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The best and worst things to buy in December

Don’t think just because Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, so are the best sales. Although November is the biggest shopping month, it’s still possible to save big bucks in December, too. As a matter of fact, the end of the year is a great time to snag discounts across the board, as stores make room for new merchandise.

As you prepare for the holidays by stocking up on gifts, here’s a list of everything you should buy — and avoid buying — this December.

Best Things to Buy in December

Hopefully, you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet because December is the best time to buy many great gifts. Of course, even if you aren’t shopping for anyone this month, there might be a thing or two you’ve personally been wishing for all year — and why not #treatyoself?

Whether you’re shopping for toys, stocking stuffers or just a few movies to sit back and enjoy, there are plenty of best buys this December.


Despite all of the insane Black Friday sales, you won’t see a lot of great toy deals in November, according to Benjamin Glaser of DealNews.

“The best time to buy is the second week of December, when discounts are at their peak, but selection is still good too,” Glaser said. “And if you see a deal on a really in-demand toy, like PAW Patrol or Star Wars merchandise, snap it up immediately.”

So, if you’re looking for a troll doll or a specific LEGO set to make someone’s year, wait until the weeks closer to Christmas, if possible, to get the best deal — good luck finding a Hatchimal though.

Gift Cards

If you’re looking for some easy stocking stuffers that are sure to please even the fussiest of family members this holiday season, December is a great time to buy gift cards — especially for your favorite restaurants.

“Many stores offer gift cards with purchase during December, or offer additional gift cards if you buy a certain amount,” said Glaser. “This is especially popular at national chain restaurants..”

Many restaurants will give you a $10 gift card for every $50 you spend in some instances — which can essentially be free money if it’s a restaurant you eat at regularly. Most gift cards never expire either, so there’s no deadline for when you have to use it by.

This is also the best month to find discounts on iTunes cards, according to DealNews. Some stores like Best Buy, OfficeMax and eBay will offer discounts of up to 20 percent off. So, be on the lookout for some great gift card steals this December — like a $50 iTunes card for $40.

Blu-Ray DVDs

Whether you’re looking for some simple stocking stuffers, or a gift to entertain you this holiday season, DVDs and Blu-ray Discs are a good idea. Both tend to go on sale for Black Friday, but lower prices extend well into December and retailers often add on additional discounts through the end of the year.

Look for the best sales at online retailers like Amazon and eBay, but also look for great DVD sales and price drops this month from Walmart and Target.

And even if you don’t have any interest in building out your own home theater, a few movies are a nice cost-effective holiday gift for just about anyone on your list.

Seasonal Decorations

Now that Thanksgiving is over, and Christmas will be here before you know it, many seasonal decorations will be deeply discounted.

“At this point, it’s common knowledge that holiday decorations see their greatest discounts after the holiday in question has passed, and this is no different for Christmas,” said Glaser. “If you wait until Dec. 26, you’ll see discounts of 40 to 75 percent off seasonal goods.”

“However, if you absolutely must buy a fake Christmas tree before the 25th, look to Target, Sears, and Home Depot for inexpensive options,” he added. “[A]ny seller with fresh-cut trees is likely going to start discounting them around Dec. 20.”

Worst Things to Buy in December

Despite being lured in by holiday shopping madness — and wanting to buy plenty of gifts for everyone nice on your list — there are some things you should avoid buying this December.

If you’re looking to buy a high-end TV, computer or even some jewelry, you might want to wait for these to go on sale after the new year before spending a pretty penny.

High-End Electronics

For the techie on your list, you might need to get them their most coveted gift a little late if you want to score a good deal — especially if they want a new high-end laptop or cutting edge TV.

“If you want a new 4K TV or gaming laptop, wait until the new year,” Glaser said. “Not only do prices drop again after the holidays, but older models will be discounted when new ones debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.”

CES is a major trade expo that takes place in January each year. This year, it’s Jan. 5 through Jan. 8. Many new electronics will be showcased during the convention, so the best thing to do would be to wait on purchasing most high-end electronics until mid to late January.

Gym Memberships and Exercise Equipment

If you plan to prepare for the new year a bit early — you should rethink your strategy if it involves spending money on a gym membership or new exercise equipment. It’s smart to get a jump start on your health in December — to beat the crowds — but items like treadmills and gym memberships are not very cheap right now.

Instead, wait until the New Year’s deals start rolling in this January. Gyms and fitness equipment suppliers will discount memberships and machines in early 2017 to take advantage of those just starting their New Year’s resolution of staying fit.

Calendars and Planners

If you’re itching to start the new year off organized and prepared — hold off, overachievers. Although it might be tempting to buy a 2017 calendar this December, in most cases, that’s the most expensive time to buy one.

Instead, it’s best to wait until after the new year to get your 2017 planner or calendar.

It’s not too late to take advantage of seasonal price drops, as long as you know where to find them. By planning your purchases carefully this holiday season, you can save yourself some hassle — and some money.

From GoBankingRates.com: The best and worst things to buy in December

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