5 things you should never buy during the holidays

Damn you, retailers: All that Christmas music piped into the electronics section got to you and you let your guard—you know, the one that prevents you from overspending—down. Now, you’ve gone all in on a gift or holiday #treatyoself moment that you didn’t need/want in the first place. (Hey, it happens.) Still, Christmas-related money traps are everywhere. Here’s how to protect your wallet.

RELATED: 7 Genius Ways to Save This Holiday Season

Bypass the Extended Warranty

Sure, that flat screen TV that looks like an actual picture frame is an investment—and one that you want to protect. But before you bump up the cost by tacking on an additional year of coverage, do your homework: A lot of credit cards actually offer extended warranty coverage at no extra cost, and if you pay with that card, you’re set (and just saved $100 or more).

And Bide Your Time if You’re Buying Bedding

All you want for Christmas is a new set of twill sheets. (Yep, you’re gifting them to yourself.) But before you head to the store, remember: Every January, there’s a white sale on bedding…often to the tune of 10 to 30 percent off.

Hold Out on Holiday Lights

This is a long game strategy: Unless you desperately need to replace a broken strand of fairy lights, sit tight until December 26. That’s when retailers start slashing prices, so you can stock up on all the outdoor lawn ornaments for half off.

And Wait Until the New Year to Book That Cruise

It’s the ultimate family gift: A cruise. (Hello, like this one that takes you to all seven continents, woot!) But if you wait until “wave season”— January through March—to book your tickets, you’ll see more individual cruise lines offering better promotions and deals. Would it be it fun to surprise the kids on Christmas morning with, “We’re going on a cruise!” Of course. Can you get the same message across with a creatively crafted placeholder coupon? Absolutely.

Winter Clothing

There’s a buy-one-get-the-second-one-half-off deal on cashmere sweaters and you can’t. get. it. out. of. your. head. If you can wait until the new year to re-stock your closet, do it. Because after Christmas, those cashmere sweaters will make their way to the clearance rack to make way for pre-spring clothing…and you can nab an even bigger deal. (Two for the price of one, anybody?)

RELATED: 6 Things That Always Go On Sale in December

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