The Best and Worst Things to Buy in January

The Best and Worst Things to Buy in January Photo (cc) by HelveticaFanatic

This post comes from Lindsay Sakraida at partner site DealNews.

The new year is upon us, and after all that shopping you likely did during the holidays, you may be looking forward to giving your credit card a rest. But January is an excellent month to bag deals on winter apparel or early Valentine’s Day gifts.

So before you resign yourself to steering clear of stores altogether this month, check out our list of the best and worst things to buy in January, which we compiled from our extensive archives. But before you do, check out this short video on the topic by Stacy Johnson of Money Talks News.

Resolve to buy discounted fitness equipment

A popular New Year’s resolution is to get in shape and, fittingly, January is an excellent time to get a deal on fitness gear and equipment. In fact, in years past, there have been almost double the number of deals in January. (We otherwise didn’t see another spike in deals until late spring.)

Look for stationary bikes, treadmills, elliptical trainers, complete home gyms, and training accessories and DVDs that are marked 40 to 90 percent off, and include brands such as NordicTrack, Weider and Powerline.

January is also a great time to start grabbing discounted equipment for winter sports.

Spring for winter apparel

In general, a lot of the best things to buy during after-Christmas sales remain good buys throughout the month of January, including winter clothing. We typically see discounts of 50 to 80 percent off on coats and winter accessories at stores such as Eddie Bauer, REI, Lands’ End and more.

Keep in mind, however, that “low as they can go” clearance pricing will come in late February, so if you’re just looking to replace this year’s style for future winters, you can save more by waiting until the end of the season.

A month for home furniture

Horchow, West Elm, Home Depot, Target and Crate & Barrel are just a few of the major retailers that heavily discount their collections in January. You’ll even see a few mattress sales, although we’ve found that the best mattress deals come in April.

Expect to see furniture clearance sales that take between 40 to 75 percent off regular prices. Meanwhile, mattress sales will see slightly more modest discounts of 40 to 60 percent off from retailers such as Sears and J.C. Penney.

By comparison, the best furniture sales in December will take just 15 to 30 percent off regular prices.

Visit national parks, free of charge

Jan. 19 is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and in celebration, all 401 national park sites will feature free admission. While a large number of our parks are already free, notable parks that are waiving their fees include several of the most visited in the country, such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Olympic National Park.

You’ll save roughly $12 per person if you’re arriving by foot or bike, or about $20 to $25 per vehicle. If you miss it, don’t sweat it. The next fee-free weekend comes in February for Presidents Day.

Keep an eye out for early tax software deals

This month, we will start seeing sales that take up to 50 percent off tax filing software and services. That usually resulted in about $10 to $20 off the retail price for software from H&R Block and TurboTax. Keep in mind, however, that discounts will become more frequent in February and March, and all of the Editors’ Choice deals we saw last year popped up toward the end of March.

Regardless of when you buy, be aware of whether the package you’re buying includes the cost of submitting your state returns. Frequently, these services will charge extra for state, and if it’s included in the cost, that might make it a better overall deal.

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