One of the keys to being able to balance my spendthrift tendencies with my frugal desires is by staying attuned to what’s in season. Even more than that, I keep track of what kinds of things tend to go on sale at what times of year. There are generally patterns to it and by paying attention, you can really save money. By knowing what to buy in January, you might just save enough to afford a vacation in July.
I’m an odd mixture of frugal and spendthrift. I like to save money if and when I can but at the same time, I’m in a place in my life where I like to indulge in the things I like sometimes. For example, don’t bother coming to my house with any ketchup but Heinz or any mayo but Hellmanns.
I don’t care what’s on sale or how much I could save when it comes to those items. I love lotions and soaps and fancy socks from Crabtree and Evelyn and I allow myself to splurge on them from time to time. And knowing that I would be in excruciating pain for several days after trying to ride the bus, I happily pay extra to take a taxi.
But I do look at the grocery flyers and I build my menu plans around the best deals (on food we actually like and will eat). I shop way ahead for Christmas and other occasions. There are a few people I know having babies this year and a few getting married.
I already have gifts for most of them. I look for Boxing Day and other clearance sales and I keep my eyes open when travelling or going to flea and artisan markets. When I can find something really special that’s regularly priced $150 but marked down to $30 and it’s perfect for one of those gifts, I snatch it up.
What to Buy in January
Gym memberships and eating plans like Weight Watchers.
Because so many people are making New Year’s resolutions about losing weight and getting in shape, these items almost always have reduced prices in January so it’s a great time to sign up. Be sure to read any contracts carefully though and don’t get too wrapped up in the amazing deals they’re offering.
Home gym equipment.
In case you don’t care to head to a gym, you can usually find some fabulous bargains on your own home gym equipment.
Clothing, especially winter clothes.
Need a new winter coat or boots? This is a great time to find them at clearance prices. Of course, the selection isn’t always the best but I’ve scored some really good deals on these in January. I also find that a lot of companies have extra stock left over from the holiday gift-giving season and they will slash prices. I have found $125 jeans for $20, $95 sweaters for $9, and $22 t-shirts for $2. They were high quality clothing in brands and designs that I love so I stocked up on some new wardrobe items.
Bath and bed linens.
This is the traditional time for the “white sale”. It has grown into a variety of household goods so keep your eyes pealed for any home items on your wish list.
This is an obvious one. It’s the perfect time to replace those burnt out strings of lights, to splurge on that big over-priced outdoor decoration, to get a new tree, or to replenish your wrapping paper stock.
Once again, leftover stock from the holiday season can be reduced quite drastically. I have also found that sometimes those sold out items (Fingerlings for example) will come back into stock. Since the rush is no longer on to purchase them, they are often presented at sale prices. Think ahead to filling Easter baskets, birthday parties, and even next Christmas (if it’s an item you know your child will still be interested in – my daughter collects Monopoly games so these are always a sure bet) when making your purchases.
Flooring and carpeting.
Not only did we get new flooring at discount pricing BUT they were also having a “save the taxes” event. In all, we saved over $100 on new flooring for our kitchen, hallway, and bathroom. I did my homework ahead of time though to make sure I was really getting a good deal.
Televisions in particular seem to often go on sale in January but you can sometimes find computers and other electronics as well. Again, I think these are “Christmas leftovers”. I ordered a new BluRay/Roku player that was less than half price.
Continuing with my “let’s get rid of holiday overstock” theory, there are often video games at rock-bottom pricing at this time of year.
Use caution with this one. New models usually come out in the early fall and that’s often when the best deals can be found. However, some stores will hold onto the older models during the holiday season. They then sell them off in January instead. We bought a new stove and new dryer for under $1000 (regular price $1700).
New furniture designs are often released in February so stores clear out the old stock in January.
Pin this for later and you’ll be able to refer back to it each January. Or better yet, in December so you can incorporate it into your budget ahead of time!
Save even more money with these tips for how to cut your grocery bill in half!