Best and Worst Things to Buy in November

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This post comes from Lindsay Sakraida, Louis Ramirez and Marcy Bonebright at partner site DealNews.com.

Well, DealNews readers, we finally made it to November, one of the happiest months for budget-conscious shopping. Not surprisingly, many items hit their lowest price points this month around Black Friday. Ultimately though, November isn’t the best time to buy everything, so make sure you peruse our buying guide to ensure that you steer clear of the duds this month.

Editor’s note: In partnership with DealNews, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson has prepared the following video about November deals. Check it out, then read on for more details.

Cookware items see strong deals

Rarely do “need” and “best time to buy” so perfectly coalesce. As you prepare to knock the socks off the in-laws this Thanksgiving with an impressive feast, you may discover that there are some holes in your arsenal of cookware. Luckily we saw double the number of Editors’ Choice cookware deals in November last year, when compared with most other months. This trend for “best of the year” prices on cookware held steady through December.

However, November specifically sees the greatest number of cookware deals, period. In 2012, there were 41 percent more deals in November than October. Get your mitts on cookware and cutlery sets, bakeware, small appliances and more.

Look for Editors’ Choice tool and hardware deals

Winter in general is a good time to buy tools, but the Black Friday season sports particularly excellent prices. In fact, 30 percent of the tool deals during Black Friday were marked Editors’ Choice last year, which is more than double the number of deals in September and October.

Keep an eye out for significant discounts on drills, wrenches, socket sets, tool storage and more, from stores like The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Harbor Freight Tools and Sears. However, be aware that many of these items may only be available for in-store pickup.

Just say no to the iPad 2 (and maybe the iPad mini with Retina display)

When Apple announced its new iPad lineup last month, many people were shocked to not only learn that the iPad 2 will live to see another day, but that it will continue to be priced at $399. That’s the same price as the new iPad mini, which comes revved up with improved specs and a Retina screen.

As it turns out, though, resellers have been slashing the price on the newly discontinued iPad 4 to $399 as well recently, and we expect that to continue. Given the fact that the iPad 4 is only a year old and features a Retina screen, the iPad 4 may offer a better value than both the iPad 2 and the iPad mini because it provides both the larger screen size and the high-end resolution.

But say yes to iPad 4 deals and Apple reseller discounts

Given the above, we’re recommending that Apple fans look for iPad 4 deals this month that fall to about $399. This is a decent month for Apple products across the board, too, if you shop in the right place. Year after year, Apple takes 5 percent to 10 percent off iPads, iPods, MacBooks and iMacs during the Apple Black Friday sale. However, third-party merchants usually undercut Apple’s small discounts with greater promotions.

Expect resellers like Amazon, MacMall and MacConnection to take up to 20 percent or more off a number of Apple products. Moreover, keep an eye out for potential Black Friday iPhone deals.

Google Nexus 7 and Windows tablets are primed for promotions

Unfortunately, there hasn’t typically been a wealth of Black Friday tablet deals during the month of November because many popular models are already so cheap. The Amazon Kindle Fire line, for example, can hardly get much cheaper, especially since the HD model now costs a mere $139.

That said, there’s a chance that the current-generation 16GB Google Nexus 7 will drop to $200, since it debuted at a higher price point this year. Additionally, we’re predicting that Microsoft’s Surface tablets might be primed for Black Friday promotions, since the first generation has already seen several price cuts this year. To date, the Microsoft Surface 32GB Windows RT tablet has fallen to as low as $314, while the Pro has been as low as $699.

Current season apparel: The good and the bad

Last month we noted that winter season apparel items will likely see their greatest sales beginning in January. However, last year a number of apparel stores offered their best online coupons of the year in the weeks leading up to (and around) Black Friday — and most stacked with existing sales and markdowns.

So if you can’t wait until the clearance sales in January, then the “best of the year” coupons during Black Friday apparel sales will at least slash 30 percent to 50 percent off, with some reaching even higher discounts.

