With the new year fast approaching, many people find they've pushed the limits of their monthly budgets during the holidays, paying for gifts, travel and nights out on the town. It's not uncommon to spend the first few months of the year dealing with that holiday debt hangover.
However, the first few months of the year can also be a great time to get stellar deals on items such as electronics, gym memberships and golf clubs. Click through to see the 20 best deals to watch for in early 2016.
1. Christmas Decorations
The best time to buy Christmas decorations is after Christmas, when prices plummet on remaining inventory. Wait until January and you can get some really good bargains on Christmas tree ornaments, decorations and more.
“Greeting cards, wrapping paper, bows and other decorations can be purchased for 50 percent to 80 percent off the original price during the month of January,” said financial expert Harrine Freeman.
2. Winter Clothes
You can find discounts on winter clothes throughout the month of January. Many stores begin marking down their winter clothing and accessories then to make way for spring clothing, which typically starts hitting stores in February, according to Elle.com. Clothing that's left from the fall and winter sales often get marked down by 70 percent, however the selection might be lacking for mid-range sizes.
3. Gym Memberships
Interest in gyms spike in the new year, when many people tend to make a resolution to lose weight and get fit. Even though it might seem counterintuitive for a gym to offer discounts on memberships when gyms are packed, January can be the best month to snag a deal. Gyms might offer breaks on initiation fees and monthly dues, which could save new members up to $300 upfront. Smaller studios might even offer deals on class packages.
January is the month to find great deals on linens. The tradition of “white sales” started in 1878, according to About.com. At that time, all linens were white, so when merchant John Wanamaker discounted linens in his department store, he called them “white sales” — a term still used today, even though color and print were introduced to linen in the late 1950s. Discounts on linens are usually 30 to 60 percent off, with some stores offering even better deals, according to CreditDonkey.com, a credit card comparison and financial education website.
Bike lanes tend to be pretty empty in the winter, especially in colder climates. If you're looking for a deal, January is a good time to go shopping for a new bike. Typically, the best deals appear off-season, when retailers are looking to clear inventory. Shoppers can find markdowns of 30 to 50 percent in January and February for models from the previous year, according to Kiplinger.
6. Tax Software
If you're not preparing for tax season yet, here's a good reason to start: Tax services and filing software tend to be discounted in January, according to DealNews. With up to 50 percent off, that could mean savings of $10 to $20 on H&R Block and TurboTax software. Deals tend to get better as tax time approaches, however, so watch for bigger discounts as the big day approaches.
7. Indoor Furniture
February is a good month for furniture sales, as stores slash prices to clear inventory and make room for springtime product line arrivals, according to Consumer Reports. It's also possible to find discounts up to 70 percent on select items during Presidents Day sales, from furniture retailers such as IKEA and Overstock.com, according to Kiplinger.
8. Flowers and Plants
A good time to buy flowers is after the Valentine's Day rush, as shops clear out inventory to make room for summer plants and flowers, said Freeman. February is also a good month to find bargains on plants — specifically on preorders for spring plants, which you can get for 10 to 20 percent off, Charlie Nardozz, a senior horticulturist with the National Gardening Association told Real Simple. He said that you will typically find a better selection and bigger discounts at independent nurseries than you would at big-box stores.
9. Air Conditioning Units
February is a good month to buy air conditioning units because “demand is low, since most people are still using heat,” said Freeman. The Better Business Bureau noted that "rock-bottom" deals can indeed be had if you can find units in stock.
10. Broadway Tickets
If you want to take in a Broadway show in New York City, consider going in February, during the Big Apple's off-season. Although there are many ways to get discounted Broadway show tickets throughout the year, there are some particularly good deals in February. For example, nycgo.com advertised two-for-one deals on certain Broadway and off-Broadway shows until Feb. 14.
11. Seasonal Produce
One way to save on grocery costs is to shop for produce that is in season at your local farmers market or grocery store. Produce like broccoli and cauliflower, which are cool-season crops, are in season in February. They will be readily available and less expensive at this time of the year, according to FreeShipping.org's Best Time to Buy Guide.
12. Prom Dresses
Shop for your prom dress early to snag a bargain. With competition likely to be fierce among retailers, February is the time to start shopping for that special dress.
If you're looking to buy luggage, March can be a good time to find the best luggage deal. “Most people travel during the winter holidays or summer, so demand is low for luggage during the month of March,” said Freeman. Shops like Macy's, Sears and Walmart will likely be marking down luggage during March, according to Kiplinger.
14. Televisions and Home Theaters
March can be a good month to start shopping for that HDTV you’ve been wanting. “New models are introduced each January and shipped in March, [and] retailers clear out old inventory to make way for new models,” said Freeman. Also, there could be a glut of returned TV sets after the Super Bowl that stores mark down to ease shelf space, according to TechnologyGuide.com.
15. Frozen Foods
The National Frozen Food Association has designated March National Frozen Food Month. This means that participating retailers offer more than 100,000 coupons to customers — online and through the mail. This can be a good time to stock your freezer at a discount.
16. Digital Cameras
With the cost of digital cameras ranging in price from under $100 to a few thousand dollars, buying a good quality digital camera can be expensive. If you're in the market for a digital camera, March is the month to go shopping for deals, according to Consumer Reports.
17. Gardening Tools
As the days get longer and spring approaches, you might be thinking about getting your garden ready for summer barbecues. March can be the best month to go shopping for gardening tools, when retailers like Home Depot will likely be offering discounts of up to 50 percent off, according to Freeshipping.org.
The weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest sales periods for perfume, according to the Chicago Tribune. But after Valentine's Day, sales decline and retailers start marking down prices. So if you can wait until after Valentine’s Day, you can get a bargain on perfume.
Chocolate sales see a huge surge in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. However, if you don't mind off-season packaging, and can wait until after the Valentine’s Day rush, you can buy chocolate for discounts of up to 75 to 90 percent off, according to About.com.
20. Golf Clubs
March is a good time to grab a set of last season's golf clubs at a discount. As spring approaches, many golfers start to think about upgrading their clubs as they get ready for the new season. At the same time, manufacturers are looking to get rid of last season's inventory and introduce new models, according to Lifehacker. Therefore, the old season's inventory will be marked down significantly.