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Worst Things to Buy During the Holidays

Cameron Huddleston, Online Editor, Kiplinger.com Andrea N. Browne, Online Editor, Kiplinger.com


The deals on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (not to mention the variety of other discounts offered throughout November and December) are tempting. But some potentially pricey items that may be on your holiday shopping list -- either for yourself or for someone else -- can be even cheaper if you wait.

Here are 15 items you can score better deals on after the holidays.

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If you're considering stocking up on bedding, such as comforters, sheets and pillow cases, during holiday sales, wait a few weeks longer for even deeper discounts, says Kristin Cook, managing editor of BensBargains.com. Take advantage of white sales in January at big-name retailers including Macy's, Target and Kohl's. Savings on bedding during these annual sales can add up to as much as 50%.

Broadway Tickets


You can get two tickets for the price of one to several popular shows during Broadway Week in January, which actually lasts two weeks. Some shows even offer the discount for up to four weeks, says Erich Jungwirth, chief operating officer of the Lyric Theatre in New York. January and February are good months, in general, to see Broadway shows because it's off-season and ticket prices tend to drop.

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Forget the notion of waking up on Christmas morning to find a new car in the driveway. Instead, think New Year's Eve (during business hours, of course) to get the best deal on a new car. Car dealers are in the mood to haggle and clear their inventory before year's end to make room for new models and earn manufacturer incentives. Looking for a used car? Hold off until April for the best deals. It's the month dealers tend to buy the most at auction, giving you the best selection.

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Caribbean Cruises


Cruising during the holidays can often mean more crowds and higher fares, says Colleen McDaniel, managing editor of Cruise Critic. By booking a cruise for January, February or March, you can take advantage of lower fares, avoid the holiday crowds and beat the spring break rush. The industry's "wave season" also takes place during that time, when cruise lines offer added discounts that may help you save even more on your trip, she says. You can score some of the best cruise deals if you book at the last minute -- just don't expect the really cheap tickets to get you a stateroom with a view.

Exercise Equipment


You might see a few sales on fitness gear and equipment in December, but January is when the real deals appear on exercise equipment, according to DealNews.com. Retailers know that people usually resolve to lose weight in the New Year, so they tend to have sales on fitness equipment in January. Look for markdowns of 30% to 70% on fitness DVDs, treadmills, elliptical trainers, stationary bikes and complete home gyms.

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If you need to spruce up the living or dining room before guests arrive for the holidays, don't expect to find a good deal on a sofa or table and chairs before Christmas. Instead, wait until after Christmas, when furniture stores hold clearance sales to make room for new styles that are usually released in February. For example, furniture retailer Room & Board has an in-store and online clearance sale once a year, typically the day after Christmas. Expect discounts of up to 50% on discontinued furniture styles and in-store floor samples.

Also, many stores offer 0% financing along with the big discounts during annual clearance sales, according to Deals2Buy.com. Because new styles often are released in August, too, July is another good month to look for deals on furniture.

Gift Cards


Gift cards are a no-brainer when you're stumped for ideas. However, if you can hold off until after the holiday shopping frenzy has died down to purchase gift cards, you could save yourself some money. According to BensBargains' Cook, many people who receive unwanted gift cards as holiday gifts turn around and sell them for cash online. Web sites such as CardCash.com and Cardpool.com buy the gift cards at a steep discount and re-sell them below face value. Since sites typically get flooded with gift cards right after the holidays, Cook says, the average card price is driven down due to the increased inventory. Also on eBay right after the holidays, gift cards can sell for up to 15% cheaper than the original price.

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Holiday Decorations


Resist the urge to buy new holiday decorations before Christmas because you can get them at bottom-barrel prices in January, says Scott Kluth, CEO of CouponCabin.com. Retailers typically mark down ornaments, garlands, artificial trees and décor as much as 90% after December 25. If you don't mind the red-and-green theme or chocolates shaped like a wreath, you can also load up on deeply discounted edible holiday treats in January.

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A new piece of jewelry ranks high on many holiday wish lists. But high demand often means higher prices, so you may want to give your sweetheart a rain check and wait until after Valentine's Day to buy that pearl necklace or those diamond earrings. You can save 15% to 25% on jewelry during post-Valentine's Day sales, says Howard Schaffer, vice president of merchandising for deal site Offers.com.



If you need to replace a beat-up roll-on that's been tossed around too many times by airline baggage handlers, March is the best time to buy luggage. Retailers mark down luggage because sales have slowed after the busy holiday travel season and haven't picked up yet for summer travel, according to Deals2Buy. Look for discounts ranging from 20% to 70%.

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You probably don't expect Santa to shove a mattress down your chimney. But if you were thinking about giving your holiday guests something more comfortable than a futon to sleep on, you might want to reconsider buying a mattress during November or December. You'll save as much as 70% by waiting until Memorial Day sales in May to buy a mattress, Offers.com's Schaffer says. In the meantime, promise your guests a plush mattress next year, and give them a few more drinks with dinner so they don't mind sleeping on the couch this year.



Perfume sales often peak around Christmas and Valentine's Day. So retailers tend to discount perfume heavily after these holidays have passed. FreeShipping.org founder Luke Knowles says consumers can expect prices on perfume to be slashed by as much as 50% in late February and March, with the best sales at Web sites dedicated to perfume.



Tools typically are discounted during Black Friday sales. But wait to buy your dad a new drill, wrench set or tool chest for Father's Day instead. You'll save 5% to 15% more on tools in June when retailers have sales on gifts for dads, says Offers.com's Schaffer.

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Winter Apparel


Retailers will offer discounts on coats, sweaters and other cold-weather clothing during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. However, the deals will be even better in January when stores have clearance sales on winter apparel to make room for spring clothing. CouponCabin's Kluth says you can expect to see markdowns of at least 75%.

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Winter Sports Equipment


Hold off on gifts for winter sports enthusiasts until the New Year. Snowboards, skis, ice skates, goggles, hockey gear and more will be marked down at least 10% to 20% in January, according to DealNews. If you can wait a bit longer, expect even deeper discounts during clearance sales in February and March.

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