An Insider's Guide to After-Christmas Sales

You're armed with three gift cards from your favorite stores. Retailers want to unload their inventory. It's the perfect combo -- you with money, stores with goods they don't want. I'm talking after-Christmas sales, people.

They say retailers are more desperate than ever this year to get our money, and that means big discounts on some of the holiday's hottest items. Dan de Grandpre, founder and CEO of dealnews, an online source for retail sales, shares his tips for this year's after-Christmas sales:

Tip #1: Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, taught us that there are no rules when it comes to sales this year. Retailers started slashing prices a week before Black Friday and the same is likely to happen with Christmas. After-Christmas deals may start as early as Dec. 20, especially for online stores that won't be able to get packages to their destination by Christmas if the buyer chooses regular shipping after the 19th or 20th.

Tip #2: The week after Christmas you'll see another 10 to 20 percent taken off already discounted items. Shoppers will benefit from steeper discounts this year more than any other year because retailers are more desperate for business. Even big-ticket items not on this year's holiday wish lists will get slashed, such as furniture and mattresses. Think end-of-year sales.

Tip #3: Be a shopping snob. That means be picky, be informed and wait until you see something you like. Prices have nowhere to go but down. Even consider bringing out your negotiating skills with stores that allow that type of thing. Get competitor's prices, including those online, and take advantage of price matching programs where stores will match the prices of their competitors.

Tip #4: Some of the best after-Christmas deals will be on anything associated with the holiday's hottest items, such as toys and electronics. Big-screen, high-definition TVs will drop in price the week after Christmas and then come back up and hold steady until the Super Bowl. Prices on computers were slashed last year and the same may happen again this year. Sale watcher de Grandpre also expects some deals coming out of the large discount department stores such as Kohl's and Target.

Tip #5: Don't fret if you're one of those people who lives on the edge and does their Christmas shopping at the 11th hour. You may see discounts on items, as well as deals on shipping at online sites. The last day to do online shopping is the Friday before Christmas this year. That means many online stores will be offering free shipping or discounted shipping upgrades, such as $5 on next-day arrival. The drawback for last-minute shoppers is that early birds may have already snatched all the good colors and sizes.

Tip #6: Not all the good deals will be on the holiday's hottest items. Retailers will be trying to get rid of software in preparation for their 2008 releases. Intuit, which makes Quicken and TurboTax, offered some good discounts last year on some of their most popular software. You'll also be able to get some good deals on kitchen electronics and other home items such as linens and silverware.

Tip #7: De Grandpre also expects to see some good deals on high-definition DVD players and Blu-ray players. This is the first year this technology has been affordable so retailers will try to make them even more affordable after Christmas. That also means that stores will be offering good deals on high-definition DVD movies, as well as the Blu-ray discs.

What are your tips for after-Christmas shopping? What are the best things to buy?

By Tania Anderson |  December 18, 2007; 3:00 AM ET Holidays and Special Occasions
Previous: Where the Toys Are | Next: Holiday Meals... to Go

Comments

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Have an idea of what you want to buy and know that you have the space for it. Buy items that can be used year-round and are not just seasonal. Doesn't apply if the item has removable seasonal packaging.

Posted by: LisaLuvs2Cook | December 18, 2007 10:34 AM

After Christmas -- I hit up the local Hallmark store for 1/2 price wrapping paper, cards, and ornaments.

Posted by: WDC 21113 | December 18, 2007 10:44 AM

Make a note of what you purchased and where you put it. I have a tendency to buy gifts for next year and then forget about it. I recently found a lovely birthday present for my Mom's December birthday that I bought at an after XMas sale and promptly forgot about it.

Posted by: Amy | December 19, 2007 1:40 PM

I'm trying to cut down on spending so I definitely agree with being a shopping snob. Unless there's a reason to buy it, don't. Gift cards always work well too or you can go shop the gift with the person if they don't mind.

By the way, Tania, just to let you know that's a very nice picture! I guess the Post's Metro section is trying to brighten up its image a bit after forcing us to look at poor Marc Fisher's drab old mug year after year. LOL ;)

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Posted by: Mike | December 20, 2007 3:03 PM

I always shop the day after Christmas for deep discounts on cards, wrapping paper, etc. I also start Xmas shopping for the following year and throughout the year. I start with the Spring sales, summer sales, back-to-school sale and by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, all I have to do is send cards and start wrapping gifts. I have a large box and store away all my gifts. Stocking up on gifts can be used also for emergency events, such as birthdays, etc.

Posted by: MissLyn | December 20, 2007 4:01 PM

Mostly i prefer to shop my kids toys and games on BackToBasicToys and ConstuctivePlayThings stores at couponalbum.com..

Posted by: Nicklaus | December 24, 2007 4:42 AM

I like going to the big box stores and asking the seasonal employees if there is something they no to be a "blow-out" sale.

Posted by: Brother Jack | December 26, 2007 11:46 AM

I go to the store and compare the prices of the item I like with a few sites online. Most of the time I find the best deal online at RefundShopper.com which gives you instant coupons plus cash back at the same places.

Posted by: Lisa | January 3, 2008 12:41 PM

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