Whether or not your holidays were everything you wished for, January kicks off a new year, a new month and a new host of smart seasonal buys.
To help anyone whose New Year’s resolutions include saving money, we used our internal discount data to calculate average discounts January shoppers can expect in popular categories – and zero in on the best five categories to shop this month.
The 5 Smartest Things to Buy in January
Whatever you need to (or want to) buy in January, there are sales to shop and smart buys to make.
1. Health/Fitness — Average Discount: 52%
When it comes to health and fitness products, January is one of the best times of the year to shop. Retailers know that shoppers are kicking off a new year of fitness goals and are competing for your business. So check out sales from Fitbit as well as any retailer (hint hint: Amazon) that carries smartwatches and fitness trackers. You’ll also find plenty of deals on at-home gym essentials (including dumbbells, mats and resistance bands) from sporting goods stores like Academy Sports + Outdoors and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
2. Handbags/Hats/Accessories — Average Discount: 43%
The first week of January will be full of fashion deals, as that’s when retailers kick off their New Year sales. Knowing that shoppers will be out in droves returning gifts they don’t want, retailers are ready with deals on purses and accessories that scream, “You deserve this, after the holidays!” The Dillard’s New Year sale is particularly famous when it comes to handbags (expect an almost Black Friday-like rush).
Seasonal clearance sales will soon follow, as January is when retailers already start thinking about making room for spring fashions. That means hats and colder-weather wear will start to make their way to the discount racks. And, best of all, selection will still be high.
3. Personal Finance (Tax) — Average Discount: 38% Off
It might be hard to believe that tax season is once again upon us. But employers are required to send W-2s by Jan. 31. And, as soon as yours arrives, that’s your signal to file.
However, you can start your e-file process with your online tax software of choice early, and your return will be transferred to the IRS whenever it’s ready for it.
Filing as early as you can is a smart move from a budget standpoint. Online tax software companies often offer early-bird discounts in January, in hopes of attracting filers and wooing them away from their competitors. In fact, many online tax services allow you to import a previous year’s return from a competitor to make switching over extra easy.
- TurboTax: Be sure to take advantage of the TurboTax free version, if you qualify.
- H&R Block: Get up to 20% off H&R Block’s services.
- TaxAct: Get up to 40% off with these early bird specials.
4. Hotels & Resorts — Average Discount: 30% Off
The time between the holidays and spring break is a bit of a dead zone for travel companies. So, to tempt everyone to splurge to get somewhere warm, travel providers will be offering discounts on hotel rooms, resort bookings, cruises, tours and vacation packages.
Note that many of these deals will be location specific, depending on where booking sites happen to have empty rooms. So rather than insisting on a specific destination, follow the deals and let them lead you to somewhere unexpected.
5. Outdoor Equipment — Average Discount: 27%
Outdoor gear is very much a seasonal category. And, while it’s still cold outside in many places, retailers are already thinking ahead about getting what’s not selling off shelves.
So January is a smart time to shop for ski gear, insulated boots, beanies, flannels, thermals and more. Winter always lasts longer than you want it too, so there’s time to use that stuff yet this year. Plus, you can save it for next year and have it ready at the beginning of the season, when prices on outdoor winter gear will be at their highest.