Best buys for the New Year

Smart shopping involves making budget-friendly purchases. Never paying full price is a mantra shoppers can follow to help keep their finances in check.

In addition to coupons and other discounts, shoppers can usually score deals based on which time of year they shop for particular items. Each year, various consumer resources offer advice on the best time to buy certain items.

The beginning of the year is often an ideal time to purchase certain items. Consumers who take advantage of sales offered at the start of the new year can save substantial amounts of money. Now that the holiday season has passed, consumers can begin to find deals on items for themselves.

Clothing: Post-Christmas sales are booming, and stores are looking to sell whats left of their inventories to make room for spring and summer selections. Even though the weather outside is still cold, sweaters, pants, coats, and more are usually available at a discount come January. It may take some digging through the racks, but theres an excellent chance to discover some great items.

Boats: Wintertime is boat show season, but its also the offseason for boaters who live in cooler climates. These factors combine to make it easier and less expensive to find a new boat. According to boat-buying retailer Boatline, consumers can probably get one of last years models at a good price.

Air conditioners: If the warm-weather season was particularly steamy this past year, it might be time to revamp the HVAC system or invest in some new portable units. Bankrate offers that the first few months of the year are prime times to shop for air conditioners. While you may not get the latest model, its likely you can find a reliable unit at below-market cost.

Theater tickets: January and February are not especially busy seasons for theaters, which means there will be greater opportunity to get discounted seats for many popular shows.

Linens and bedding: John Wannamaker was a retail entrepreneur and had a few department stores in New York and Philadelphia. Wannamakers held the first white sale in 1878, and since then many stores have continued the tradition. January is a great month to buy towels, sheets, bedspreads, and more at a discount.

Motorcycles: Riding a motorcycle is a fair-weather hobby, and retailers are aware of this. The easy riders of tomorrow might be able to find great deals today.

Video games: Those who haven’t purchased their fill of video games for the holidays can benefit from post-holiday drops in price.

Furniture: Many furniture manufacturers begin to churn out new inventory in February, so last seasons items will need to move quickly. Shoppers can often negotiate some good deals now and upgrade their homes decor.

Wedding-related services: Couples who don’t mind the chilly weather can enjoy steep savings by hosting their weddings in January. Spring and summer are by far the more popular seasons to tie the knot, but reception halls, musical acts, florists, and other vendors may heavily discount their services in winter.