What to Buy (and Not to Buy) in November

Target Black Friday Store Opening
John Minchillo/AP Images for Target
By Raechel Conover

To buy or not to buy in November? That's the big question as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks off. Seemingly everything is on sale this month, from electronics to apparel to appliances and furniture. So, what's worth buying in November -- and when is it worth waiting?

Electronics. If you've been waiting for the right time to buy a new TV, November is your moment. With Black Friday and the holidays fast approaching, prices on HDTVs sink to their deepest discounts this month and good deals should continue through December. Tablets, laptops, digital cameras and other consumer electronics also see bargain pricing as the gift-buying momentum picks up.

Halloween novelties. When Halloween is over and done, retailers waste no time clearing the shelves. Now is the time to find next year's costume, often at 50 percent off. Deeply discounted Halloween decorations and candy also hit the sale rack in November. Load up for holiday baking, stocking stuffers and school snacks.

Tools. Tool kits such as drill, wrench, and screwdriver sets make welcome gifts for DIYers, and this month kicks off the prime time to buy an assortment of practical tools. Some of the best sales of the year generally surface in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday extravaganzas and continue into December.

Cookware. With home chefs getting a head start on holiday cooking this month, cookware deals also heat up. Be on the lookout for discounted cookware to equip your own kitchen, give as a gift or store away in anticipation of a wedding invitation.

Home goods. If you're cleaning the house for holiday gatherings and discover your upright vacuum is on its last wheel, good news: You can save on a new one this month. The same goes for large and small appliances and furniture all through the house. Sales and discounts crop up in November, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Apparel. Clothing may be on a lot of wish lists, but unless it's a must-have item for someone special, wait until January for the biggest markdowns on winter clothes and shoes. Otherwise watch for enticing store coupons. Hats, gloves and winter sleepwear make good gifts and are deeply discounted in Black Friday sales.

Wedding dress. If you've recently gotten engaged, sew up that wedding dress now. November is a slow month for bridal retailers, who typically respond with lower-than-average prices. Getting a jump on the planning maelstrom leaves plenty of time to complete the critical alterations.

Entertainment. DVDs and Blu-ray movies make excellent stocking stuffers. With prices as low as $2 and $3 in Black Friday sales, shoppers can pick up a few and put the savings toward other items on their lists.

Toys. Toys see some modest discounts in November, but past years have shown that the best time to buy toys is closer to Christmas. During the two weeks leading up to the big day, even deeper markdowns show up on holiday toys. Wait as long as possible on this one -- unless you're on the hunt for a hot toy that's likely to sell out.

Collectibles. Are you angling for a "baby's first Christmas" ornament with the year prominently displayed? If so, wait until December to fork over the cash. Although dated collectibles go on sale in November, better deals pop up in December. And if you can hold out until January, the price declines will be steeper yet -- on a very limited selection, however.

Seasonal produce. November is a big month for food. Thanksgiving tables groan under the weight of hearty repasts that incorporate seasonal produce. Apples, pears, cranberries, plums, clementines, and pumpkins round out the fall assortment of fruit (yes, pumpkins are a fruit) while broccoli, leeks, cabbage, squash, cauliflower, parsnips, celery, chestnuts, potatoes, shallots, turnips and yams make companionable in-season vegetables to buy in November.

Meats. Turkey and other game, such as goose, pheasant, and venison, typically form the core of winter holiday meals. Despite high demand, these meats often sell for discounted prices leading up to the feast days. Buy one variety for Thanksgiving dinner and freeze a second for a December holiday spread.

Food holidays. November plays host to a handful of notable food holidays, which may help shoppers score bargains and coupons. Keep an eye out for deals associated with National Candy Day, National Cake Day and National Chocolates Day. National Nachos Day also pops up in November and local restaurants may advertise specials.
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