Postpone Your Holiday and Save Some Cash

You have probably noticed the signs going up all over the place. You know the ones; they advertise the big holiday and year-end sales.

Retail stores and online sellers are putting their holiday marketing engine into full gear trying to get you to spend some money on their “bargain”. You might be tempted to “get it while it’s hot” but if you can actually wait until after the holiday shopping rush is over and get it “while it’s cool” so to speak, you might find that you will end up saving a lot more money in the long run.

There is a misconception that the best deals for shopping happen immediately before the holidays. It’s not untrue that there are some good bargains to be found before the holidays but the best ones happen afterwards, following Christmas, into January with some of the best savings not coming until early March.

Retailers hope to unload the majority of their stock in the run up to the last big holiday of the year. They know that whatever products they don’t sell will sit around for a while, possibly even until next year. Peoples’ spending fever tends to cool down significantly after the end of year holidays, so businesses find themselves in a revenue crash after the Christmas “sugar high”.

Don’t Think You’re Getting One Over the Retailer

There’s a simple truth to remember when it comes to merchandise. No retailer is going to sell something at a loss if they can avoid it. You might think that when you see something at a huge discount of 50% to 60% that the seller is taking a hit on that. You would be wrong. They are reducing the price to a point where they can expect it to sell and still make a significant profit in doing so.

When these products don’t end up clearing the shelves for Christmas they will get discounted even further to get them moved more quickly. Holiday decorations are obviously going to see the largest cuts because retailers know that no one will need them again until the following holiday season. I’ve made it my habit to buy my holiday decorations in January. I’ve seen discounts as significant as 85% in some locations.

Clothes tend to be the next item to get major post-Christmas discounts, most notably holiday clothes like Santa suits. Other clothing items tend to get discounted as well, meaning if your nana is going to buy you some socks or another horrible holiday tie it might be best for her to wait a bit to do so (also she might forget, and then you won’t have to wear it next year).

Electric Touch

If your tastes run more electronic in nature you may want to wait until February or March before buying something. The video game consoles and software that have been around the store since before the holidays are usually marked down around February. The big name companies behind Playstation and Xbox are known for dropping prices around March to encourage those who didn’t make a holiday purchase to buy in.

The biggest electronics conventions happen in January and February. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) happens early in January. These conventions showcase newer models putting the older ones to shame and leading to bigger discounts that you’ll see by late February.

Holiday gift bundles of all sorts are often marked down as well. Perfume gift sets and shaving kits see enormous discounts after Christmas is all said and done. If you’re crafty and a planner you can snag some otherwise expensive gifts at heavily reduced prices to give away to friends and relatives the following year.

Play the Waiting Game

If you have the patience to wait a little bit longer after the Christmas holidays or if you’re not being coerced into holiday shopping by your family, then you can hope to enjoy some very nice post-holiday deals. Another great benefit of doing your shopping after the holidays is that you can avoid the hustle and bustle of the holiday crowds. Waiting in queue for an hour to get out of the store and the worry that a store will run out of stock as people snatch and grab as quickly as they can is overrated. Post-holiday shopping is significantly more calm and peaceful and generally makes for a more pleasant experience.

So where is the exception to the rule? New cars are one, because new cars depreciate significantly when they cease to be “this year’s model”. That means the holiday season brings much lower interest rates while maintaining higher sticker prices. That means that you might save more money buying during the holidays or after depending on how quickly you are able to pay off your loan. To figure out which is the better deal for you, you can check out this handy loan calculator.

Are you going to wait until after Christmas to do all your spending? Let us know in the comments below.

Walter Cooper is a freelance writer and finance specialist with Get Approved. If he’s not wandering aimlessly through a shopping mall he’s probably haggling with his dog, Springfield, over what his share of the rent is.

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