The week after Christmas is often when shoppers head back to the store to return or exchange gifts, or maybe use a gift card they got in their stocking. But did you know the these days right after Christmas is one of the best times of the year to score a bargain? It’s a time when stores start to have the “Clear It Out” mentality and start slashing prices left and right. So now that Santa’s cookie crumbs are all that is left on the plate, it’s time to consider smart post-Christmas buys and real opportunities to save money. Here are eleven items that provide some great savings potential, shop smart and you could save hundreds of dollars on stuff you were going to buy later in the year at potentially full price.
Apparel and Shoes
Aside from Cyber Monday, perhaps the best time to score a deal on clothing and shoes is the day after Christmas. Last year we saw up to 60% off at American Eagle, 40% off at Banana Republic and Gap, and 50% off at J.Crew and Lands’ End. These deals were both online and in-store. Clothing retailers are ready to dump excess Holiday inventory and definitely want to do it before the end of the year if they can. It also doesn’t hurt that Spring styles are heading down the pike and stores need to make room. Finally a great time to buy winter apparel.
Buy Christmas Decor
This one is perhaps the most obvious way to save money after Christmas. Christmas decorations, ornaments, lights, nativity pieces, Christmas village pieces, and holiday decor will be seriously marked down right after Christmas. We are talking like 70-80% off the original price making it a great time to stock up, box it up, and pull it out next December and enjoy the fruits of your bargain hunting labor. Key stores to look for deals include Target, Walmart, Macy’s, and Kmart.
Think Mother’s Day, Valentines & Father’s Day
To maximize your savings you need to think out of the box a little bit and consider upcoming gifts you’ll likely be buying. Post Christmas deals can often be found on jewelry, home decor, tools, and personalized gift ideas making it a great time to buy (and store) gifts at a big discount. By thinking and shopping ahead you can save hundreds of dollars over the course of an entire year. Be sure to keep a keen eye out for potential gift ideas that are a great deal this time of year.
For this one, you’re going to want to shop early in the morning on the 26th. As a matter of fact, plan on being there when the store opens to score a great deal on a new TV. The good deals will go pretty quickly. Many retailers like BestBuy, Sears, Target, and Walmart have overstocks and clearance deals left over that they are ready to clear out. You may not find great deals on top-tier brand name TV’s (those come in late January and February) but you should be able to get a great deal on brands like Element, Insignia, Ultra, RCA, Westinghouse, and Direct.
Wrapping Paper Deals
Of course you’re going to find HUGE deals on Christmas wrapping paper right after Christmas, but the savings doesn’t stop there. Look for wrapping paper that is not necessarily Christmas themed and doesn’t have Santa Claus plastered all over it. My wife does this every year and stocks up (for pennies on the dollar) on wrapping paper that can be used for birthdays, graduations, and the like.
Historically, we have seen some great deals on laptops right after Christmas through the end of February, many topping what we saw on Black Friday. Be sure to check the specs carefully as many of the great deals are on lower performing systems but if you are looking for a laptop in the $175 – $250 range you’ll want to shop between December 26 – 31. Key retailers to check for deals include BestBuy, Amazon, Hewlett Packard, Target, and Walmart.
Have Friends Who Are Expecting?
This is a tip that was first introduced to me by a friend a couple years ago. Do you have any friends who are expecting a baby in the near future? Post-Christmas deals are a great time to shop for a baby shower gift as well as a newborn gift. Look for some great clearance deals at stores like Gymboree, Children’s Place, Hanna Andersson, and Babies R Us.
The wedding season might not be for another 5 months, but if you know you have a wedding to attend in the near future shop for your gift right after Christmas and save a butt load of money. Ideas include housewares, dishware, home decor, and small appliances. Look for screaming deals at Macy’s, Mikasa, Pfaltzgraff, Bed Bath & Beyond, Nordstrom, and JCPenney.
