelves for a couple of months already, so stores that high-balled prices during the shopping season will start competing on price, a game you can win.
As clothing stores prepare to cycle into their warm-weather collections, take advantage of clearances on fall/winter suits. Just watch your diet over the summer, so that the suits will still fit next fall.
Come the first hot day of the spring and you won't be able to find an air conditioner installer available in the whole county, but in January they are sitting by the phone, cooling their heels. Now is a great time to get three quotes (you do get multiple quotes, right?) for that new system. Come the first hot day of the summer, you'll be cool as a cucumber.
After a couple of months of foul weather, then Christmas, most people have broken down and bought that warm coat. If you haven't, good for you: Sales should abound. Just don't expect the widest selection of styles and sizes.
Like motorcycle shops in the frozen north, boat dealers draw few customers in winter. You could wait until the boat shows, but there you're unlikely to get a great price, since the dealer has put time and money into the show that he'll need to recoup. Visit the showroom on a snowy afternoon, drive a hard bargain, and you might find yourself ready to launch, come the first warm spring day.
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After stocking up for the holiday rush, appliance dealers will be eager to convert some of the remaining inventory to cash and clear space on the showroom floor for the newest models. This could be the right time for that new stainless steel fridge or convection oven.
Bedding and bathroom linens
January has been white sale time ever since John Wanamaker of Philadelphia started the trend in Philadelphia in 1878. Many stores will be vying to sell you new sheets, comforters, towels and pillows, at the year's best prices.
Aside from those hearty devotees of winter camping and hunting, in most of the U.S. there are few shoppers in the outdoor gear aisles in January. Look for good prices this month on tents, stoves, backpacks, kayaks, fishing gear and other products designed for the great outdoors.
Is there anyone in the U.S. still unaware that January is the time to buy wrapping paper?
Waiting until January to buy electronics is a bit of a gamble; the really hot items may be out of stock, and those put on sale may be less popular. If you can find the item that you really want, at a good price (not the one you might settle for but will never be happy with), jump on it.
Common wisdom tells us that spring is the best time to sell a house, and midwinter is the worst. Therefore, anyone putting their house on the market during the worst selling time must be a "committed seller," one that might well be willing to compromise on price. Wait just a few months and you might find yourself in a bidding war for the same place.
One of the first things people think to do when spring arrives is trot out their bicycle for a spin. That spin usually is to the bike shop for repairs. In January, though, bike shops are quiet and owners are interested in clearing out current models to make room for new ones arriving in a couple of months.
It too has its seasons, and many companies release new models in February. Stores with unsold inventory often put some of it on sale to make room on the showroom floor.
Because January offers so many bargains, it's also the perfect time to use up those gift cards that you received, before you forget about them.
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