SHOPPING GUIDE: Separate December’s Deals from the Duds

During the month of December, it’s hard not to be inundated with massive sales happening almost daily. You don’t even realize there are things you want, (or would like to get for someone else!) until an email pings across your screen.

But, what are really deals you shouldn’t be passing up, and which offers only pretend to be good deals? Lindsay Sakraida, features editor for, clarifies the deals and duds.

DEAL: Gift Card Freebies
Store gift cards are a popular promotion for customers that spend big bucks during the holiday months. Both L.L. Bean and Target are currently offering $10 gift cards on purchases of $50 or more. Some restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen also offer incentives for purchasing gift cards outright. How does a $40 gift card for a $100 worth of gift cards purchased sound?

DUD: Jewelry
Men often flock to jewelry stores this time of the month to get something special for their lady (engagement ring, perhaps?) but unfortunately, holidays are a time when jewelers raise prices because they know there will be a greater demand. Take advantage of department store sales like Macy’s where coupons can be used on big-ticket items, or wait until a month where inventory outweighs demand.

DEAL: Tools and Hardware
It’s the perfect time to buy the man in your life that snow blower. Screwdriver sets, lawnmowers, drills, and more are all at record low prices this month. Don’t know what he likes? Let him make a list while you hunt down the best prices. Many stores including Walmart price match so be sure to ask the store’s policy. Don’t forget to keep the gift receipts!

DUD: Christmas Decorations and Calendars
The perfect time to buy holiday decorations and 2013 calendars is—you guessed it—after the holidays. Christmas ornaments are often marked down 60-80 percent the first week after Christmas, and the longer you can wait to buy your 2013 calendar (like the second or third week of January) the better deal you’ll receive. Make January the month you stock up on these items annually.

For more deals and steals, and to find out how you can get free email alerts to stay ahead of the best sales, click here.