January and July tend to be the best time to buy furniture. Like cars, these big-ticket items have to be cleared from showrooms to make room for new models. Make a trip to the store to scout what's in stock for when the end-of-season sales begin.
Carpeting, flooring, paint, etc.
Almost everyone remodels when family comes into town. Whether it's something as simple as new pillows for the sofa or a massive renovation, people change their homes for the holidays. That means prices of carpeting and flooring drop drastically in January. Consumer Reports and FreeShipping.org recommend planning renovations for early 2013, because many household jobs that require technical skills will be discounted after the holiday rush.
By January, stores need to make room for spring and resort collections, which is good news for shoppers. The winter clothing goes on sale. Sure, the selection may be worse — you don't get the latest styles or the selection you would see in September. But if you're in the market for a classic wool coat or all-weather wear, it will be discounted.
January is also the time when cosmetic counters and drugstores discount makeup from the previous year. Right after the holidays, bold, glitzy lipsticks and glittery eyeshadows may seem a little too festive for work. Spring shades hit the counters, so the bolder stuff goes on sale. Look for drugstore coupons and stock up on essentials.
Bedding and linens
This is a bit of a tradition. In 1878, John Wanamaker discounted all the white linens in his Philadelphia department store, starting the annual tradition of "January white sales." The month was a relatively slow time for department stores, and the sales brought crowds in after the holidays. Retailers still use January as an opportunity to have sales on home linens and bedding. But, of course, linens now come in innumerable patterns and colors that couldn't be imagined in the 19th century.