13 Best Things to Buy After Christmas (and 4 Things You Shouldn’t)Save on Big Purchases
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The holidays are the busiest shopping season, and there are great deals to be found this time of year.
That said, demand is extremely high around Christmas, and a wide range of products can be found for much lower prices once the holiday season slows down.
In fact, waiting until after Christmas is often the best way to find good deals.
This article will cover thirteen things that tend to experience price drops around the end of December along with four that are actually cheaper before the holidays.
Keep in mind that sale prices are highly unpredictable from year to year.
13 Best Things to Buy After Christmas
1. Anything on eBay
Let’s say your dad’s an amateur photographer. For years he’s been using a $200 point-and-shoot.
But this year your whole family got together to get him a top-of-the-line DSLR or mirrorless camera.
What’s Dad going to do with the old camera?
Well, he might keep it, or he might put it on eBay.
Fact is, in late December and early January there is a ton of used stuff on eBay — stuff people want to get rid of because they got a newer or better model for Christmas — and you can find some pretty sweet deals if you know what you’re looking for.
In addition to eBay, keep your eye on Amazon, Craigslist, your local Facebook buy-and-sell groups, and even local garage sales if you don’t mind not having the latest and greatest.
2. Pre-Owned Gift Certificates
Gift cards and certificates are some of the most common Christmas gifts, but recipients don’t always want credit at the store they were given a gift card for.
With that in mind, many people look to sell gift cards for cash in the weeks after Christmas.
And obviously cash, which you can spend anywhere, holds more inherent value than a gift card that you can only spend at a particular store, so sellers are often willing to part with their gift cards for 5 – 40% of their face value.
The world of pre-owned gift cards generally leans toward being a seller’s market, but supply starts to outstrip demand directly following the holidays.
Just know that the second-hand online gift card market can be a bit seedy.
I’ve personally found Raise to be the most dependable and professional pre-owned gift card site on the web.
That said, I have sometimes found better deals on pre-owned gift cards at other websites, but sometimes these other websites can be a little clunky and not provide the best customer service.
Anyway, if you really want to find the best deal, the best thing you should do is search, for example, “discount best buy gift cards,” and see what comes up.
You can get linens on sale from different vendors throughout the year.
That said, January is a particularly common time for steep discounts on bed sheets, pillowcases, and the like.
These promotions, known as “white sales,” typically include linens along with a variety of other household goods.
Department stores and alternative vendors like IKEA, Sears, and Overstock are just a few of the brands that run very attractive white sales.
The housing market tends to slow down during the colder months, so if you’re interested in buying a home, you shouldn’t wait too long after Christmas to start looking.
The market will start to heat up again as buyers grow more interested in the early spring, and generally speaking, it can be easier to buy a home at a lower price when there aren’t as many buyers in the market.
Multiple interested buyers can lead to a bidding war, and you’re far more likely to find an attractive price if you start looking at a less busy time.
Of course, you’ll need to start doing research as soon as possible if you’re serious about buying a home in the near future.
Furthermore, you’ll need to prep your current place in order to show it to potential buyers or renters.
Moving is a time-consuming process, and the earlier you start, the more likely you are to find the right home at the right price.
Car dealerships are always trying to sell the newest models, and that sometimes requires moving old inventory.
Many dealerships will accept lower offers on last year’s models just to get them off the lot.
Even though you may think it’s only a thing in the commercials, giving cars for Christmas actually happens, so demand usually drops after the holidays.
Of course, if you’re interested in buying a car, you shouldn’t make the purchase impulsively based on a good price.
Instead, you should have a clear idea of how much local dealerships charge for the model in advance.
Taking time to research vehicles can feel tedious, but it can also save you a lot of money.
6. Wrapping Paper
It’s no surprise that wrapping paper sells well during December.
Similarly, most people stop buying it after the New Year once they’ve finished giving gifts.
With that in mind, this is the perfect time to buy a long-term supply.
Wrapping paper doesn’t expire or go bad, so there’s no downside to buying it ahead of time.
If you find a good price, consider picking up several rolls to cover yourself for 2020 and beyond.
Many stores have killer day-after-Christmas sales to clear their shelves of holiday-oriented items, so be sure to check around if you want to score a good deal.
7. Gift Packs and Baskets
Whether it’s a six-pack of natural aromatherapy candles, a big old thing of nuts, or just one of those massive corporate gift baskets, stores want to get rid of their prepackaged gift sets after Christmas.
So why not stock up on some gift sets for yourself or even keep some in storage until the next birthday or holiday?
Just keep in mind that if you’re buying a gift set with food, you want to check the expiration dates because there’s no better way to say, “I hate you,” to someone than to give them expired food.
Also keep in mind that the markup on gift sets can be incredibly high when compared to the standalone items within the set, so it may actually be a better deal to forego the pre-assembled gift set altogether and just make your own.
8. Winter Clothes
Winter clothing is another popular holiday gift, and sales of warm clothes begin to slow down near the end of the cold-weather season.
