There are some sales this month will be come and go quickly. For example, early November is a good time to look for candy discounts of 50 to 90 percent so you can stock up on goodies to share with your Thanksgiving gang. (They won't mind bonbons in the shape of pumpkin heads, right?)
On Veterans Day (November 11), look for sales on home goods like furniture and mattresses that could be 40 to 60 percent off, says Howard Schaffer, vice president of merchandising and partner management at Offers.com, a coupon, promo code, and product deal site.
Then, of course, there are Black Friday sales. We will keep track of those deep discounts until the big day and will help you save money and time throughout the holiday season.
Looking for sales that will be around all month? Our product research experts, who track prices all year long, have compiled a list of seven items that are typically discounted most deeply in November.
Another way to save more this holiday season: Do all or some of your shopping at outlet malls.
1. Super TV Deals
You'd think shopping for a TV would be simple, especially now that plasma TVs are gone and almost all new TVs are LED LCD sets. But buying a TV still involves many choices, some of which may be new to you. You'll see plenty of Ultra HD (UHD), or 4K, TVs that promise greater picture detail than HDTVs, and improved contrast and color.
Our TV buying guide will help you get the most bang for your buck, no matter how much or how little you want to spend. Some shopping tips:
Think about screen size. Televisions going into kitchens or small bedrooms might measure just 24 to 32 inches, but if you’re shopping for your primary TV, we recommend going bigger, say a set with a 50- to 60-inch screen. You could consider an even bigger set for spacious family rooms, or if you'll be sitting very far from the TV.
Shop where you'll get a price guarantee. Many retailers will match or beat a lower price from a local competitor, so go to the store with those prices in hand. Even after the sale, some stores promise a refund within a specified period of time, often 30 to 60 days, if they reduce the price of your TV within it or if you find the set selling elsewhere for less. There are usually restrictions, so check the details. Save your receipt and keep checking the ads even after you buy.
Consult our TV buying guide and Ratings before hitting the stores to make sure you get a set that performed well in our lab tests.
2. Discounts on Toys
Early holiday shoppers will find great sales on toys this month, although you may not find discounts on the hottest playthings. Our tech toy guide can help you to find age-appropriate kids tablets, game consoles, and more. Some shopping tips:
Consider the classics. Don't overlook toys such as stackable plastic "doughnuts," shape sorters, building blocks, and interlocking plastic oversized beads for very young children. There's a reason that they've been around so long. Many forgotten favorites are still around, like Lionel trains, Flexible Flyer sleds, and Mouse Trap.
Shop around. Browse stores, catalogs, and Web sites for other ideas and to spot the best deals. Also, ask for suggestions from parents who have children of similar ages.
3. Baby Product Sales
You should be able to find great prices on a variety of baby products this month, including strollers. First and foremost, you want your baby to be safe and comfortable in her stroller. But think about yourself, too, since you're the one who'll be pushing it. There's a wide price range among types and brands in our stroller Ratings. What makes one stroller worth $100 and another $1,000 or more? Several things drive up the price—such as accessories—but we've found good models in a wide range of prices. Some shopping tips:
Consider your environment. If you're a city dweller who relies on subways, buses, and cabs, you'll need a lightweight but sturdy stroller that folds quickly and is compact. If you'll be tromping through snow or on unpaved roads or grass, a model with large wheels is a great option.
Think about extras. Factor stroller accessories into the price of models you like, because you may find yourself needing (or wanting) extras such as a parasol, rain cover, netting to keep out bugs, drink holder, and more.
4. Price Cuts on Camcorders
Buying a camcorder can be complicated. Models vary not only in size and capabilities but also in price. You can spend as little as $150 or as much as $1,600, or more. Some shopping tips:
The right camcorder features are important. If you want better quality and more options, consider a full-size model. If you need a smaller, more portable model—or if you're an athlete or adventurer who loves to capture action footage—then consider an action cam.
Chances are you won't always be shooting in bright light. In our tests using the default mode, we found models varied in quality when shooting in dim light. Most full-sized HD camcorders captured at least good quality video in low light, but some had excellent quality.
Give some a try. In the store, try different camcorders to make sure they fit your hand and are comfortable to use. Most camcorders are designed so that the most frequently used controls—the switch to zoom in and out, the record button, and the button for still photos—are readily at hand.
Check our camcorder buying guide and Ratings to find out which features are most important to you.
5. Gas Grills Markdowns
It's the end of the season for grilling (even though some of us have been known to clear a path through the snow to do some wintertime grilling), so you'll find some deep discounts on the stock still in stores. Some shopping tips:
Think about size. Match the grill's cooking area to the number of people you typically feed. Remember, manufacturers might include racks and searing burners when tallying cooking area. Our measurements are based on the main cooking area and how much food it will hold.
Think about space. Next factor in how much area the grill will take up on your patio or deck. Some of the grills we tested are a whopping six feet wide.
You'll find more details tips in our grills buying guide and Ratings.
6. Bike Bargains
You'll find great deals on these wheels in October, because we're approaching the end of the riding season in many places in the country. Some shopping tips:
Decide what kind of riding you'll do. That will narrow your choice to one of the four basic types. If you're an avid cyclist, you may prefer a conventional road bike. Looking for a leisurely ride on flat, paved roads? A comfort bike may be more your speed. If rugged trails are in your sights, than a mountain bike might be best.
Find a good bike shop. You'll pay more, but we think you're more likely to be satisfied. Bikes from big-box stores might not be properly assembled or well matched to your body. If you don't like the pedals or seat on a particular model, some bike shops will swap components at little or no cost.
For more shopping tips and information about different brands, see our bike buying guide. And check our bike helmet buying guide to make sure you get the best fit.
As the weather gets colder, you might want to consider an exercise bike for indoor use. If you decide to buy indoor exercise equipment, including a treadmill or elliptical machine, try to wait until January, when we've found they'll be on deep discount.
7. GPS Devices for Less
In today's competitive market, GPS prices have come down to the point where even budget units include features previously available only on more expensive models (and not available on some apps), such as the ability to speak street names, issue speed warnings, and provide reality view, graphically representing major intersections. Shoppers looking for navigational aid can choose from many types of GPS devices, including aftermarket portable or in-dash units, cell phones, factory-installed in-dash units, telematics systems, and even laptop computers.
All GPS types advantages and disadvantages, as our GPS buying guide points out, and choosing the right one for you depends on your needs and budget. Some shopping tips:
Do some research. Before you buy a GPS navigator, think about your typical driving conditions, how often you're in unfamiliar areas, and figure out which features are most important to you. For example, if you often encounter traffic congestion on your commute, choosing a nav system with real-time traffic information can help you avoid traffic congestion, accidents, or road construction, and plot a route around it before you even get to the trouble area.
Think about where you'll use it. If you're buying a new car, check to see if a built-in system is available and how much it costs. These are nicely integrated into the car, but they are typically far more expensive than portable systems, initially and for subsequent map updates. Still, if most of your driving is done in one car, you might be happier with a built-in system. If you often fly to new places and rent vehicles, or if you own more than one car, a portable system might be the way to go, especially with prices for entry-level systems starting at less than $100.
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