The Best Deals on Year-End Purchases

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Most people have heard that the end of the year can be a good time to buy a new car, but other purchases can be money-savers, too. Black Friday sales aren't the only time to get deals on items (tablets, notebooks, or appliances) you may want to pick up. Holiday sales often offer low pricing, but not always the lowest available, and often, availability of some of those sale items can be limited.

We take a look at some of the best buys you can make before the end of the year to keep some extra dollars in your pocket while enjoying some swag.

As mentioned, new cars can be a deal if you're interested in picking up this year's model. Once the next year's models roll in, dealers want to clear out the old stock. Shop carefully, and some of these cars may have been sitting in the lot long enough to have picked up some dings in the finish. Be sure to use any blemishes to your bargaining advantage and shop around. Also, don't be lured in by a great price and bad financing terms. Try to secure financing through a bank before marching into the dealership, and you'll have an extra advantage.

Some electronics can be found for great prices later in the year, too. The deals are usually based on the same principle as car sales: stores and manufacturers want to clear out older models and make way for their hot, newer offerings. Prices on tablets, Kindles, e-readers, laptops, notebooks, and other small computer electronics can start to be priced very competitively during the slow sales times between back to school and holiday shopping seasons, although Black Friday sales on these items can provide fantastic deals, too. Smartphones, however, don't seem to have a similar sales cycle, so if you're eyeing a new phone, it's best to check with your provider regularly to see if they're offering any incentives.

Big screen HDTVs can be bought at rock-bottom prices toward the end of the year. Usually, these sales coincide with big holiday sales such as Black Friday, and they often sell out quickly when offered at blowout prices. Since availability of the really low-priced models will be limited, be certain you're willing to go to whatever lengths it takes to get one.

If you haven't already, read up on the features that make an HDTV great to make sure the low prices are justified. If the picture quality is poor, blacks show up as dull grays, or a model is known for certain problems, it might not be much of a deal, and you may want to pay a little more for a model with better specs. Either way, end-of-year pricing is competitive and generally deals are at their lowest. January can also be a good time to buy leftover models taking up space before stores start their annual count of inventory.

Home appliances often sell for great prices in September and October, so if you're in the market for a new front-loading washer or stainless steel refrigerator, the end of the year can be a good time. Big manufacturers like Whirlpool, Maytag, LG and others release new models late in the year, so again, older models can go on sale. Black Friday has also been known to produce big price cuts on appliances, but the end of the season is also a great time to check out scratch-and-dent models dealers would love to have cleared from their showroom floors.

Cold weather clothing, shoes, and accessories often go on sale after late November. Some camping gear can also be discounted at this time of year as well. If you can make do with what you have as the weather gets chillier, you'll save some pocket change on gear like fleece or down jackets, ski wear, and other outdoor garb late in the year.

Take a vacation if you can get away. October and early November are good times to get low prices on cruises and other vacations. This is because travel is generally light in the later part of the year before the holidays, so hotels, airlines, and ships aren't as heavily booked as they are during peak times. If you have time for a vacation, get out and enjoy one at discount rates. The views may not be as scenic and the weather may not be perfect, but you can still enjoy visiting a new place or an old favorite and find plenty to do without the crowds.

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