December Is the Worst Month To Buy These 12 Things

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This December, protect your finances by avoiding these 12 buying blunders.
Updated Feb. 21, 2024
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You might have a long list of things you need to buy for the holidays, but be mindful of the items on your list. Is this the best time to buy?

If you’re trying to find a good deal, some items are better left off your December shopping list.

Instead, use these smart shopping hacks and know which items to hold off buying until the end of the year or wait for a time with better sales.

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Christmas decorations

Keitma/Adobe daughter decorates the christmas tree

Decorations like lights, trees, wreaths, and other things will be at a premium in the month of Christmas, and you could end up paying more than you want for decorations. Plus, the selection may be limited.

By waiting until after December 25, you can probably get good deals when decorations are marked down, and you can stock up at a discount for next year.

Jewelry

Mediteraneo/Adobe happy man looking at a watch

Jewelry can be a great gift for someone you love during the holidays, so it’s likely to be marked up during the month or excluded from sales.

January may be a better month to pick up some sparkle and shine but try not to get too close to Valentine’s Day when prices won’t be at a discount either.

It’s also a good idea to check the return policies on jewelry in case you’re worried about buying something that someone will like.

Bedding

Rawpixel.com/Adobe couple making bed

January is a big sale month for bedding, so it may be a good idea to skip those types of items in December and wait a month to get better deals.

You’ll want to hold off on comforters or sheets, even though those flannel sheets can be particularly warm in the winter months.

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Toys

warongdech/Adobe asian girls shop for toys

It’s a good idea to pick up any toys you want before December, when prices may not be at the best level.

If you still want to buy toys in December, purchase them early, as retailers know gifters get desperate closer to Christmas and may increase prices on the few selections that might still be available.

Swimsuits

american911/Adobe woman shopping in retail store

Do you have a warm, tropical vacation planned in December to escape the cold and snow? It sounds like a great time, but you could be paying a premium for a new swimsuit when they’re not in season.

Instead, stick with what you already have or try to find something online, knowing you may have to pay more than you did in the summer.

You should also skip any shops at local resorts you’ll be visiting as swimsuits and other tropical accessories will have premium mark-ups.

Exercise equipment

Seventyfour/Adobe man and woman running on treadmills

Retailers are anticipating shoppers who are planning to buy exercise equipment in December to start their New Year’s resolutions to get in shape in January.

Hold off on getting equipment at the end of the year, and keep an eye out on January deals for treadmills, ellipticals, or stationary bikes.

On the other hand, you may want to consider getting a gym membership at the end of December before the January rush. Gyms may give you a discount to reach their end-of-month or end-of-year sales goals, and the space is usually empty during the holidays.

Electronics

insta_photos/Adobe male student using laptop

You may be excited about getting a new laptop in December or buying one for someone else, but it may be better to hold off.

Electronic manufacturers tend to launch their latest innovations in January, so the things you buy in December could become outdated quickly. 

If you don’t want the latest technology, you could also get a discount on the slightly outdated tech after the new models are launched.

Televisions

terovesalainen/Adobe couple with socks watching TV

Televisions could be discounted in November for Black Friday, but those models probably don’t have many features you want. By December, the pickings could be slim without many discounts on TV sets and with the best models sold out after the Black Friday rush.

Instead, hold off on that new television until January. TV manufacturers anticipate a big increase in sales due to the Super Bowl in early February and take advantage of the big game with discounts to move televisions.

Furniture

Prostock-studio/Adobe couple replacing furniture

You might be surprised to learn that furniture companies launch their new products in February. That’s why the month is a good time to find discounts on things like sofas and tables as retailers get rid of old items for new models.

You can also find plenty of furniture sales during holidays like Presidents Day or Labor Day, so avoid buying in December and start planning for your furniture purchase later.

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Storage containers

Angelov/Adobe young man organizing the closet

You may be pulling out all your Christmas decorations and realizing this is a good time to get more storage containers.

But it may be better to hold off on buying any new storage containers or storage systems until the new year. Check online or at local retailers to see when they have discounts on storage items. 

Many people may try to fulfill New Year’s resolutions to get more organized.

Winter coats

Maria Sbytova Cute little boy trying new coat during shopping

Winter can be raging in December, just in time for you to put on your old coat and realize you need a new one. Retailers anticipate this and will be charging a premium for winter coats by the time December rolls around.

It may be better to stick out the winter with your current coat if you can and either buy a new one at a discount near the end of winter or pick one up in autumn with new arrivals.

Cruises

michaeljung/Adobe couple talking while walking on cruise ship

The snow is falling, and there’s a chill in the air, making you consider booking a vacation somewhere warm.

You aren’t the only one. Cruise lines take advantage of shoppers by pushing prices higher in anticipation of cold days, motivating cruise shoppers. They may also bump up prices because they know gifters may find a cruise to be a great gift.

So wait until January to book those cruises when ticket prices will be lower, and you can get on a ship for a vacation at a cheaper rate.

Bottom line

Prostock-studio/Adobe freelancer guy using smartphone and credit card at home

December is a great shopping month, but keep an eye out for higher prices during the holidays or sales that won’t kick in until after Christmas.

Regardless of when you shop, make sure you have the best credit cards that can earn you extra perks or points when you charge an item.

You should also pay attention to your budget, as it can be easy to overspend during the holidays, so see if there are some purchases that you can delay making until January.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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