With Thanksgiving come and gone, and Black Friday just a memory, it's officially time to think about December holidays. While evergreen trees and twinkly lights have been on display since even before Halloween, now's the time that everyone really gets into the festive spirit.
Believe it or not, now is not the best time to purchase all your holiday decor, so hopefully you're able to pull out your favorite pieces from storage. (Psst:The best time to buy holiday swag is after the holidays, when all the retailers put it on clearance.) With that said, there are some items that are best to buy in December.
One might expect champagne prices to skyrocket come December, a month when festive gatherings are frequent and excuses to pop open a bottle of bubbly are common. Nope: Champagne is actually one of the best buys in December. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%According to Sharon Castilla, director of the Office of Champagne, Champagne prices drop in anticipation of New Year's Eve. Because champagne is in such high demand at this time of year, retailers try to out-deal each other in an effort to gain more business. Consumers win in this bottle battle.
Black Friday originated as an almost exclusively electronics-based bonanza. It has blossomed into so much more, but there's definitely no shortage of electronics deals. Fortunately for buyers who weren't brave enough to venture into the Black Friday frenzy, those hot prices on TVs, cameras, computers, tablets and other electronics continue well into December. In fact, you'll see cuts on electronic prices through February.
Fitness Apparel and Equipment
Making a fitness- or health-related resolution for 2014? Don't wait until January to stock up on essentials. Shop for athletic apparel and equipment now, before prices shoot through the roof on Jan. 1. In December, before the New Year's resolution crowd start shopping, you'll have no problem finding yoga pants, sports bras, sneakers and athletic tops on sale. Fitness equipment and DVDs are also some of the best buys in December.
From lip balms to deep hair conditioners to heavy-duty skin creams, any product that moisturizes is a hot seller throughout winter. And that's why companies vie for your patronage by offering sweet deals and a bountiful supply of coupons. Subscribe to your favorite stores' email lists to stay in the know regarding upcoming sales. Many companies also send out coupons exclusive to those on their subscriber list.
If it seems a little weird to you to buy a wedding dress in December, know you're not the only one who thinks so -- and that's the point. Throughout the holiday months, many engaged couples put wedding planning so far down on their priority list that retailers in the nuptials business experience a serious drop in sales. As a result, they create enticing promotions to lure in buyers. If you're planning a spring or summer wedding, shop for your dress now, before prices start creeping up again.
Best Things to Buy in Bulk
The Best Things to Buy in December
Buying in bulk usually saves money. Wal-Mart boasts on its Web site that the average family of four can pocket $2,000 a year by opting for bulk purchases instead of smaller sizes. That is, of course, assuming nothing goes to waste. Here are some of the best bulk purchases. They include gift cards, toothbrushes, paper goods, cell phone minutes, blank DVDs, lightbulbs and generic vodka.
For a limited time, you can find discounted gift cards at Costco. For example, five $20 Starbucks cards, which normally cost $100, are $79.99 (a 20% savings). Two $25 Godiva Chocolate gift cards, a $50 value, are going for $39.99 (also 20% off).
Aside from changing brushes every three months, think of how many times an overnight guest forgets to bring a toothbrush, or when you go on a trip and leave your toothbrush at the hotel. A six-pack of Braun Oral B toothbrushes from Amazon.com sells for $13. Buying six of the same individual toothbrushes would cost close to $15.
You can never have enough stationery, thank you notes and holiday cards. Crane Paper, an upscale stationery chain, recently ran a sale on bulk purchases, where if you bought 75 pieces of select stationery you got 25 pieces free. Also, one blank thank you card from CVS starts at around 99 cents, versus an 8-pack of blank cards for $5.99, a $3 savings. Target and Wal-Mart also offer creative stationery designs at low prices.
Burn all your favorite movies and home videos. A 50-pack of DVD-R's costs $30 at Staples or $1.67 each, while a 5-pack costs $11 or $2.20 each.
If you're a chatterbox, then the best possible advice when it comes to cell phone minutes is to round up when in doubt of how much you need. It almost always costs less to over-buy minutes ahead of time, than to go over in a given month. While the per-minute cost within a plan may be five to eight cents, the overage can cost up to 45 cents per minute.
Much like the Millionaire Next Door does, pour generic vodka into a Ketel One clear bottle and your guests will never notice the difference. A 1.75L of Popov Vodka costs $13.99 at ShopRite, while the same size of Ketel One runs closer to $40.
A single 14-watt mini spiral light bulb from Home Depot costs $4, while a pack of four costs $7. Enough said.
As food prices soar and the economy worsens, it's a perfect time to look at the money wasters in our life. So for the third time, we asked our readers what they think are the top ways to waste money.
Click through our gallery and see if you agree with this list that we pulled from our message board. Are there worse ways you waste your money?