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After-Christmas Sales 2013: Yes, Virginia, there are deep discounts after Santa

Dec. 19, 2013
Holiday Tips & News
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Most American shoppers don’t buy Christmas sales. Oh, to be sure, they purchase things in the galloping shopping season before the holiday. But a new online survey of 1,500 Americans showed that 70% don’t believe the pre-Christmas discounts advertised are real.

We get the cynicism. In our study of Black Friday sales this year, we found that 92% of 2013 Black Friday ads contain the same items at the same prices advertised for Black Friday 2012.

So should we believe the promise of deeper discounts after Dec. 25? In a word, yes. After Christmas, retailers view unsold stock like nervous landlords see their deadbeat tenants: They need to make way for more lucrative occupants.

Here is NerdWallet’s guide to the best after-Christmas sales of 2013 and the items best bought after the presents are opened Christmas Day:

Ornaments, Yes, But Also Parkas

If you can stomach shopping for next year’s decorations while you’re still digesting Christmas turkey, Dec. 26 is the best day to buy holiday lights and ornaments as much as 80% off, according to last year’s sales.

But don’t stop there – winter clothing prices crater the day after Christmas as shops look to make way for their spring collections. Post-Christmas sales are high season for sweaters, winter sports apparel, seasonal shoe collections and parkas.

Note: You can judge a product by its wrapping. If it’s packaged in a holiday motif, its price will drop after Christmas no matter what’s underneath. The chocolate and cookies inside will taste just the same, and the holiday-packaged soaps and bath gels will suds up just fine after the season passes.

And with every page you tear off the 2013 calendar in the countdown toward Jan. 1, you can hear prices sheared on the new year’s calendars and diaries (and after New Year’s Day, they’ll practically hand them to you before they get pulped).

Time to Snag That HDTV or Hi-Fi System

The best deals of the year for high-quality home entertainment are offered during the weeks after Christmas. Why? Vegas, baby!

The International Consumer Electronics Show – the annual coming-out party for new models of smart televisions and cutting-edge home entertainment products – is set next year for Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas.

The product show, known for short as CES, is like the Academy Awards for gadgets (in fact, TV’s Emmys for Technology and Engineering are handed out each year at the event).

Makers look to use publicity from the show to push their latest products into the stores, so expect clearance sales in the weeks after Christmas – and bargains on the past year’s CES winners, like Samsung’s 2013 Smart TV line, Sony’s Xperia Z smartphone and a wireless speaker dock for Polk’s Woodbourne.

Fitness Savings to Shape Up Your Wallet

No. 1 on the annual list of new year’s resolutions is getting in shape, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. No. 3 in the study? Improve personal finances.

Taking advantage of post-Christmas sales of workout equipment and apparel is a way to accomplish both. Retailers rush to cash in on the resolution crowd: Sales on treadmills, weight equipment and trainers hit high season shortly before and after you clink champagne glasses on New Year’s Eve.

It’s also the best time of year to get deals on joining your local gym. Whether you use that membership, however, is up to you. (Warning: Statistically speaking, you won’t – 67% of health club members never enter gyms’ doors, according to

Cyber Tuesday, and Wednesday, and …

Cyber Monday may get a lot of press, but there are plenty of online deals to be had after Christmas – and you don’t have to brave the crowds rushing to return unwanted gifts to local stores.

Many stores offer online coupon codes for additional savings, both on individual items and storewide deals, around this time of year.

Make sure to check for special after-Christmas online coupons too. You’ll find both item coupons and storewide discounts. You shouldn’t pay for shipping. To arm yourself, check out NerdWallet’s online rewards and coupon comparison tool for the latest offers.

Look at Last Year’s After-Christmas Sales

If your favorite retailer hasn’t released any information about its upcoming after-Christmas sale, check out the retailer’s sale from last year for hints. Below are a few after-Christmas deals from 2012 at popular stores:

Retailer 2012 After-Christmas Deals 40-70% off items in all categories
Barnes & Noble Up to 50% off top books; 85% off bargain books
Bath & Body Works Up to 75% off items; use code BBWSALE10 to get $10 off $40 online purchases
Container Store 30% off elfa shelf and storage system
Crate & Barrel Up to 60% off holiday merchandise, furniture, home accents, kitchen, bedding and lighting
Dick’s Sporting Goods After-Christmas deals through Dec. 29; up to 60% off apparel
Dollar General Up to 50% off all Christmas merchandise
IKEA Daily sales on select items include 75% off picture frames/candles; 25% off sheets/duvet covers
JCPenney Free shipping for purchases of more than $50 online
Kmart Additional 50% discount off clearance prices on toys
Kohl’s Early-bird specials of 70% off in stores until 1 p.m. Dec. 26
OfficeMax Up to $150 off year-end clearance
Macy’s Save 50% with coupon code JOY
Meijer 20-75% off electronics, small appliances, TVs, toys and jewelry
Neiman Marcus Additional 25-33% off already-marked-down merchandise, for a total of up to 60% off
Saks Fifth Ave Up to 70% off from 8 a.m. to noon Dec. 26 online and in stores
Sears 65% off all women’s fashion boots; 60% off fleece tops; buy one toy, get second at 50% off
Target Year-end clearance on 450 items; get a $10 gift card when you spend $75
Toys R Us Storewide clearance of up to 70%; Lego sets 50% off; buy one movie or video game, get the second for 40% off
Walmart Up to 50% off, especially electronics


Mall image via Shutterstock