Consumer IQ

Is January The Best Month for Making Purchases?

While the month is almost over, one thing is certain: January is a great time to buy just about anything. With the holiday season behind us, retailers slash prices on what is left of their merchandise. This means that, provided you have money left after the holiday gift-giving season, you can save a lot of money. While the usual caveats about not spending money on things you don’t actually need apply, there are a number of areas where you can save and save big if you make your purchases in January.

Linens

For some reason, January is the traditional month for white sales. This tradition began in 1878 with retail pioneer and Postmaster General, John Wanamaker. Apocryphally, it is said that he wanted to buttress the sale of raw linen at a time when linen wholesalers were having trouble selling. Whatever the reason, you can get linens for a song during the first month of the year.

Sporting Goods

Sporting goods are a popular Christmas gift. Once the holiday gift-giving season is over, companies slash prices to make room for new inventory. You can pick up everything from baseball gloves to bicycles at drastically discounted prices. Stock up in advance for next year, treat yourself to something you’ve wanted all year, or shop in advance for your child’s birthday in January.

Calendars

This one is kind of a no-brainer. By the time January rolls around, nearly everyone who uses a paper calendar has already purchased one. Calendars are then available for drastically reduced prices, sometimes as much as 75 percent off. If you can do without a calendar for the first couple of weeks of the year — and in this age of smartphones and online calendars, who can’t — you can get a calendar at a low, low price.

Major Appliances

Have you been needing a new fridge or washing machine? Wait until January to pick it up. Your selection will be limited, but if you just need something, it won’t matter much. Plus, you might get lucky and find exactly what you’re looking for. In addition to post-Christmas sales, retailers are looking to clear out last year’s inventory and fill up their floors with new stuff for the upcoming year.

Winter Clothes

Most people want to get their winter clothes before the winter actually starts. By the time January comes around, sales have really started slowing for winter clothes. We’re not recommending that you go without winter clothing until January. However, you can use January this year to load up on winter clothing for next year while the prices are still cheap.

Consumer Electronics and Gadgets

Christmas increasingly means one thing these days: The latest electronic gadgets. Whether it’s an MP3 player or a digital camera, if you can wait to buy it until January, you can save a pile of money or even get something much nicer than what you could afford otherwise.

Video Games

While your kids aren’t going to want to wait until January to get Christmas gifts, they might want to wait until January to spend their Christmas loot. This is because video games are on a marked discount from the month of December. Ditto on toys for the younger kids or kids that just aren’t into video games.

Wrapping Paper and Holiday Decorations

Again, no one is encouraging you to do Christmas in January. You can, however, get all the supplies you need for next year at prices next to nothing if you buy them in advance in January. Look for seasonal stores that are closing down for the season. You can often get supplies for next year’s holiday festivities at pennies on the dollar as these stores liquidate.

Furniture

See also: Sporting goods and appliances. January, in addition to being a time when retailers try and boost sales with post-holiday sales, is also the last month you’ll see last year’s models hanging around. You can take advantage of a retailer’s desire to clear floor space for new models and get office and home furnishes at drastically reduced prices.

“The Best Month for Making Purchases” was written by Nicholas Pell.