Top 7 Things to Buy in January for Maximum Savings

by Jessica Sommerfield · 12 comments

January is well known as the month consumers tighten their proverbial belts and go on spending freezes. But let’s face it: we still spend money. After all, who can resist 75% off Christmas decorations and wrapping paper for next year? Our family, for example, is planning to get a bigger Christmas tree when the holidays are over to use for the following year. And plus, this year is slightly different with Congress passing the stimulus bill and many people getting a few hundred or more sent their way. Even if you’re not quitting your shopping habit cold-turkey this month, there’s still reason to be careful about what you buy to get the most out of your money. Here are a few things that are typically best to purchase in January.

#1: Linens

“White sales” is a tradition that started in 1878, when a salesman by the name of Wanamaker decided to do something about the slump in his household good sales every January. At the time, all linen came in one color (it may have also had something to do with the fluffy white stuff on the ground), hence the name. Modern retailers sell bedding in many different colors these days, but you’ll still find “white sales” that offer all types of household linen at 30-60% off.

#2: Gym Memberships

Fitness-related New Years’ resolutions make January a heavy sign-up month for health clubs. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t even allowed to open so this year may be a little different. Normally, the wealth of competition among gym chains creates some of the best deals you’ll find all year. Many gyms will wave the sign-up fee, offer 1-2 months ‘on the house,’ or include free personal training. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with this time around, but I wouldn’t bet on them just skipping the chance to make more sales this year just because they can’t open just yet. As always, be sure to read your contract thoroughly if you do decide to commit. Some gyms have picky cancellation policies and hefty termination fees and I wouldn’t be surprised if they added additional language to further protect themselves from a wave of cancellations because of government-ordered shutdowns.

#3: Fitness Equipment

This is also an effect of anticipated New Years’ resolutions, plus retail overstocks on treadmills and other equipment carrying over from the holidays. I imagine this year will have one of the best sales you will ever see because so many people are looking to buy equipment without a gym to go to. You’ll usually find the best deals on fitness gear closer to the end of the month as businesses rush to eliminate their surplus for the next season. Just make sure you don’t go crazy because while January is always when people buy equipment, February is also when most people regret their decision!

#4: Winter Apparel

Retailers are always one step ahead, so they’ll be scrambling to rearrange their sales floors with spring fashions by the end of January. If you live in a colder climate, January is only the middle of the dreary winter months, so you’ll still get plenty of wear out of the coats, sweaters, and boots you snag at rock-bottom prices the last few weeks of the month. And remember – you will get to wear whatever you buy the following winter and every winter after that too.

#5: Furniture

January is your month if you’re in the market for a new couch – yet another example of retailer strategies to increase sales on high-ticket items during the winter slump. Big-box stores are where you’ll find the greatest savings, often 40-75% off base price. Many furniture stores are closing due to the pandemic, so do check out those closeout sales because I have seen couches marked down as low as 90 or even 95% off original prices.

#6: T.V.s

T.V.s aren’t something you typically shop for after the holidays, but you might want to think again. Even though the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is going completely online this year, major retailers will lower retail prices on the soon-to-be-second-best and mid-range models to clear space for new products in anticipation of the big reveal at the trade show. Market watchers predict discounts of up to 35%, so it could make a pretty big difference.

#7: Credit Cards

Although I don’t recommend purchasing any of the above items on a credit card, January is a good month to knock out some old debt by taking advantage of the credit card offers that often show up in the mail after the holidays. Transferring balances to a credit card with a lower interest rate – and a few months of free financing, to boot – might actually help you get out of debt sooner. Credit companies offer some of their best deals (say, 0% for 6-12 months) on balance transfers this time of year, in addition to cashback and other rewards.

You shouldn’t see these deals as an excuse to spend money you don’t have, but there’s no harm in making your money stretch a little bit farther.

Any guesses on what other deals you think will show up soon for the new year?

Money Saving Tip: An incredibly effective way to save more is to reduce your monthly Internet and TV costs. Click here for the current Verizon FiOS promotion codes and promos to see if you can save more money every month from now on.

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  • Beau W. says:

    I’m sure going to be looking for a new mattress in January. If im correct that’s a great time for a good deal too grab. You definitely can’t beat new linens either.

    • David @ says:

      You definitely can’t beat a new mattress too! I think we are due for a new one soon too. Maybe we will join you in getting a new one next month!

  • Randy says:

    Seems like Craig’s List in March is the best time to buy fitness equipment, lightly used 🙂

  • Jonny Pean says:

    Yes.. I got myself into a gym in January even before reading this …:) Seriously, I’m yet to acquaint myself with the prominent sales cycles though.. am working on it ..

    • David @ says:

      Good for you! Honestly a gym membership is worth it even without any discounts as long as you’ll use it since a healthy body is priceless!

  • Ramona says:

    I don’t purchase stuff because it’s on sale, only when I need it. Sure, strategic shopping, when something will be needed is always a great thing, since you spend less for something you will clearly need. Great list of items 🙂

    • David @ says:

      You are very disciplined Ramona. Keep it up and financial independence is just right around the corner!

  • Michael says:

    When I read articles like this I tend to cringe for the simple fact that some may see this as a reason to go out and spend. Other than that if you need any of the items listed above and you have the cash on hand to pay for them go out and buy. Overall good article and yeas I did see your warning at the end, lol

    • vicki says:

      Yes, and that is still one of my problems. If there is a really great sale on something nice like good linens such as sheets and bedding I find it so hard to resist because I love this sort of stuff! I love fluffy towels too. Is there hope for me?
      I won’t buy something just because it is on sale but if it is really nice and a great price in one of my “categories” I sometimes cannot resist.

      • David @ says:

        Sales can definitely be tempting. One way I limit my spending is to not let myself be exposed to all the marketing that’s out in the world. This means less commercials, less browsing in stores and less Internet surfing. I find that this really does help quite a bit!

    • Jessica says:

      Me, too! That’s exactly what the disclaimers were for. Just because it’s on sale doesn’t justify going into debt, but strategic shopping can save you money when it’s there to spend.

      Thanks for the comment!

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