Shopping for a new treadmill, weight set, or elliptical machine? Your time to score a great deal is coming really soon. Specifically, start shopping for a deal right after Christmas with the best deals coming in the first week of January. The offers this time of year will be fantastic. I just received in the mail a 25% off your clearance order coupon for Dick’s Sporting Goods with valid dates between 12/26/14 and 1/11/15. Look for other stores like Sports Authority, Sears. and Big 5 Sporting Goods to have very similar coupons.
Furniture stores notoriously offer BIG sales right after Christmas through mid-January. Look for big discounts from stores like Crate & Barrel, Target, Cost Plus, and Sears. Also, if you can wait until January 1st you’re going to find that many furniture stores offer New Year’s sales making it great time to buy and save money.
Another gift idea to consider buying right after Christmas is teacher gifts from your kids. With 3 elementary aged kids of my own, I realize the benefit of shopping right after Christmas and storing gifts until June. Also, consider picking up some screaming deals on Christmas ornaments to give to your child’s teacher next December. You no longer will have to scramble around on December 18th trying to find a gift anymore. I’m all about removing the stress of finding last minute gifts and this tip definitely fits that bill.
By Kyle James
Procrastinating your Christmas shopping just might save you a BUNCH of money this year. Well, now that you have found this article anyway. While shopping year-round and only buying when you find screaming deals is typically the best way to save on your shopping, these 6 tips just might help you save even more money. Use them wisely, protect them closely, and unleash them often young Jedi. May the force (and savings) be with you…
Learn to Negotiate a Great Deal
Shopping in-store between now and Christmas and the things on your list all seem to be marked at full price? Don’t fret as you can still score a deal by negotiating with the employees on the floor. I have done this successfully at Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears, and even Costco. Look for things like flooring models, display models, damaged packaging, and don’t forget to become a price matching ninja. Start by asking for 20% off and be prepared to meet in the middle. Also, try the bundling technique where you ask for a discount when buying 2 or more significant items. Example: Bundle a TV and a Bluray player and ask for a discount. Be polite and you’ll be surprised with how well it works. More Info: Talk Your Way to a Deal: How to Negotiate at Major Retailers
Abandon Your Virtual Cart
If you’re making a significant purchase like a new TV, computer, riding lawn mower, Les Paul electric guitar, treadmill (you get the idea) try this tip to score a coupon. Just register with the website where you plan to purchase, login to your account, add the items to your virtual cart, then when you reach the payment page, instead of entering your credit card info simply log out of your account and abandon your cart. This will trigger an email by many large online retailers enticing you to come back to your virtual cart by offering a coupon code to complete your order. Popular retailers where this often works include JCPenney, Best Buy, Guitar Center, Bass Pro Shops, Babies R Us, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Macy’s. Sure, it’s a bit passive aggressive, but who the heck cares, save money any way you can! More Info: 17 Online Retailers Who’ll Bait You Back with a Coupon
Shop on the Right Day of the Week
Were you aware that many popular retailers do their clearance markdowns and add new items to the clearance rack on certain days of the week? Yep, it’s true! I actually wrote an article recently on 12 Insider Tips on Store Markdowns that will help you shop on the right day and save some serious money when finishing up your Christmas shopping. After all, there is nothing worse than shopping in the clearance section and finding if completely picked over. In the 10 days leading up to Christmas be sure to shop the following days to score the best clearance deal at the following stores:
- Sunday: Joann Fabrics & Crafts
- Monday: Gap, CVS Pharmacy
- Tuesday: Macy’s, Anthropologie
- Wednesday: Ross, Old Navy, Best Buy
- Thursday: Babies R Us
- Friday: JCPenney
- Saturday: Kohl’s
Free Shipping Day (December 18th)
When shopping online perhaps the best day to procrastinate, and still score a deal, is Thursday, December 18th, also known as Free Shipping Day. A day when over 1,000 online retailers come together to offer guaranteed Christmas Eve delivery with NO minimum purchase required. A few retailers that are offering free shipping, that typically don’t, include Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, J.Crew, Crutchfield, Sports Authority, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Most retailers will offer free shipping with NO coupon code required so be to sure to look for an online coupon to stack on top of the free shipping offer to score the best deal possible.
