Plan to treat yourself this holiday season? Fifty-seven percent of shoppers will be making non-gift purchases for themselves this year, up 8 percent from 2009, according to the National Retail Federation. The average personal expenditure: $107.50.
Want my advice? Wait until after the holidays to gift yourself. With so many of us returning gifts after the holidays and retailers looking to unload excess inventory from 2010, the best deals are often found after Christmas and into the New Year. Here are the top 7 items - some to be expected, some not - that you may want to put on your post-holiday shopping list.
1. Champagne and Fine Wine
Bottles of bubbly and fine wine usually go on sale around the holidays and the prices get slashed even further the weeks that follow. This year, expect even steeper price cuts, says Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart Mag. "The recession has been hard on the high-end wine maker. French wines that were going for $50 you can get for $20."
2. Baking Ingredients
During the holidays, supermarkets and discount stores load up on baking supplies to meet shoppers' demands. Afterward - when you just can't face another gingerbread man - these stores slash their prices out of necessity. "It's a great time to stock up on chocolates, spices, flour, sugar, the basics," says Freeman. The chocolate may be colored green and red, but it tastes the same!
The Annual International Consumer Electronics Show runs the first week of January. That's when companies roll out all their new models of computers, cameras, cell phones, printers ... you name it. While early adapters salivate over the newest and latest tech gadgets, January is a great time for everyone else to buy the most recent models - which will, no doubt, be discounted heavily to make room for the new. "If you don't take advantage of the Christmas deals, don't worry. After Christmas, everything'll be on sale!" says Freeman. Last year Walmart offered shoppers a $50 gift card when they bought Microsoft Xbox 360 through January 1.
4. Winter Clothes & Accessories There will be no shortage of discounts at department stores and clothing retailers - especially on hats, scarves, boots, winter coats and wool socks. Invest wisely by opting for non-trendy staples that will last you another winter or three.
5. Refurbished Goods
Expect stores' "refurbished" bins - where returned appliances and gadgets get a 10 to 20% discount - to be well-stocked after the holidays, as people return unwanted gifts. One note of caution: Only buy refurbished items from reputable dealers that offer a manufacturer's warranty. Sony, Dell, Amazon, Apple and Kitchen Aid are all in the refurbishing business.
6. Holiday Cards, Wrapping Paper, Ornaments This one's obvious. Expect discounts of 50 to 90%. A tip on the wrapping paper - go for a solid color, instead of a sheet with Christmas trees or dreidels. Gold, green, blue or red wrapping paper, while seasonal, can also be used throughout the year.
7. Calendars Can you wait a few extra days to get organized? It's almost a given that Borders and Barnes & Noble will have their 12-month calendars on sale the first weeks of January. I've spotted their buy-one-get-one-free or "All Calendars $1" deals throughout the years, appearing right around New Year's Day.
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