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What to buy in January (and what not to)

Savvy shoppers know that for every purchase there is a season: a time of the year, month or even day when you’re bound to save big on anything from air travel to bed linens. All it takes is a little patience and some insider knowledge.

The same is true of shopping in January. In the post-holiday lull, expect a lot to be marked down. Only some of it, though, will be a great deal, and that’s where consumer expert Benjamin K. Glaser, Features Editor at DealNews, a website dedicated to all things consumer, comes in. He spoke with SheKnows about which items will net you the best deals in the New Year, and which ones are better off left on the shelf.

More: 7 Shopping sites with awesome deals for the bargain fashionista

Best bets:

1. All things fitness

Great news for anyone with fitness-oriented New Year’s resolutions: January is hands down the best time to purchase home gym equipment and gym memberships. According to Glaser:

“Retailers love to take advantage of those New Year’s resolutions to get in shape by offering deals on sports and fitness equipment. While we don’t necessarily see more deals or all-time lows after Christmas, we definitely saw better site-wide discounts from a range of stores. Last year, stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Target, Sears and NordicTrack had after-Christmas discounts of 25 percent to 50 percent on select sporting and fitness goods, sometimes on top of clearance discounts. Groupon even had sales of up to 90 percent off fitness deals. This is also traditionally a good time to get deals on gym memberships… You can often grab perks like no sign-up fee, or extended introductory rates.”

2. Apparel and Accessories

As stores work to move all of the inventory that wasn’t picked up by gift-givers, you can scoop up the benefits by taking advantage of after-Christmas sales, says Glaser: 

“On the other hand, January is great for after-Christmas sales on apparel, accessories and sporting goods. Those department store sales on accessories — like jewelry and fragrances — are good for getting a jump on Valentine’s Day shopping.”

More: How to find a bargain on workout equipment

3. Valentine’s goodies

Speaking of which, don’t wait until the shelves are picked clean the night before Feb. 13. The best deals on treats for your sweetheart will happen at the end of January, so that’s the time to buy:

“Jewelry sales might be better in early February, but January is good if you want to beat the rush. Check site-wide and storewide after-Christmas sales for gifts.

“Look for Valentine’s Day flower sales from 1-800-Flowers and Teleflora to start just before the end of the month, as well as chocolate sales from Harry & David and Godiva… Flower and gift basket retailers will also begin their Valentine’s Day sales at the end of the month.”

4. Video games

Indulge in a little playtime with your favorite gaming blockbusters, or pick some up for the gamers in your life by taking advantage of January discounts. Glaser expects they’ll make the short list on DealNews‘ Editors’ Choice list, which compiles all of the best finds:

“This will be a great time to stock up on your favorite video game titles, especially for older systems… over 40 percent of video game deals are expected to be Editors’ Choice during the upcoming after-Christmas sales. Last year, we saw Xbox One games starting at $8!”

More: 3 Things to buy for yourself after Christmas

Better buy it later:

Of course, not everything is a hot buy, and just because a store markets a sale doesn’t mean it’s the best deal possible and you can’t pick up the goods at a later, better date. Among the things to avoid? Electronics and appliances, according to Glaser:

“Following the rush of Black Friday and holiday sales, and with Memorial Day and back-to-school sales still far off, this is not the best time to buy major electronics and appliances like televisions, laptops and washer and dryers.”

Up in the air:

Furniture purchases have traditionally been a good bet in the month of January, but Glaser urges caution:

“We’ve often heard that furniture inventory turns over in January. And January does have some clearance sales from stores like Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Kmart. But last year, these deals did not impress us with their quality; in fact, January 2015 did not have a single Editors’ Choice furniture deal.”

Still need to make a major purchase in the New Year like an appliance or living room set? Worry not —there is a way for you to get the best possible deal on those items:

“If you absolutely need to make a major purchase, there are always ways to save and at least some deals available; tips and discounts can always be found at DealNews.”

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