The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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December 26, 2012

Here's what to shop for in the New Year

Since the holidays began, we've been pretty hard on the American shopper. "You don't need a Christmas tree for every room in your house!" we've barked. But that's because you need these reminders. Even at the height of the recession in 2008, people splurged on Christmas trees, with Americans spending more than $3 billion on them every year since.

In 2013, we're giving you permission to spend (wisely). There are many things, particularly big-ticket items, that you should buy in January and February. We consulted Consumer Reports' "When to Buy What" calendar to get the details on when retail stores change their inventory and when sales typically begin.

If you didn't splurge in December, January is a great time to buy, because most of the country is sick of shopping. Expect discounts on everything from carpeting to furniture. Here's what you should buy in the next couple of months.

Holiday everything

It may seem obvious, but stalk your local CVS, Walgreens and big-box retailers: The holiday stuff you'll want next year is about to go on sale. You know how you're coveting your neighbor's Christmas light display? Everything you've been salivating over this season will soon be half off — the fake trees, the blow-up Santas, the Christmas cards. Buy them soon. You can store items in the garage; chances are, you'll want them next year. Remember: Not everything included in holiday sales is holiday specific. Red, blue, gold and silver wrapping paper can be used year-round.

Large appliances

Washing machines, ovens, dishwashers — older models of large appliances — tend to be deeply discounted in January. New models arrive in September and October, which is when sales typically start. Any remaining models must be sold early the next year. Deals will be good, but be warned: The selection will be small.

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