What to buy (and skip) in January 2022

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    It’s 2022 and the new normal still feels pretty unusual. The holiday season came and went and we all learned a lot about supply chain management. If you’re reading this, you are likely unimpressed by product delays and determined to save money in the New Year.

    The good news is that you can count on some proven after-sale deals, although discounts can likely vary. Here’s your guide to what to buy (and skip) in January based on NerdWallet’s analysis of historical sales cycles, along with a little speculation in an unpredictable retail environment.

    Buy: Christmas decorations

    It’s no surprise that Christmas decorations go on sale in the days after the holidays. We understand keeping the Christmas cheer up after the decorations drop, but the savvy shopper replenishes in January when retailers ditch leftovers cheaply.

    Nerdy tip: Do-it-yourselfers can shop the post-Christmas sales to stock up on fresh fairy lights that are easy to store and find next year. And after a few years of stocking up, you’ll have enough locks to beat Clark Griswold from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

    Skip: Furniture

    The range is too limited to feel comfortable when buying furniture. Yes, some retailers have inventory in stock, but chances are they won’t be able to choose from a wide range. This could put pressure on you to make a decision now that you will regret later. Plus, President’s Day weekend (February 19-21) is often that ideal time to buy furniture in the winter.

    Buy: TV

    It’s hard to imagine a time in the year when televisions aren’t popular. Who doesn’t love the look of a 4K flat screen TV wall-mounted on a particular Sunday afternoon? You’ll be happy to know that the recent trend in televisions is bigger and cheaper, according to Consumer Reports. But aside from Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, you can often get the best bargain on tv just before the Super Bowl.

    The big game is scheduled for February 13th. You can expect Amazon, Best Buy, and other large retailers to close deals in the weeks leading up to kick-off. As far as inventory goes, at the time of writing, both Amazon and Best Buy had many models and sizes to choose from.

    Skip: Gym Memberships

    It is well known that gyms respond to the influx of serious athletes with membership discounts in January. Also common knowledge: Most people fail to stick to their training-related New Year’s resolutions. Gyms plan to do this and tend to sell more memberships than their facilities can take this time of year, says Lars Perner, assistant professor of clinical marketing at the University of Southern California.

    We don’t want you to waste your money. That, along with the still very real threat of COVID-19, makes gym membership a «skip» this year.

    Buy: fitness equipment

    Training equipment will also go on sale in January. You can expect more great deals from retailers this year as the demand for free weights and machines has subsided. Another bonus? While it’s not a monetary deal, waiting times for popular products have been shorter since the pandemic began. For example, Pelotons Bike and Bike + are expected to ship in one to two weeks at the time of this writing, up from an estimated eight to ten weeks ago.

    Nerdy tip: New exercise bike still too expensive? Check out the Facebook Marketplace and other used apps, such as OfferUp and Craigslist for used equipment. And remember, there is almost always room for bargaining with used items, so make an offer.

    Skip (for now): toys

    When Christmas is over, the toy offers in January disappear. Skip them for now, but keep an eye out for the off-season sales in February and spring. «There could be bargains for things that didn’t make it in time for the holidays,» says Perner. These items could then be unloaded with substantial discounts. He suspects toys could fall into this category since the vast majority are meant to be imported and bought as gifts. This can lead to unexpected offers on popular Christmas gifts if late deliveries arrive.

    Nerdy tip: If you discover a good buy in a hot toy, take the deal and keep it for a future gift.

    Discover your savings opportunities

    View your spending breakdown to reveal your key spending trends and where you can make cuts.

    Buy: bed linen and towels

    Department stores made January famous for their white sales. They cut down on bedspreads, sheets, towels, and more to make room for new inventory. We have seen savings of up to 70% over the past few years. Check out department store classics like Macy’s, Belk, and Dillard’s for great sales.

    Shop: Martin Luther King Jr. Day sale

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day is January 17th. Since it is a three-day weekend for many workers, some retailers are offering sales. Look for deals on a range of products, from handbags and winter clothing to housewares and Mattresses.

    Bonus: National Cake Day

    If you’ve set yourself a goal to eat healthier this year, mark January 23rd as your first «cheat day». It’s National Pie Day and your chance to win a free piece at participating bakeries and restaurants.

    Deal or no deal?

    Stay optimistic, but dampen expectations in January. Retailers make decisions based on customer demand, and aggregate demand was strong in late 2021. You can test willingness to pay full price in January and then offer discounts when needed, says Simone Peinkofer, assistant professor of supply chain management at Michigan State University.

    Be ready to make a decision about game time. «There is always a risk associated with this,» says Peinkofer. «Wait or not wait?»

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