December is one of the busiest shopping months of the year and can make or break retailers’ bottom lines. The staggering amount of deals and promotions during December makes it seem like the best month to buy anything, but there are a few items that stand out as true bargains this month.
There are several factors that contribute to a product being dubbed a “best buy,” including seasonality, product life cycles, and good ol’ supply and demand. December is unique in that it’s also the end of the year and makes for a stressful time for those in the sales industry eager to meet their annual goals. That pressure sometimes translates to money savings for consumers, so read on for the best items to buy this month.
New Year’s Day is a big event for champagne producers and bottles of bubbly will actually cost less during December to prepare for the event. While it may seem counterintuitive since increased demand typically offers few price reductions, companies are eager to compete with one another for your dollars and will discount the popular celebratory beverage to do so. Stores are also hoping advertised deals on bubbly will get you through their doors and hopefully pick up higher-priced beverages while you’re there.
December is the biggest month for engagements and the newly betrothed start shopping for wedding dresses starting in January and February. Getting in before the rush means salespeople are more eager to negotiate and showrooms will be less crowded. Plus, many boutiques get big shipments of new dresses in November to anticipate the New Year rush, and existing inventory will be discounted to make room for new stock. While December falls outside the peak wedding months of May through October, the holiday season is a popular time to tie the knot and prices reflect that.
You’ll have to hold off until after Dec. 25 for the best deals, but ultimately there’s no better time to stock up on holiday decor. Gift cards, wrapping paper, home decor, holiday ornaments and decorations are all priced at 20 to 50 percent-off starting on Dec. 26, with sales increasing rapidly during subsequent weeks. Shop early for the best inventory and late for the deepest discounts. When it comes to wrapping paper and party supplies, consider buying solid-colored products for multi-purpose use throughout the year. For example, red wrapping paper can easily be used for a Valentine’s Day gift, while metallic gift bags and tissue work well for wedding season.
The end of the year represents crunch time for many businesses, and car dealerships are no exception. Salespeople need to reach month-end and year-end sales goals, and dealerships need to get 2014 models off their lots to make room for 2015 additions. According to Mark Di Vincenzo, journalist and author of “Buy Shoes on Wednesday and Tweet at 4:00 – More of the Best Times to Buy This, Do That and Go There,” you can expect discounts of at least 20-percent off sticker price. Always scout car prices online and make sure to start your negotiations at the lowest-found price.
Unless you live in southern Arizona or Florida, golf is not a year-round pastime and the cold, winter months are especially slow for the industry. The upside is golf clubs are often a good deal during these periods, with last year’s models representing the best deals. Since most golfers aren’t headed to the PGA tour anytime soon, the latest-and-greatest club technology is not going to make or break your swing. Just make sure you give the clubs a good test drive before your purchase them, as the most expensive clubs are the ones you never use.
Grills, Lawn Mowers and Air Conditioners
In most parts of the country, December represents one of the colder times of the year and the last thing Americans are thinking about is cooling their homes or sprucing up their outdoor living spaces. That makes summertime staples like gas grills, lawn mowers and air conditioners a steal, as stores are eager to clear their showrooms of these bulky, off-season inventories. Granted, not many stores have an overabundance of these products in the dead of winter, but you can typically find straggling inventory at big-box retailers like Target and Walmart. While taking advantage of promotions and coupons is a great way to save money, timing your purchases by identifying the best and worst times to buy certain goods will maximize your savings.
What’s your advice on getting a real deal in December and throughout the year?