Time to bargain for a wedding dress

According to the author of “Bridal Bargains,” November and December are excellent months to shop for a wedding dress, because there’s a decrease in demand during the holidays. Women just aren’t interested in shopping for a dress during this typically busy season, which means you have ample opportunity to bargain with the boutique — if you’re willing to haggle, that is.

Candy that’s guilt-free (pricewise)

A sugary stock of candy will help keep many a shopper’s blood sugar up during the coming weeks of intense shopping, and luckily the best time to buy Halloween items, including candy, starts Nov. 1. While it may be hard to get excited about a discounted costume you can’t (acceptably) wear until next year, you can easily stock up on Halloween candy for immediate consumption. Is a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup in the shape of a pumpkin any less delicious? We think not!

‘Tis not yet the season for toys

With all the holiday shopping you’ll likely be doing at the end of this month, you may start to get overly confident and think, “I can save on toys for the kids, too!” However, the best time to get the greatest discounts on toys for the holidays is during the middle of the month, or the second week of December.

That said, you’ll still see Black Friday toy discounts of up to 50 percent and up to 75 percent off video games, making the shopping holiday not too shabby if you’d rather get the kids’ gifts settled early. Just keep in mind that the most significant price cuts on video games this year will be for older-generation consoles. At best we might see mild “buy one get one” offers for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One video game titles.

It’s time for turkey!

This month many grocery stores will offer a free turkey to shoppers who meet a minimum purchase, ranging from $200 to $400. While you certainly shouldn’t increase your spending just to get one, many families can easily hit that minimum throughout the month, as several stores will allow shoppers to combine totals from several trips. Ask your local supermarkets what promotions they offer, and remember to save your receipts.

Now’s the time to buy that 46-inch HDTV

Buyer beware: This month you’ll be bombarded with HDTV deals. The majority of the deals will indeed be all-time lows, but stay vigilant, as not every deal you come across will be worth your time.

For instance, if you have your eyes set on a premium, name-brand HDTV, then November isn’t your month. You’re better off waiting until December, January and early February, when deals on those TVs are traditionally lower. This is due to the fact that 2014 TVs will be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January, which causes retailers to clear inventory of 2013 TVs at the start of the new year.

Instead, this month look to off-brand TVs in the 42-inch to 55-inch categories, which will fall to new price lows. You’ll most likely see the best value in the 46-inch to 55-inch range, as 42-inch TVs can’t possibly get any cheaper than they have in previous years, and 32-inch sets are usually cheaper in September. (For a rundown of prices, check out our Black Friday TV predictions.)

Specifically, we expect to see off-brand 46-inch and 47-inch sets in the $269 range and off-brand 55-inch sets in the $425 range. But keep in mind that off-brand 55-inch TVs will soon cost the same as name-brand 55-inch 3-D HDTVs. Basically that means if you play your cards right, you could snag a 55-inch 3-D name-brand TV will all the bells and whistles of a modern TV for almost the same price as an off-brand 55-inch TV, which typically has no added features.

Forget Haswell; Ivy Bridge will be on fire

If there’s one type of laptop you need to buy this month, it’s an Ivy Bridge-based laptop. Now that Intel’s Haswell processor has been out for quite some time, Ivy Bridge is ripe for the bargain bin. But unlike most bargain laptops, which choke at the mere mention of HD video, the majority of Ivy Bridge laptops still run smoothly with enough power for anything you throw their way.

Pricewise, we predict that basic 15-inch Core i5 Ivy Bridge systems (with the standard 4GB of RAM and at least a 500GB hard drive) will drop to as low as $285 this month. By comparison, a Core i5 Haswell laptop will most likely cost at least $399.

If you just want a laptop with enough power for bare-bones tasks like basic Web browsing, then look for AMD-based systems, as they could drop even lower. A 15-inch quad-core AMD system, for example, could fall to $250, as such configurations already have dropped in price in both September and October of this year. Dual-core AMD systems have even hit $205 so far, and we expect these notebooks (along with Intel Celeron and Pentium systems) to drop to $170 this Black Friday.

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