The Best Stuff to Buy in December

  • The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

    The best way to get a good deal is to buy what no one else is buying – for instance, getting a barbecue grill in September when demand is low. But it also helps when you can catch the major retailers in a price war, as they are during the holiday shopping season. While the popular conception is that the best deals happen on Black Friday, the truth is that many retailers will offer deep discounts on certain items throughout December. So, which items tend to be at their cheapest this month? To answer that question, we turned to Daniel Butler, a 26-year veteran of the retail industry and vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. Here’s the best stuff to buy in December. Photo Credit: Scott Feldstein
    Winter Coats
  • Winter Coats

    It might seem counterintuitive that winter coats would be cheapest right when everyone is trying to get them. But Butler says retailers will start pricing their winter coats to move by December. “December is when you’ll see the first deep discounts on winter coats,” he says. “[The stores] want to be sold out by the end of the season, which for them is January.” Photo Credit: Toys
  • Toys

    If you have kids, you were probably going to be buying toys this month anyway. But you don’t need to break the bank to bring home the most in-demand toys. Various toy retailers will be offering discounts for the holiday season – but as with other popular holiday items, it comes down to timing. Scan the weekly ads for markdowns on certain item classes, brand names and product lines. Butler also notes that the 10 days before Christmas are big for retailers, so be sure and check out the circulars as the big day approaches. Photo Credit: wirefly
  • Computers

    Many of the biggest discounts on laptops went to the people waiting in line on Black Friday. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great deal for yourself. As with toys, be sure to browse the circulars throughout the month so you can be ready to strike when a computer sale is announced. And the manufacturers themselves are also discounting this month: Dell, for instance, is currently holding “12 Days of Deals,” knocking hundreds of dollars off their computers. Photo Credit:
  • Cookware

    Kitchen goods tend to be a popular gift for the holidays. One common sales tactic employed by cookware vendors is to offer so-called “try-me pieces,” says Butler. A retailer will offer a small piece from a bigger cookware set – say, a 7-inch frying pan – at a deep discount, in the hopes that the buyer will like it and come back for the full set. Be sure to check out kitchen goods stores to see if any such promotions are available. Photo Credit: Ryan Detzel
    Home Appliances
  • Home Appliances

    Consumer Reports put together a sales calendar based on price fluctuations over the course of the year. One of the findings was that home appliances – both large and small – tend to be on sale during the month of December. With all the sales we’ve seen on washer-dryer sets and fridges, that’s not hard to believe. Photo Credit:
  • TVs

    These days you can’t even walk by an electronics retailer without being bombarded with discounts on HDTVs big and small. As in years past, holiday sales have been all about TVs, to the point that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and grab the first TV that’s being advertised at a discount. Now that the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Week is behind us, you have time to do your homework and comparison shop for the best television for your budget.  “[TVs] are always competitive on price,” Butler says. “You really want to know what you’re looking for.” Photo Credit:
  • Bikes

    Nobody in their right mind goes cycling in the winter, especially once the snow starts falling. If you’re smart, though, you’ll realize that that makes it a perfect time to buy a bike. Consumer Reports includes bicycles in their sales calendar for the month of December, and you can get holiday markdowns at some toy stores and other retailers. Photo Credit:
  • Charity

    OK, giving to charity isn’t exactly something you buy, but we’re in the giving spirit this season. There are plenty of charity opportunities during the run-up to Christmas, from dropping cash into the Salvation Army kettle to giving to a charity on someone’s behalf as a gift. Plus, as our tax expert points out, you can get a nice end-of-year tax break when you donate to a charity. Photo Credit: evan p. cordes
    'Tis the Season
  • 'Tis the Season

    Want more coverage of the holiday shopping season? Check out our holiday hot topic for news, tips and the latest deals. Photo Credit: Squirrel Cottage
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