read

Brighten Your Financial Outlook With These December Deals

December is the month when holiday shopping really gets going. In fact, you can’t swing a wreath at the mall without hitting a sale. You do want to be savvy, though, in order to make sure you get the very best deals.

Free shipping

This time of year, don’t buy anything online unless there’s free shipping involved. Many online retailers waive their shipping fees to woo customers. Before you hit "buy," poke around to find coupons for free shipping and other discounts.

Toys (for kids and adults)

Mid-month, watch for another crop of door-busting deals on toys, tools, and electronics in a final push to get customers in the door.

Gift cards

These have, no doubt, become a hot gift item. In fact, 61 percent of people say gift cards are on their wish list. Keep an eye out for discounts as well as offers of free cards with a purchase. These discounted cards often come directly from the business, but you can also look to grocery stores, which often sell a mix of brands. Even if you don’t plan on gifting them, save them for later. You could, for example, spend them on cheap threads at the January clearance sales.

Gift sets

You never know when you will need to give someone a present. Why not keep a small stash of gifts in your hall closet for emergencies? Things besides decorations go on sale for the post-holiday clearance, especially at department stores. Look around for some attractive and thoughtful finds for your stash. Things like wine glasses, serving dishes, and bar sets make great hostess gifts.

Gym memberships

If you'd like to get in shape, the last week or so of the month may be a good time to shop around. Some places will waive the membership fee or offer some other special rate to draw in people making New Year's resolutions.

Décor

As you know, it all goes on clearance right after the holiday. But don’t leap in on Dec. 26. Wait a week or so because retailers will mark them down again. And if you’re after a fresh tree, some stands start slashing prices a week or so before Christmas.

Food

Just about everything that you’d want in order to create a holiday feast will be on sale. This is an especially good time to stock up on baking supplies, such as flour, chocolate, baking powder, and sugar.

To keep your spending within budget, you'll want to borrow a page from Santa's playbook and always be watching — for the best deals, that is.

Tags: Budgeting