What to Buy in Winter to Score the Biggest Deals

Save with winter salesSave with winter salesWhen it comes to scoring tools and home goods on the cheap, half the battle is knowing when the serious sales take place. We tapped Daniel Butler of the National Retail Federation for tips on what items you should spend on now to save in the long run.

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FURNITURE. New styles of sofas, dining sets, and more debut in February, often at promotional prices. The real deals, though, are the "as is" floor samples that retailers mark down beforehand to make room for fresh stock.

ELECTRONICS. Stores routinely run Super Bowl TV specials a week or so before the game. Make sure you're buying-not trying-that big screen, because most sets are subject to restocking fees if returned.

BIG APPLIANCES. During cold-weather months, demand for summer essentials plummets, so look for slashed prices on last season's air conditioners, fans, and outdoor gas grills.

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LINENS. Expect savings of 20 to 50 percent on new linens and draperies during department stores' January "white sales."

TOOLS. Once the holidays end, contractors line up new work, so big-box retailers begin discounting power tools in February to lure them in. People also start thinking about spring planting, prompting stores to temporarily drop prices on gardening gear with the hope that you'll start projects now and keep coming back through spring.

CARPETING. Sales typically slow down around the end of the year, which leads to price cuts, but expect some discounts to last through mid-March. -Danielle Blundell, thisoldhouse.com

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