Perhaps the shortened holiday season left you wishing you had more time to shop — or maybe you’re just itching to use that stack of gift cards you received from loved ones. Either way, you’re ready to do a little spending on yourself.
The good news is that retailers are standing by to warm you up with some hot deals. So if becoming a savvier shopper is one of your New Year’s resolutions, read on to see where you’ll get the most value for your money in January — as well as those items you should pass on.
WHAT TO BUY IN JANUARY
TVs and Sound Bars. “The end of football season marks the beginning of television deals, especially as fans gear up for the Super Bowl,” says Collin Morgan, owner of retail coupon site Hip2Save. “The big game is slated for February 2, but retailers will likely kick off sales toward the end of January. Also, according to Consumer Reports, sound bars will go on deep discount in January.”
Bedding and Linens. January “White Sales” have been a tradition for more than 140 years as retailers offer discounts on everything from sheets, bedspreads and duvets to towels, bath mats and more. Morgan suggests department stores such as Macy’s, Kohl’s and JCPenney will offer some of the best deals.
Winter Clothing. If winter winds are making you shiver, now is a good time to bundle up in some new outerwear. “Many retailers mark winter coats and jackets down in January, along with other clothing in general,” Morgan says. “Plus, if you wait to shop during Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, you'll likely see big markdowns on winter clothing as retailers make way for spring.”
Fitness Equipment and Gym Memberships. If getting in shape tops your list of resolutions, some of the best things to buy in January are related to fitness, including big-ticket items such as treadmills or elliptical machines. “With everyone making New Year's resolutions to get in shape, January is a great time to sign up for a gym at a discount or save on equipment for your home gym,” Morgan says.
Toys. If you have the storage space, the post-holiday season has numerous discounts on playthings. “This is a great time to stock the gift closet,” Morgan says. “Every January, Target and Walmart have their semi-annual toy clearance events and mark items up to 70 percent off, with some holiday items eventually reaching 90 percent off.”
Furniture. While July has a slight edge as the best month for furniture deals, Morgan notes that many manufacturers release new furniture designs in February, which means stores need to clear out their inventory before then. Look for closeout prices on fall and winter fabrics to save even more.
WHAT TO SKIP IN JANUARY
Major Appliances. “You can find plenty of post-holiday deals in January,” says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub. “But you should stay away from major appliances, as those are not typically on sale.” Wait until September and October to find the best deals in this category.
Mattresses. You may be hoping to buy a new mattress to go with those new high-thread-count sheets, but you’ll find better deals in late winter or early spring, which is when the new models are in stock and the older ones go on sale. “You may see some mattresses on sale during MLK Day weekend,” Morgan says. “But you’ll likely find better deals if you can wait until Presidents Day, Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.”
Smartphones. Smartphone deals do not typically ring in the start of a new year. “The best time to buy the newest model phone is during the pre-order period, because you’ll receive the best discounts and you’ll be guaranteed a phone at launch,” Morgan says. “And the best time to buy slightly older phones is a month or so before the announcement of a newer generation model because this is when carriers start clearing inventory to make room for the new devices.”
Computers. January also tends to be a slow month for computer deals, Morgan says, noting, “As a general rule, the best times to buy a computer are Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Presidents Day weekend, Amazon Prime Day and during the back-to-school season.”