Depending on where you shop and where you live, you should start to see discounts in the first few months of the new year.
This tip also applies much more broadly.
In general, clothes are most affordable at the opposite time of the year from their usual season.
It’s much more cost-effective to anticipate what you’ll need in advance than to buy it once the seasons change.
Decor is yet another item that stores want off the shelves as soon as possible.
Holiday lights and other displays are less likely to sell throughout the rest of the year.
Many stores put their holiday decor at a steep discount immediately after Christmas and throughout the first few weeks of January.
High-quality decorative pieces can last a long time, so the right piece can be a great long-term asset for your future holiday cheer.
You can spend less by beating the market instead of waiting for prices to come back up next Christmas.
10. Kids’ Toys
Kids obviously receive more Christmas presents than anyone else — except maybe those of us who were in the S&P 500 this year — so it makes sense that kids’ gifts experience a price drop.
Unsold inventory probably won’t garner much of a demand until the following holiday season, and there’s no rule that you can’t buy next year’s Christmas gifts a year in advance.
That said, this strategy will obviously work better the more timeless the item and the younger your child.
If your child is seven months old now — as mine is — they’re probably not going to care about what kind of 18-to-24-month-old-appropriate toy you bought them a year in advance.
But if you buy a PlayStation 4 on sale now to give to your 13-year-old next Christmas, they might not be so thrilled because by that time, the PlayStation 5 will have dropped.
So, moral of the story, only “stock up on Christmas presents” after Christmas if you’re positive that the items you buy will still make a great gift a full year later.
11. Fitness Products and Subscriptions
Getting in better shape may be the most common new year’s resolution.
Fitness companies capitalize on that trend by offering sales and attracting new customers.
The weeks after Christmas, especially throughout January, are usually the best time to spend your money on fitness.
In addition to individual items, you may also find great deals on gym memberships and similar subscriptions.
Gyms can be surprisingly expensive, so it’s good to wait for a discount whenever possible.
Whether you’re interested in a gym or a home workout, you should wait until after Christmas before spending your money.
Pro Tip: Ask your gym if they are willing to give you a multi-year discount. My wife and I did this with our gym, and we saved so much money on our gym membership. Obviously this is a large amount of money paid up-front, so you want to be absolutely sure that you will make use of the gym for years to come and that you’re not going to move far away from it.
Both small and large appliances tend to experience price drops after the holiday season.
You should be able to find good deals on everything from mixers and blenders to dishwashers and refrigerators.
It’s best to wait until after Christmas for anything you don’t need immediately.
Appliances are one of the most expensive categories on this list, so even a small discount could help you save a lot of money.
Don’t forget to shop around if you need to replace or upgrade any existing appliances.
Food obviously sells consistently throughout the year, but consumers prefer certain kinds of food around the holiday season.
Things like baking supplies, candies, and other seasonal foods are generally put on sale soon after Christmas and the new year.
Additionally, people usually gravitate toward healthier foods once they start working on getting in shape.
Sugary and fatty foods are much easier to find, at least until people begin to give up on their new year’s resolutions.
It’s easy to lose track of spending in December, but you can often get better deals by waiting for the holiday rush to pass.
While it’s difficult to predict future prices, these products generally receive discounts in January and are great items to consider purchasing after Christmas.
4 Things You Shouldn’t Buy After Christmas
While some products get routine price drops after Christmas, you’re better off looking for a good deal on other items before or well after the holidays.
1. Video Games
You can find great video game holiday sales on virtually every platform.
Steam, PlayStation, and Xbox all tend to run promotions including low prices on some of the most popular games in anticipation of the Christmas season.
That said, once these sales end, i.e. after Christmas, prices are likely to go up for the foreseeable future.
Some discounts might run into the first few weeks of January, so you may still have some time before prices return to normal, but the fact is that video games are usually at their lowest prices around Black Friday and moving closer to Christmas.
Summer and fall releases generally experience their first price drop around this time.
2. Anything You Might Want to Return
Many stores offer more-lenient-than-usual return policies throughout the holidays.
So if you’re buying something for yourself or for someone else that you or they may want to return, it probably makes sense to make that purchase before Christmas rather than after.
If you buy something before Christmas, you should have several weeks to return it, often stretching well into January.
Furthermore, clearance items in end of year and January sales are often listed as final sale.
Jewelry is an extremely popular gift around Christmas and really any holiday season, but the fact is that the best time to buy jewelry is in the summertime, shortly after Independence Day.
By this time of year, Valentine’s Day and peak engagement season are in the rear-view mirror, and there really aren’t any more gift-giving holidays for the next five months until Christmas, so vendors around the country tend to drop their prices over the summer months.
This applies to smaller pieces in addition to high-ticket items.
You might think that you may be able to score a sweet deal on a TV at a local after Christmas sale, but you’d actually be better served by holding out until right before the Super Bowl.
That’s when you’ll typically see the lowest prices of the year on a television set.