2015 Christmas Shopping Guide: What To Buy & Not Buy This Season

Christmas is just a few weeks away, which means sales, sales, sales everywhere you turn.

But before you run out to take advantage of all these deals listen up, because not every deal is a good one.

Turns out when and where you shop is just as important as what you’re shopping for if you want to get the most for your money this holiday season.

To help you figure out what to buy and what to wait on we partnered with consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, along with Rather Be Shopping founder Kyle James and Priceblink President Karl Quist to get you the inside scoop.

We also collaborated with the folks at Tipsographics to provide you with an info-graphic charting the best days to shop for specific items.

What to Buy Now:

The good news is there are lots of things on your list that are a great bargain right now, mainly toys, appliances and select apparel and shoes according to our experts.

Now is when these items will be at their lowest, so no need to wait.

While that list is limited the opportunity to save while shopping is big.

Keep in mind though, that when it comes to apparel, most of the saving are on incidentals, like pajamas or travel items (think vacation clothes).

Winter apparel will be on sale, but won’t drop to its lowest price until after Christmas.

When to Shop 

To help you get the best deals, here are a few tips on when to shop for specific items; Tipsographics has a complete chart on the best shopping times, by item, which you can view below.

• Andrea pointed out 3 great opportunities for shoppers to save: Super Saturday Sales, The Saturday before Christmas and Free Shipping Day, here’s why:

-Super Saturday sales are being offered by many retailers, including Macy’s and JC Penney from now through Christmas, allowing shoppers to save big on home goods and apparel.

– Free Shipping Day, which falls on December 18, is great for last minute gifts because most online retailers offer free shipping with no minimum requirements.

-The Saturday before Christmas is great for almost any gift, especially apparel, shoes and home goods, as retailers are trying to move the old stock out for the spring merchandise.

•Kyle has 3 days in particular to shop for specific items:

Christmas Toys: Wednesday, December 16th.
-Laptops: Tuesday, December 15th.
-Apparel and Shoes: Free Shipping Day Friday, December 18th 

•In addition, Priceblink suggests using their browser add-on and app, which automatically searches the Internet while you’re shopping to find better prices, coupon codes or free shipping on whatever you’re looking for.

What NOT to Buy

Unless your spouse or loved ones have any of these items on their list (or you REALLY need some of them), wait until after the holiday for the following items:

TV’s & Electronics: First and foremost, if you MUST get a TV, laptop or other item now, Andrea says to make sure you read the fine print.

Many retailers charge shoppers with restocking fees upon returning items such as popular electronics (think tablets, TV’s and more).

Both Target and Best Buy are known for this, charging 15% of the purchase price when it comes to electronics.

In general, Andrea suggest waiting until January for a TV, when prices are at their lowest due to all the Super Bowl sales.

As for electronics, wait until February, after the Consumer Electronics show.  The show features all of the newest gadgets, making last year’s models available at deep discounts.

Christmas Decorations: Kyle points out that decorations drop down by 70-80% the day after Christmas, making it a great time to stock up for next year.  This includes ornaments, lights, nativity pieces, Christmas village pieces, and holiday decor.

Stores that typically drop their prices the day after include Target, Walmart, Macy’s, Kmart, Michael’s and Big Lots.

Cars: Unless your car is running on fumes wait until the week leading up to New Years to shop for new wheels. The end of the year is when dealers have their biggest sales to make room for the new year’s models, so you can save big on the current year’s models.

Winter Apparel: Kyle recommends shopping for winter clothing the day after Christmas, when prices on these items are at an all-time low.

Kyle notes that last year there were big deals, both online and in-stores at American Eagle (60% off),  Banana Republic (40% off), the Gap (40% off), and J.Crew and Lands’ End (50% off), a trend expected to continue this year.

What do you think of these tips?  Did our ultimate buyers guide help you shop and save?

Let us know in the comments below and be sure to  follow all my latest consumer news reports on Twitter!

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Author Profile: Consumer Expert Tracy Ortiz

I am a mom to 2 little boys: a 10 year- old and an 8 year-old and they are the only things I love more than writing. I am an avid reader, a big sports fan and love a good deal. Most of all, I love keeping up on the latest consumer news and sharing my findings with all of you. When I'm not writing I'm painting- check out my latest in my shop: etsy.com/shop/paintmeapicstudios

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