What to buy in February

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For many February shoppers, Valentine’s Day steals the spotlight, but it doesn’t traditionally offer great deals. Retailers know most shoppers are forced to make purchases for Feb. 14, so they have little incentive to offer discounts, says Mark LoCastro, spokesman for DealNews.com.

If you’re looking to save a buck in February, focus on Presidents’ Day say experts, when you’ll find good deals on laptops, winter clothing, and to a lesser degree, HDTVs.

The Consumer Electronics Show debuted the latest in HDTV technology, but LoCastro says February is not the best time to invest. “It is nowhere near November when you see the best pricing on a number of TVs,” he says. If you must buy, look for name brand 42-inch LCD TVs for prices at or below $300. If you’re looking for something larger, seek off-brand (Sceptre, Seiki) 55-inch LCD TVs which had prices as low as $250 in January. That’s 37 percent cheaper than Black Friday, he says.

Brent Shelton, spokesman for FatWallet.com suggests investing in Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire or other such technologies as an alternative to buying a new TV. You may see some discounting of these products this month around the holidays, she says.

Laptops are undergoing a transitional period with many new devices on the horizon, LoCastro says. Look for mainstream Intel Core i5 based machines priced from $360 to $380 for the best value. Wait to purchase a MacBook Air, since Apple is expected to introduce a new 12-inch version toward the end of February.

Presidents’ Day sales will come a few days before the holiday and last up to five days after. This is a good time to purchase winter clothing at 55 to 95 percent off, LoCastro says. Deals on shoes, boots and sneakers, are likely to be limited, though retailers like 6pm.com have offered 60-85 percent off. Some retailers will offer storewide savings of 10 to 20 percent off with a minimum purchase amount. Check the clearance section first for items you want, so you get the greatest markdowns to stack with additional storewide savings.

There will also be sales on some home items including furniture, say Shelton and LoCastro. Check for big discounts on furniture, between 50 and 80 percent at stores like Ikea, Kmart and Wayfair.com. If you are making a big purchase, look for other perks such as cash back deals or zero percent financing, Shelton advises.

Sears and Kohl’s have discounted mattresses by up to 50 percent in the past, LoCastro says, but you’ll get better deals in April and September. It is also best to hold off on purchasing large appliances until Memorial Day, Shelton says.

Since you probably still have Valentine’s Day on your mind, here are a few shopping tips. Jewelry prices typically increase a week or two before the holiday, LoCastro says.

Shelton also advises gift buyers to shop early…or late. Since the holiday falls on a weekend, you may be able to squeeze in a last minute purchase and save, he says. In addition, look beyond the traditional gifts. Retailers are pushing technology, and customers may see some discounting on things like tablets.

“Retailers have been adding a bonus gift card (with purchase). You can use the bonus card to buy something more sentimental and romantic.”

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