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8 Things to Buy in January (and 3 Things to Wait On)

Now is the time to buy gym memberships and furniture! But if you're looking to upgrade your computer, you might want to wait a bit longer.
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Ready or not, 2018 is here! That means we're done with the holiday sales and on to the post-holiday sales. While you won't find everything on sale in January, some items are real bargains this time of year — like gym memberships, bedding, and hotel stays.

We went through our sales data, checking out last January's deals to find the ones that were worthy of an Editors' Choice accolade. Read on for our must-buys for January 2018.

8 Good Buys This Month

Gym Memberships

If you've made a New Year's resolution, there's a good chance you want to get healthy, eat better, or lose weight — and the people peddling gym memberships know this is the perfect time to hook you. And we do mean hook, because gym membership contracts can be complicated, designed to part you from your money.

SEE ALSO: 5 Strategies That Gyms Use to Hook You (and How to Not Fall for Them)

In January, you're likely to find gyms waiving extra fees (which can range from $10 to $100 per year, depending on the gym), offering a free introductory period, or discounted rates to make it easy to jump into a year of fitness. And if you don't see any deals offered, ask!

Just be sure to read the contract carefully before signing up. Don't commit to something you can't afford — like hidden fees, long-term contracts, or steep rates in a few months. Most importantly, be sure you'll actually go to the gym before you join. Plenty of people sign up in January but give up on their resolutions within a few weeks. If you're one of them, you could get stuck paying monthly dues for the rest of the year.

Prefer to get in shape at home? Fitness equipment sales are less common; we saw more Editors' Choice fitness deals in November and December. Still, there should be a few notable bargains. Look for Fitbits and other fitness trackers for as much as half off, with refurbished models offering the best deals.

Linens, Bedding, and Towels

It's the season of white sales, a January tradition that originally offered deals on basic white sheets. Like most sale events, it's grown over the years. Now you can expect to find sales on bedding of all kinds, as well as towels and other home essentials. It's a good time to refresh bedrooms and bathrooms with new linens, with sales taking 50% to 70% off.

Last year, we saw those 70% off discounts at Macy's, Overstock, and Wayfair, but good deals could be found at JCPenney, Kohl's, and Target, too.

Clothes, Especially Winter Apparel

Clothing sales make up the majority of January's best deals. You'll find a lot of winter wear on clearance racks as stores make room for spring styles. In most parts of the country, it's still cold enough to make use of a warm winter coat — and if nothing else, you can grab a great deal on next year's winter wardrobe.

SEE ALSO: How to Buy Winter Coats: Your Guide to Fit, Fabric, and Quality

But you can find a lot more than winter coats on discount. While winter jackets made up a quarter of last year's sales, shoes made up another quarter — and there were also steals on everything from socks to handbags. Sales can chop up to 90% off retail prices, making January a great time of year to refresh your wardrobe.

Last Call topped the savings last year with that 90% discount, but expect bargain prices almost everywhere, even on big brands. Tory Burch, True Religion, Lucky Brand, Ralph Lauren, Steven Alan, Barneys, and Nautica all offered 60% or more off.

You'll want to hit these sales soon, because stock will be limited; when the style or size you want is gone, it's gone for good.

Holiday Décor

The holiday season is over for another year, which means all of the holiday stock left on store shelves is going to be on clearance. That makes January a great time to stock up on ornaments, lights, decorations, wrapping paper, and more — you may even find next year's Christmas tree at a deep discount!

With deals ranging from 50% to 85% off, you'll want to buy now, before the last of the Christmas gear is sold out. Last year's best sales were at Lowe's, which offered strings of lights for $2 and a 6.5' pre-lit Christmas tree for $19. Also check Home Depot and Target, both of which are likely to slash prices on holiday offerings. That said, any retailer with seasonal items will be trying to get rid of them.

Hotel Stays

Most travelers are back home after the holiday season. In January, the travel industry tries to lure in vacationers with lower prices. You'll find rack rates for hotel rooms in most destinations with discounts of 20% off holiday peak season. Just avoid the higher rates around Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when travelers take advantage of the long weekend (January 13 to 15 this year).

