Even though the holidays is one mass expense and even though you have tons of gifts to buy, it is also the time of year when retailers try and get us to spend even more by putting everything on sale or splashing special offer stickers all over the shop. AND, because we all love a bargain, many of can’t resist and we might spend far more money than we anticipate in pursuit of what we think is a good deal. I am here, however, to tell you that the great God of Retail is not actually at his benevolent best at this time of year and is likely to be favoring the sellers more than buyers actually realize. So, watch out for those traps that mean a bargain is not all it seems because there are better times of the year to make purchases of certain items. Here are 10 Things to Absolutely and Definitely Not Buy During the Holidays:
Back in the 19th century, department stores began the practice of having white sales in January. It is of course, still continues today and has extended to all commodities beyond, sheets, blankets and linens. The January sales are still the best time to restock your blanket chest, linen cupboard or to buy next year’s holiday tablecloth.
It you’re an avid fan of the slopes it might seem logical to buy your new equipment during the winter-time but this might mean you actually end up paying even more money than you should. Although it might seem to go against the grain, skis and ski equipment are items to definitely not buy during the holidays. The best way to make savings here is to buy in March or April as the ski season is winding down. You can also maximize savings by purchasing models from previous winters.
All of the major electronic trade shows happen in the first months of the year, and this means that the holidays don’t usually have those significant discounts that you expect. One of the best days to purchase electronic goods is President’s Day as history has shown us that you can see discounts of up to 30% off.
Unless you are buying a bicycle as a Christmas gift, bicycles are not a great buy during the holidays. If you wait until the seasonal rush is over, you’ll find steep discounts on older models. Bike sales in the Northern Hemisphere are naturally slower in the winter months so if you hold out until after the holidays you might not only find a great bargain bike but that the retailer is more want to sweeten the deal with a bunch of freebie accessories.
Furniture is also something that should be on everybody’s “not to buy during holidays” list because new season stock typically arrives in showrooms in February. This means that dealers are desperate to get rid of their existing inventory in order to clear their store. You can expect discounts of between 10 and 50% in January.
It’s been great to see how far the prices of flat screen, HD and large screen televisions have reduced in recent years but if you make your purchase in February you can save even more money and still get a terrific up to date model. New models hit the stores in March so in the few weeks after the Super Bowl (early February) prices are at their lowest as shelves are cleared of old stocks.
Thanks to rising airfares, cruises are becoming an exciting proposition for our main vacation. Don’t feel pressured into booking a summer trip during the holidays because if you wait until what is known in the trade as “wave season” all the cruises lines are fighting to fill their vacant berths. Booking a cruise between January and March, you are more likely to have a multitude of special offers and brilliantly reduced prices to choose from. Plus, don’t forget cruises are usually all-inclusive affairs meaning a deal, is going to be a very good deal.
Possibly the last thing you want to be thinking to buy during the holidays but the best time to buy a new car is right on the cusp of the Christmas season. Car dealers want to clear their forecourts before the end of the year so the very best day for a new car purchase is New Year’s Eve. Truecar.com estimates that the average nationwide discount is just under 10% off sticker price on the 31st December. For used cars. It’s a different story. April is the month for best deals as this is when dealers tend to buy more at auction and you’ll have a greater selection to choose from.
Again, we’re talking about the best time to buy being when retailers clear their existing inventories to make way for new stocks. In the case of appliances, although there are some big discounts in the holiday sales, it is in September and October that you’re likely to find the best deals. They’ll be stocking up on new appliances ready for the holiday season and will need to discount existing to make way.
10. Gym Membership
For many of us the first reaction after that huge Christmas dinner and all that alcohol and sweet treats will be to make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight or get fit. We run off to the gym (or waddle) to sign up to a whole year’s expensive membership. This knee jerk reaction might well prove costly. Invariably, we incur further expense by investing in a gym wardrobe, some nice designer label sneakers and a cool bag. We might pick up a new MP3 player in the holiday sales, because of course, not only do we have to look good at the gym but we need music to exercise by, right? So we attend 3 or 4 sessions and then stop going. I state categorically that the thing that you most definitely and absolutely do not buy during the holidays is a gym membership! There are plenty of alternatives such as exercise at home or jogging. If you simply must join a gym wait until all the others suckered by that New Year resolution have tailed off. The gyms will be looking for new members and deals will be available.
When it comes to knowing what to and what not to buy during the holidays it’s a case of being savvy. Ignore the behaviour that the retailers are trying to encourage and think outside the box. Understand when are things most likely to be cheapest; consider the seasonal factors that affect the prices of the things you want to buy; understand why there are sales at certain times of the year. For significant purchases, you now know when is the best time to buy so you can plan ahead and budget accordingly. I must admit I have made some seriously poor purchases during the holidays that turned out to not be the bargain I thought they were. Have you ever been caught out?
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