The Best Things to Buy in February


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When considering what to buy in February, remember that winter is halfway over and retailers want to clear out seasonal merchandise. Also, stores usually have a lot of electronics left over from the holidays and must make room for new gadgets. Finally, Presidents' Day falls in February, giving many people a three-day weekend and extra time to shop. Taken all together, these trends promise deals galore.


With Black Friday and Christmas long past, retailers advertise cheap TVs and home theaters. Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7 this year) and January's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) spur February deals on HDTVs, speakers, surround-sound systems, and other components. If the budget allows, GPS systems, digital cameras, and audio equipment also are good to buy in February.


New video games are usually released in early winter, just in time for holiday gift giving. Wait until February, though, when even the newest and hottest video game titles are usually discounted. (For savings year-round, check eBay or Craigslist.)


The three-day weekend over Presidents' Day means big department-store sales. Couple that with winter coming to an end and next winter's clothing can be snapped up for a song. Shoppers will find loads of February deals on coats, outerwear, gloves, scarves, hats, and sweaters. Cold-weather accessories are an especially good buy, because styles don't change much from year to year. Bedding and towels, too, sell at reduced prices.


Yearning for a yacht? The winter off-season and midwinter boat shows make February the right month to snatch up a boat. Dealers may offer discounts and deals to entice buyers, so be ready to bargain, whether at a boat show or on the showroom floor.


Valentine's Day means jewelry, perfume, and flowers are in high demand, so don't expect any deals before Feb. 14. For shoppers who hold out, sales likely will pop up once Valentine's Day has passed and demand plummets.


Chocoholics can satisfy their cravings on the cheap after Valentine's Day. Look for discounts on high-end chocolates that don't go on sale often. Shoppers can also raid the candy aisle to find enticing deals on mid-range Valentine's Day packages as retailers try to sell off the holiday stash. And don't be afraid to stock up -- chocolate lasts for several months when stored in a cool, dry spot.


With Tax Day drawing near, look for falling prices on tax-filing software. Sales on the software start in January but get much better in February and March, the closer it gets to April 15. Just don't wait too long -- filing early means no rushing to meet the deadline.


Eat seasonally, the food gurus proclaim. Even in February, consumers can find plentiful fresh and reasonably priced foods, including beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, clementines, cauliflower, grapefruit, kale, lemons, onions, oranges, pears, sweet potatoes, and tangerines. Check Epicurious' seasonal ingredient map to see what's freshest in your area and try out new recipes.