Why It Pays to Shop Right After the Holidays

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It’s a tactic that could really pay off.

Key points

  • Many people do a lot of shopping in December and cut back in January.
  • Loading up on items this month could work to your benefit, though.
  • Some retailers run sales in January to unload excess inventory left from the holidays.

If you spent much of December running to stores and searching Amazon for hours to check gift items off your list, then the last thing you may want to do in January is shop online or set foot in a mall. And also, if you racked up a giant credit card loss last month, then you may want to go easy on the purchasing front this month.

But if you have some financial wiggle room and you’re not totally suffering from retail fatigue, then it could pay to do some shopping in January. Here’s why.

It’s all about snagging deals

You’ll often hear that the best deals to be found tend to drop during the holidays — especially during major shopping events like Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday. But that’s not always the case.

You’ll commonly find that retailers will offer the deepest discounts on products right after the holidays. The reason? They have excess inventory they’re looking to unload.

When you think about it, snagging great deals on products really boils down to supply and demand. During the holiday season, demand tends to be strong because consumers have gifts they need to buy. And also, many people end up with year-end bonuses they’re eager to spend rather than save. That, too, can lead to strong demand.

Meanwhile, come January, the demand for goods tends to wane. The holidays are over and many people, unfortunately, end up starting off the year with leftover holiday debt. And that makes it a great time to hit the stores and load up on items you need or even want (assuming money isn’t an issue).

What items should you shop for in January?

Money may be tighter than you’d like it to be these days due to factors like inflation and recent holiday expenses. If that’s the case, any shopping you do in January should be limited to needs only.

Did your toaster oven die on you recently? That’s a good item to replace this month, especially if you can find one at a discount. Has your go-to pair of sneakers started to show major signs of wear? You need good shoes to avoid injury if you do a lot of walking and exercising, so now could be a great time to replace them. But if you’re short on funds, stick to items that fall into the needs category, and save your wants for another time — even if it means forgoing some bargains.

On the other hand, if money isn’t an issue, then now’s a good time to scoop up some wishlist items you may not have purchased earlier. It could be that you got a giant raise to kick off 2023, which gives you more options for spending money. Or maybe you got a year-end bonus last month that you didn’t dip into yet. In that case, you can have a little more fun with your January shopping. Just do your best to stay out of debt.

All told, January can be a good time to buy things at a discount. And as long as you shop judiciously, you could land in a great position to enjoy some serious bargains.

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