Well dealnews readers, we finally made it to November, one of the happiest months for budget-conscious shopping. Many categories hit their lowest points during this month, usually around Black Friday (not surprisingly). But let's not forget that the month is made up of 30 full days, not to mention the fact that daylight savings ends. (That gives us one more hour to shop!) That means there are deals to be had all month long, not just around the major shopping event.
Contrary to popular belief, however, November isn't the best time to buy everything. That said, many product categories will see great deals — there are just a few caveats.
Home Furniture Surprises with Strong Deals:
Many other media outlets will tell you that January is the best time to buy furniture, since manufacturers begin introducing new styles in February. Our archives reflect that January is indeed a good month for bargains on home furniture, but November may be even stronger. Two years of data show that November featured the greatest volume of Editors' Choice offerings, as well as the most furniture deals in general. In fact, last year, we saw 39% more home furniture deals in November than we did in January 2011. Expect to see discounted pieces from Walmart, Target, Kohl's, JCPenney, Sears, Amazon, Overstock, and more. One caveat: January did offer a few more general furniture sales of note (like from Pier 1 Imports) than November.
Current Season Apparel, the Good and the Bad:
Last month we noted that winter season apparel items will likely see their greatest sales beginning in January. However, last year, a number of apparel stores offered their best online coupons of the year in the weeks leading up to (and around) Black Friday, and most stacked with existing sales and markdowns. Expect to see an abundance of "best of the year" coupons that take 20% to 40% off, with some reaching even higher discounts. (In fact, 57% of last year's Editors' Choice apparel coupons available during the week of Black Friday took a full 30% off or more.)
Tis Not Yet the Season for Toys:
With all the holiday shopping you'll likely be doing at the end of this month, you may start to get overly confident and think, "I can save on toys for the kids too!" As we reported a few weeks ago, however, the best time to get the greatest discounts on toys for the holidays is during the 14 days leading up to Christmas. Moreover, if you're considering buying a new game console for your kid, keep in mind that there are rumored new releases — finally! — from both Wii and Xbox next year, which should push down the retail prices of today's "current" systems (which are actually several years old).
Candy that's Guilt-Free (Pricewise):
Candy helps to keep your blood sugar up during the coming weeks of intense shopping, and luckily the best time buy Halloween items, including candy, starts November 1. While it may be hard to get excited about a discounted costume you can't (acceptably) wear again until next year, you can easily stock up on Halloween candy for immediate consumption. Is a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the shape of a pumpkin any less delicious? We think not!
Cookware Items See Strong Deals:
Rarely do "need" and "best time to buy" so perfectly coalesce. As you prepare to knock the socks off the in-laws this Thanksgiving with an impressive feast, you may discover that there are some holes in your arsenal of cookware. Luckily we saw a sizeable increase in overall kitchen deals last November (about 25% more than the average), which continued into December, albeit with a slight drop off. Moreover, roughly a quarter of November's cookware deals were of Editors' Choice caliber. In years past, you could get your mitts on cookware and cutlery sets, bakeware, turkey fryers — a favorite amongst the dealnews staff — and a "best of the year" sale from Oneida.
Pad Your Stash of Holiday Gifts with Cheap Blu-ray Movies:
Even though we see select Blu-ray disc deals throughout the year, the titles you want can still cost you a pretty penny. But around Black Friday, the amount of discounts you'll see on Blu-ray movies will make them easy gift additions and relegate them to stocking stuffer status for some. Last year, we saw a plethora of popular titles for as little as $5 shipped, and we expect to see these sales again this year.
It's Finally the Best Time to Buy HDTVs:
At last, we can deliver positive buying advice with regard to TVs! As we noted in our Black Friday predictions, you'll see many TV sizes hit their lowest price point of the year later this month. On average, HDTV prices fall 15% to 20% below the previous lowest price we had seen. Also, in nearly every size category, prices dropped in the weeks leading up to Black Friday, so we should see HDTV deals notable deals before the holiday itself.
When it comes to TVs around Black Friday, however, keep in mind that best-priced sets at rock-bottom prices are likely going to be off-brand models. But where off-brand goes, so too do the major manufacturers — eventually. We'll start seeing major discounts on top brand TVs in December. If your biggest concern is getting an all-time low for certain specifications, and you're not necessarily looking for a TV with all the bells and whistles, definitely keep your eyes peeled around Black Friday.
Several Buying Options for Laptops:
If you're itching to replace a sluggish laptop, November is your month. Mainstream systems — or ones that contain the minimum specifications that an average consumer would need — will be available at startlingly low prices during the week of Black Friday. In our Black Friday predictions, we noted that 15" to 16" laptops with an Intel Core i5 processor and 4GB of RAM will start at $325, the lowest price of the year. Moreover, basic configurations could dip as low as $189 while desktop replacements — with top-of-the-line processors, lots of RAM, and a sizeable hard drive — could cost as little as $720.
Android Tablets Offer an Opportunity for Bargains:
We were surprised last year to see that Apple offered a discount on the iPad during Black Friday, though the savings were relatively slight. If a tablet is on your wishlist this year, consider opting for Android instead, where there will be greater potential to save. With a wealth of manufacturers to compete against, tablets with the Android OS are far more likely to see discounts throughout the year, and several top WiFi models, like the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Motorola XOOM, could hit all-time low prices later this month. Additionally, we're predicting that generic Android tablets will start at just $75, making it a cheap novelty gift for the techie in your life.