The Washington Times-Herald

Community News Network

November 9, 2012

Holiday skip list: What not to buy

It's the most wonderful time of the year — arriving year after year after year — and somehow, we still haven't caught on to the needless consumer spending that the season propagates. Every holiday season, we buy new stockings for the kids, twinkle lights for the house and sparkling clothes that we'll wear to no more than one holiday party.

This year, we're giving you an out. Stop buying stuff you don't need! According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $6 billion on holiday decorations last year and are expected to spend $6.9 billion this year. (That's more than the 2012 election cost!) According to Bloomberg, we spent $2.2 billion on fake Christmas trees, more than twice what we spent on real ones. (So, no, we're not even helping Christmas tree farmers.)

We're not saving money when we buy things we don't need. And we don't need 10-foot Santas in our yards or another fake tree every year.

We loves the season, but it has a way of bullying us into unnecessary purchases. Here are five things you don't need to spend money on this holiday. If you still want that giant inflatable snowman after New Year's, you'll be happy you waited until 2013.

YOU DO NOT NEED . . .

A new television

Yes, this is counterintuitive. If you are among the first ones in line at Walmart, Target or Best Buy on Black Friday, go ahead: Buy the severely discounted flat-screen TV. But if you don't get your hands on the advertised door buster, you probably won't get the best deal on a television. The Wall Street Journal and Decide, Inc., a consumer research firm, recently sponsored a Black Friday comparison shopping study. They found that the average price of a Samsung 46-inch LCD television was $1,159 before Black Friday. On Black Friday, the same TV's average price was $1,355. There's a logical reason prices might be higher during the holidays: Demand for televisions is high during winter (and football season). For the best deals, wait until March or April, when demand falls.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

  • Can 6 seconds launch a career? A generation of Vine stars sure hopes so.

    A year ago, Shawn Mendes filmed himself singing a tentative acoustic cover of the Justin Bieber song "As Long as You Love Me" and put the results on Vine. He wasn't expecting much response. "I didn't really want anything to happen; I just kind of wanted to see what people would think," says Mendes, 16. "I posted that first Vine and woke up the next morning with 10,000 followers. That was pretty cool."

    August 14, 2014

  • Freshman.jpg 8 crucial tips for college freshmen

    With school starting back up around the country, no one has a bigger deer-in-the-headlights look than college freshmen.

    August 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • A night in Ferguson

    For the past week in Ferguson, reporters have been using the McDonald's a few blocks from the scene of Michael Brown's shooting as a staging area. Demonstrations have blown up each night nearby.

    August 14, 2014