December and shopping go hand in hand.
Now that we're in the final weeks before Christmas, shoppers are packing the mall at every opportunity, and grabbing all those gifts we didn't get on Black Friday.
But despite all the hype about 24-hour sales, weekend doorbusters, and "friends and family sales" right now, the website DealNews.com says not everything is on sale.
In fact, it says some items are actually more expensive than they were last month, or next.
What to Buy in December
DealNews says December is a great time to buy:
-Any product with a gift card thrown in as a bonus, such as an iPad 2 or iPod touch with a $50 store gift card added. While almost everyone offered these on Black Friday, now you have to hunt for these days. L.L. Bean is one such store: they are offering a free $10 gift card if you buy $50 worth of merchandise.
-Tools and Hardware: Stores like Lowe's, Home Depot, and Ace Hardware typically see some of their slowest sales during December. Everyone has finished their home improvements for the year, and unless there is a snowstorm, which brings out the shovel and salt crowd, business is slow. So tools are on sale.
-Kitchen Goods, with lots of sales at Macy's, Bed,Bath, and Beyond, and other retailers.
-Name Brand HDTV's: The off-brands all had big markdowns on Black Friday, now the name brands get marked down, especially if they are 2012 models the stores want to clear out. Along those lines:
-2012 Cars and Trucks. No explanation needed.
What Not to Buy
However, DealNews says early to mid December is not the best time to buy:
-Jewelry: Everyone wants to buy jewelry for their honey for Christmas. As a result, the biggest markdowns start the day AFTER Christmas on jewelry.
-Christmas decorations: Wait until the day after Christmas to buy a new tree for next year. You may find one at half price.
-2013 Calendars: Everyone wants one now. So DealNews says wait until January 2nd, when the sales start. You can get them almost free in February.
What about Toys?
DealNews says the big toy markdowns don't hit until around December 15th. If you missed the Black Friday deals at Toys r Us and other toy retailers, you may want to wait two more weeks.
The one exception is super-hot toys that are almost sold out, such as the LeapPad 2 Explorer tablet for kids, Princess Barbie dollhouses, and the impossible to find Nintendo Wii U. If you find one, buy it...at full price.
You won't find it at discount this year.
As always, don't waste your money.
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With Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving day this year, many parents stayed home, and missed some of the best deals on toys and tablets for the kids. But don't despair.