In January, you'll find rack rates for hotel rooms in most destinations with discounts of 20% off holiday peak season.

The only snag is that booking airfare at the last minute can be pricey. We saw a few travel deals last January — with last-minute one-way flights starting at $18 from Frontier and $28 from United, as well as 40% off Greyhound — but usually you'll save more by booking transportation in advance. However, you can take advantage of discounted hotel rates for destinations within driving distance (or start planning next year's vacation early).

Broadway Tickets

Because it's a low season for the travel industry, you can find deals on entertainment, too — and Broadway tickets are a guaranteed bargain in January. Broadway Week offers 2-for-1 tickets on many shows, including some of the hottest hits. (Sorry, Hamilton enthusiasts: The long sold-out show is unlikely to see any sales).

And contrary to its name, Broadway Week runs for two weeks, from January 16 to February 4. You can start browsing ticket sales on January 5.

National Park Visits

If you prefer the great outdoors, national parks are another entertainment option. Free entry days let you enjoy all they have to offer at absolutely no cost. In 2018, there will be four free days, the first on January 15 for MLK day. Savings will vary depending on the park, but you'll save up to $35 per vehicle.

Home Furniture

In the furniture world, new styles hit the market in February, which means retailers will be trying to get rid of older stock in January. What you'll find on sale will vary depending on what the retailer happens to have left, but expect darker, winter-appropriate palettes rather than the brighter spring colors that'll be common later in the year. Deals will get better later in the month, but the longer you wait, the fewer choices you'll have. To get the best sales, don't be afraid to haggle: Sometimes retailers will be willing to cut a little extra off to get old stock off the show floor.

SEE ALSO: 7 Winter Home Improvements That Will Lower Your Heating Bills

This isn't the right time of year to shop for outdoor furniture, however. Look for those items to start going on clearance in late summer.

3 Things to Wait On


You'll typically find current-generation smartphones discounted when the newest models are released — with especially good deals on used phones as everyone ditches their phone to grab a new one. And we don't expect any notable phone releases soon.

You'll typically find current-generation smartphones discounted when the newest models are released. And we don't expect any notable phone releases soon.

While CES in January is a hotbed of tech announcements, Samsung has already denied that the anticipated Galaxy S9 will be announced then. What's more, new iPhones are traditionally announced in September. You can, however, find some good deals on less-popular Android brands and older iPhones.


While you may want to start off the new year with a speedier computer, deals are few and far between in January. In fact, the only time of year you'll find fewer bargains on laptops is September, after the last back-to-school sales have ended.


There are some TV sales this time of year, perhaps driven in part by demand for high-end TVs for watching the Super Bowl in February. However, most TV deals happen in November. If you can hold off on a new TV until then, you'll find three times the number of Editors' Choice-worthy sales on televisions. Black Friday, in particular, is a hotbed of TV bargains.

Top 5 Stores to Shop in January

If you're more interested in where to shop than what to buy, these stores sported the best Editors' Choice deals last January — and we expect the same this year!

Macy's: Look for towels and bedding at up to 70% off. Plus, shop plenty of good clothing sales, including up to 70% off menswear.

Amazon: While there will be deals at Amazon in almost every product category, last year it offered more Editors' Choice clothing deals than anyone else.

Lowe's: This was the place to buy holiday items last year, with deals taking up to 85% off.

Best Buy: If you just have to buy a TV in January, Best Buy offered the best deals, with brand-name 55" 4K screens for around $500.

eBay: While there aren't many sales on electronics and smartphones this time of year, eBay is the place to look if you want them. Last year, the site offered the best deals we'd seen on older model iPhones, with up to $280 off. Even if you aren't interested in electronics, eBay had more Editors' Choice deals than any other retailer last January.

Ready to put this information to use? Sign up for the DealNews Select newsletter or download the DealNews app to stay in the know about any and all of the best buys of 2018.

Contributing Writer

Originally working in IT, Elizabeth now writes on tech, gaming, and general consumer issues. Her articles have appeared in USA Today, Time, AOL, PriceGrabber, and more. She has been one of DealNews' most regular contributors since 2013, researching everything from vacuums to renters insurance to help consumers.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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