This month shopping is unavoidable, but getting good deals is easy if you time your purchases right.
This post comes from Benjamin Glaser of partner site DealNews.com.
December is the month when most people can’t avoid shopping. You may have skipped Black Friday, but the holiday season is a different beast altogether, with gifts from loved ones, friends and people you barely know coming at you from all angles.
Maintain lots of holiday cheer by shopping wisely with our December buying guide. We’ve pored over the extensive DealNews archives from years past to guide you in your quest for the most savvy purchases in December.
Gift card freebies
A popular promotion throughout the month of December — especially among restaurants — is to offer a gift card at a price that’s lower than the redeemable value. For example, last year we saw Papa John’s, Applebee’s and others all offer gift cards that were worth more than what shoppers paid for them.
Retailers, on the other hand, are more likely to offer a gift card with purchases that reach a certain order threshold, or bundled with a specific product. For example, last year Target offered $100 gift cards with Apple Watches, while Dell Home gave $200 gift cards with 55-inch TVs.
Discounted iTunes gift cards
December is by far the best month to find discounts on iTunes gift cards. The most frequent deal was $100 in iTunes credit for $80, but we saw another offer of $75 in credit for $55. Buy some as easy gifts for the holidays, or stock up for yourself and effectively save 20 percent on everything you download in the coming year.
Tools and hardware
Does Dad want a new drill for Christmas this year? Perfect! December is an excellent time for tool and hardware deals. We’re expecting 50 percent more tool deals than in January (and even more than we saw in November), and a higher rate of Editors’ Choice deals, too. Look for significant discounts on power drills, wrenches, general tool sets and more.
Christmas decorations … after Christmas
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. If you wait until Dec. 26, you’ll see discounts of 40 percent to 75 percent off seasonal goods. However, if you absolutely must buy decorations before the big day, look to Home Depot, Crate & Barrel and JCPenney for inexpensive options. Also, keep in mind that any seller with fresh-cut trees is likely going to start discounting them around Dec. 20.
But wait, doesn’t DealNews spend all year saying that Black Friday is the best time to buy a TV? And didn’t that just pass? Yes and yes. But awesome TV deals linger into December. On the first weekend in December last year, 75 percent of the TV deals we saw earned our Editors’ Choice distinction — that’s an even better rate than we saw from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. There are fewer deals overall in December, but the ones that do appear are generally a great value.
Here’s the bad news: Jewelry deals aren’t very good in December. The good news: They’re better than in any of the following few months. So if you want to get a present for the holidays, or are even thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day, check out Szul and Diamond Princess for deals on diamonds, and Kohl’s for discounts on its jewelry section. And don’t forget pearls, which are often more affordable than many realize — pearl necklaces started at $8 last year.
After-Christmas sales for clothing
After-Christmas sales are a great chance to get what you really wanted for the holidays, and they are dominated by clothing and shoe deals. Check out Nordstrom Rack, Nike and Tory Burch for up to 92 percent off select items.