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Best Bargains in December

Toys, gadgets and tools are traditional gift buys — and even cheaper after the holidays

What to Buy in December
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Black Friday may be over, but there’s still plenty of time to shop for the holidays, and plenty of deals available for savvy shoppers.

One important retail date to keep in mind when shopping this month: Green Monday. The second Monday in December (Dec. 12 this year) is one of the busiest online shopping days of the year, and some retailers run one-day sales to take advantage of the increased traffic.

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“There’s a decent chance for people to shop on Green Monday for things like electronics, clothing items and other gift-worthy products,” says Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews, a comparison-shopping website. “Even if retailers don’t go as low as Black Friday, they might get close. So if you missed out on something on Black Friday, this might be your chance.”

Green Monday is also often the last day that you can get free shipping with guaranteed delivery by Christmas for many retailers, so after that be sure to check the shipping terms or opt for curbside pickup on online orders.

In general, you’ll see lower prices on most products as Christmas approaches and even better prices after the holiday has passed. That especially applies to holiday-themed items like stocking stuffers or holiday beauty sets.

“The challenge with shopping in December is balancing the potential that an item is guaranteed to be in stock with the potential for bigger savings,” says Brad Godwin, senior vice president and head of retail partnerships at Shopkick.

Still, certain items tend to be better buys than others in December. Here’s a look at some categories where you’ll find sales this time of year, according to shopping experts, including where to shop and how much you could possibly save:

Gift cards

Retailers eager to increase their sales often offer discounts on these perennially popular holiday gifts (more than half of people prefer them to physical gifts). That’s because gift recipients are likely to either forget to redeem the card or to spend more than its value when they do redeem it. Discounted gift cards are also a great way to stretch your holiday budget, since your present will be immediately worth more than you spent on it.

Where to find deals: Wholesale clubs, restaurants (both local and chains), day spas and nail salons

Potential savings: 10 to 20 percent off, or free $10 or $20 gift cards with purchase of a larger card

Toys

While you may not have access to the same wide selection as was available in the beginning of the holiday season, you’ll find the best prices on toys as the holidays get closer. Retailers that want to move as much inventory as possible tend to continue dropping prices throughout December, so the longer you can wait, the better prices you’ll see, with the very best deals coming after Christmas.

Where to find deals: Target, Walmart, Amazon

Potential savings: 30 to 50 percent off

Kitchen gadgets and small appliances

Demand from holiday hosts for tools like mixing spoons, serving utensils, pots and pans, and small appliances like air fryers push prices down for these items throughout the month of December. Such items are also popular gifts, so you might see even better prices during the last week of the month or on special, pop-up one-day sales.

Where to find deals: Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Bed Bath & Beyond

Potential savings: 20 to 40 percent off

Tools

If you’ve got a DIY-er on your gift list — or your own tool collection needs a refresh — December is an opportunity to nab deals on hand tools, power tools and sets. The number of retailers offering discounts on tools increased 10 percent from November to December last year, according to data from DealNews.

Where to find deals: Amazon, Home Depot, Ace Hardware

Potential savings: Up to 50 percent off

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Clothing

You’ll find the best deals on fall clothing, but retailers may also slash prices on winter clothing and accessories.

“Retailers are offering huge savings on anything that didn’t move for the holidays,” says Andrea Woroch, a consumer money-saving expert. “Think sweaters, pajama sets, coats, hats and mittens. Anything they put out for the holidays.”

Where to find deals: Kohl’s, Gap, JCPenney

Potential savings: Up to 60 percent off

Seasonal decorations

Early December is your chance to stock up on things fall, including Thanksgiving decor, and anything harvest- or pumpkin-related.  Starting a few days before Christmas, you’ll also see deals on Christmas-related items such as lights, tableware and ornaments. Again, once the holiday has passed, prices will fall even further.

Where to find deals: Amazon, Lowe’s, Macy’s

Potential savings: 50 to 80 percent off

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