What to Buy and Not to Buy in December

By Raechel Conover, Cheapism.com

Holiday shopping is in full swing and it seems as though Black Friday deals will never end. Smart consumers know, however, that just because everything appears to be on sale this month doesn't mean this is the moment to purchase certain items. What then, should you buy in December? The answer: toys, select electronics, select home goods, some Christmas goods, wedding dresses, and real estate. Although you may be in a splurging frame of mind, don't get sucked into deals on a gym membership, jewelry, or watches.

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Toys are best bought after mid-month.

Toys. Toys may be on sale right now, but rushing out today to buy all the goodies that will go under the holiday tree doesn't make sense. The best toy deals of the year are yet to come. The two weeks leading up to Christmas see the deepest toy discounts, so hold off before hitting up the toy store.

Electronics. Electronics -- digital cameras, tablets, laptops, TVs and the like are a big holiday purchase for many folks, but unfortunately not the best deals in December. The best deals historically happen in November on Black Friday and then again in January when the new models debut and the previous year's models are marked down.

That said, December is the best time to buy HDTV's -- especially less well-known brands (although some top brands also come with deep discounts). Blu-ray movies and DVD's are also reduced this month.

Home Goods. Planning to spend a lot of time in the kitchen this month? You're in luck. Kitchen items are good to buy in December because they're typically marked way down. If you don't plan to cook much this season, a mixer makes a good gift for your mother-in-law.

Kitchen items are typically marked way down during December.

Shopping for the man on your list? Now is the time to buy tools, particularly wrench, screwdriver, and drill sets. These will make the perfect gifts under the tree for that DIYer in your life.

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Linens, on the other hand, are not the best home goods to buy in December. Stores host their annual "white sales" in January, so that's the best time to buy linens and towels. Furniture is also a no-no in December. Again, wait until January when retailers are anxious to clear the showroom for new products that are released in February.

Winter Wear and Gear. As a general rule of thumb, most items are discounted when they go out of season. December begins the winter season and items like skis, snow blowers, and winter gear are tagged at close to full price. Put off buying these items until February, or even April, when demand is down and retailers are eager to unload inventory.

Holiday Goods. Christmas is December 25th, making December 26th the start of the best time to buy Christmas decor for next year. And if you haven't had enough Christmas candy by then, this is another item to buy in late December.

With the New Year right around the corner, champagne drinkers have much to cheer about. This is the best time to stock up on cheap champagne even though December is the season of high demand. Contrary to the general rules of supply and demand, vendors are vying for all that celebratory business, which means lower than normal prices on the bubbly stuff.

One end-of-year item you don't want to buy in December is a new wall calendar. Retailers are well aware that old calendars cannot be repurposed, so discounts are few and far between. You'll get better deals on a wall calendar in January or February.

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Score a deal on your wedding dress.

Big Ticket Items. Surprisingly, some big-ticket items are good buys in December. With the wedding season at a near standstill this month, wedding dress dealers are looking to make a sale, any sale, so discounts abound. If you're in the market for a new home, plan to buy one in December. Many sellers take properties off the market for the holidays and those who don't are truly motivated, which means more negotiating leverage for buyers. Cars are also a good buy in December. With the year coming to an end car dealerships are ready to cut deals.

Purchases of jewelry and watches should be put on hold in December; ditto for a gym membership. The first two are popular holiday gifts so jewelers aren't hurting for business right now. And with many people making New Year's resolutions to lose weight, gyms have no incentive to discount memberships.

Seasonal Produce. When it comes to stocking up the refrigerator, don't be fooled by the cold temperatures. Many fruits and vegetables are in season and cheap, so buy them in December. Try adorning your holiday table with the likes of beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, onions, potatoes, radishes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash. Seasonal fruits include clementines, grapefruit, kiwi, lemons, limes, mandarins, oranges, pears, and tangerines.

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