9 Things to Buy in January

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Americans spent a record $469 billion dollars shopping for the holidays, according to the National Retail Foundation.

That’s probably going to leave many people with a credit hangover in January. Good thing there’s nothing you need to buy next month, right?

Wrong, at least if you want to save money in the long run. In the video below, Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson names some purchases you might want to make in January – and why. Check it out, and then read on for more ideas.

As Stacy explained, the best time to buy is when nobody else is. You don’t need an economics degree to figure that out: Just watch the price tags on these things next month…

  1. Remodeling. When do people most want to show off their homes? At big family get-togethers, for the holidays. (Or when they’re selling.) So they get remodeling done in the fall and leave contractors scrambling for work in January. That means prices may be lower, especially when you get multiple quotes, and materials may be cheaper. If it’s the kitchen you’re upgrading, check out How to Remodel Your Kitchen for Less Than $5,000.
  2. Houses. Few people want to look at homes in the freezing cold or when the yard looks barren – which is why you should. There are fewer bidding wars and more desperate sellers: If they wanted better prices, they’d hold out for good weather.
  3. Vacations. This is another big expense most people can’t afford to think about in January, and many don’t want to travel again so soon after dealing with hectic airports for the holidays. But frontloading your vacation can save money, especially in the places Stacy mentioned – casino towns like Vegas. Airfares and hotel prices are down from their holiday highs and may be even lower because of large vacancies, which lead to more promotions and package deals.
  4. Patio furniture and grills. Once again, the weather is a big factor in scoring deals. January’s not a fun time to lounge by the pool or hold a barbecue, so you’ll see furniture sets and burger-makers on sale. (And pool toys too, if stores even have them on the shelves.)
  5. Outdoor gear. The same goes for most sporting goods and outdoor gear, unless it’s for winter sports like skiing. Camping equipment is cheapest when the bears are hibernating, and mountain bikes are price-capped when the mountains are snow-capped.
  6. Jewelry. Retailers start making room for new stock after the holidays and in time for Valentine’s Day – which is when prices will shoot up. Early January is a great time to save on a Valentine’s gift, and we have A Man’s Guide to Taking the Stress Out of Jewelry Shopping if you need it.
  7. Video games. Blockbuster movies are released in the summer, but with games, they usually hit before the holidays. Businesses that make most of their money off video games won’t drop prices as soon, but big-box retailers that have less space for games will. Expect to see more 2010 titles in the clearance section, the first post-Black Friday reductions on fall and winter releases, and big price drops on titles that didn’t sell as well as expected.
  8. Electronics. One of the biggest consumer electronics trade shows happens in January, and that’s when a lot of brands show off new models that will be out later in the year. This is when retailers realize they still have a lot of last year’s model in stock and start cutting prices.
  9. Air conditioners. The holidays might romanticize icy temperatures, but by the time January rolls around, the last thing people want is chilly air. December is the best time to make energy-efficiency investments so you can get the tax credit a few months later, but demand and prices are still down in January.

Timing may not be everything, but it sure can cut costs. And if your New Year’s resolution is to save more money in 2012, spending smart is a good way to start.

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