Shopping Online? Hit Up Live Chat
This tip is one of my favorite ways to score an online deal when no coupon is available and you seemed destined to pay full price. Hit up the live chat feature that many online websites employ and politely ask for a coupon for free shipping or a percent off your entire purchase. A large percentage of live chat operators have coupon codes ready to hand out to encourage shoppers to complete purchases and build brand loyalty. Start taking advantage, like right NOW. More Info: Frugal Hack: Use Live Chat To Score Deals
Buy Discounted Gift Cards
Perhaps the best (and most popular) gift idea for procrastinators is the gift card. The gift that says you spent as little time as possible shopping for someone. Kidding. That is not always the case as gift cards are often great ideas for folks who are impossible to shop for. Let them pick out something they actually want. But why pay full price for one when you can buy discounted gift cards for most popular stores? Did you know you can typically pay 8-20% less for gift cards by using websites like Gift Card Granny.com, CardPool.com, Raise.com, and GiftCards.com. Check them out and save yourself some money when buying last minute gift cards this year. More Info: Frugal Hack #12: How to Buy Discounted Gift Cards
By Kyle James
I was recently doing a story with NBC 12′s “Diva of Discounts”, Jennifer Warnick, in Richmond, Virginia, and after our Skype interview she asked me about the smartphone apps that I like to use to save money when shopping. I rattled off a couple and it quickly became quite apparent that she knew way more about the subject than I. So being the smart blogger that I am, I just shut my mouth and simply [...] Continue Reading…
As I have talked about many times, I am a huge fan of trying to figure out the best times to make online purchases to maximize savings in terms of both deals and coupons made available by popular retailers. So I dug back through 5 years of data here at Rather-Be-Shopping.com and figured out when we get the best deals and coupons sent to us in December. I then broke the data up by [...] Continue Reading…
Have you ever bought something only to notice in the retailer’s next flyer that the item is now on sale? If you have, and you are a bargain shopper like me, you know it can be maddening and make you want to shoot an Amazon drone or glue your butt to the toilet seat at the Home Depot. But fortunately all hope is not lost as many major retailers will happily offer you a [...] Continue Reading…
So here we are again. Black Friday is right around the corner and the ads are starting to pop up so I figured it was time to document and dissect them to help you find some real buying opportunities. It is also important to remember that not all Black Friday deals are created equal and many items are actually cheaper closer to Christmas or at a different time of the year. See my article [...] Continue Reading…
$1.735 billion. That is how much was spent shopping online last year on Cyber Monday. Pretty darn big number. That number was actually the all-time record for how much money was spent online in one day. The big day this year falls on December 1st. Yes, you can find some amazing deals, but not all deals are what they seem. It is important to realize what items represent a screaming Cyber Monday opportunity and [...] Continue Reading…
As we head toward the deals and coupons of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight some things that are actually going to be a better buy before the big shopping weekend. Stuff that either doesn’t excite frantic turkey stuffed shoppers or always just seems to be on sale in early to mid November. See if you can take advantage of any of these deals this year and [...] Continue Reading…
So it was big news earlier this week when Target made the strategic decision to offer free shipping on ALL orders this holiday season. Perhaps they are trying to spread some good will after their huge data breach earlier this year. In any case, it gave me the idea for this article, so thanks Target! I went out and did the painstaking research (not really) to find other online retailers that offer free [...] Continue Reading…
Black Friday is dead.
There, I said it, and the earth amazingly continues to revolve around the sun. OK, there are some exceptions when it does makes sense to make a purchase on Black Friday. But these exceptions are becoming fewer and fewer every year. (Be sure to check out our Black Friday ad breakdown to figure out where the best deals are going to be.) As a general rule, I am a huge advocate of Christmas shopping [...] Continue Reading…