What to Buy and What Not to Buy in November
To buy or not to buy in November? That's the big question as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks off. Between Black Friday and other holiday promotions, seemingly everything is on sale this month, as retailers advertise "the biggest discounts of the year." Here's a look at what's really worth buying in November -- and what will be discounted further in the weeks following.
Related: 16 Ways to Make Holiday Shopping More Affordable -- Starting Now
When Halloween is over and done, retailers waste no time clearing the shelves. Now is the time to find next year's costume, often at half off. Halloween decorations and candy are also deeply discounted in November. Load up for holiday baking, stocking stuffers, and school snacks.
With home chefs getting a head start on holiday cooking this month, cookware deals also heat up. Be on the lookout for discounted cookware to equip your own kitchen, give as a gift, or store away in anticipation of a wedding invitation.
Related: 24 Last-Minute Gifts to Keep on Hand All Year Long
Spending money on holiday shopping leaves little room in the budget for home improvement services such as carpet installation or small remodeling projects. But if there's room in the budget, November (or December) is a good time to give the green light. With demand down, home improvement contractors are looking for business and may be willing to negotiate.
If you're cleaning the house for holiday gatherings and discover your upright vacuum is on its last wheel, this is a good time to save on a new one. The same goes for large and small appliances and furniture all through the house, especially around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Know someone who just bought a new house, or have a handyman on your shopping list this holiday season? Tool kits are often included in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales alongside flashier gifts.
If you've recently gotten engaged, sew up that wedding dress now. November is a slow month for bridal retailers, who typically respond with lower-than-average prices. Getting a jump on the planning maelstrom leaves plenty of time to complete the critical alterations.
Blu-rays and DVDs make excellent stocking stuffers. With prices as low as $2 or $3 in Black Friday sales, shoppers can pick up a few and put the savings toward other items on their lists.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals sometimes come in the form of a free gift. Or, perhaps a department store cosmetics counter offers a free fragrance with a minimum purchase. Even if it doesn't appeal to you personally, that small freebie could make a nice stocking stuffer.
November is a big month for food. Thanksgiving tables groan under the weight of hearty repasts that incorporate seasonal produce. Apples, pears, cranberries, plums, clementines, and pumpkins round out the fall assortment of fruit (yes, pumpkins are a fruit) while broccoli, leeks, cabbage, squash, cauliflower, parsnips, celery, chestnuts, potatoes, shallots, turnips, and yams make companionable in-season vegetables to buy in November.
Turkey and other game, such as goose and pheasant, typically form the core of winter holiday meals. Despite high demand, these meats often sell for discounted prices leading up to the feast days. Buy one variety for Thanksgiving dinner and freeze a second for a December holiday spread.
Brands such as Rubbermaid and Pyrex compete to store all the leftovers that come along with Thanksgiving and other holiday gatherings. Look for manufacturer coupons and store sales on food storage containers, foil, zip-close bags, and the like during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.
Clothes may be on a lot of wish lists, but unless they're a must-have for someone special, wait until January for the biggest markdowns on winter clothing and shoes.
Are you angling for a "baby's first Christmas" ornament with the year prominently displayed? If so, wait until December to fork over the cash. Although dated collectibles go on sale in November, better deals pop up in December. And if you can hold out until January, the price declines will be steeper yet -- on a very limited selection, however.