5 things you shouldn’t have on your holiday shopping list

As many shoppers hustle for last-minute Christmas gifts, there’s plenty they should avoid.

Holiday shopping is expected to rise by 4% to $678.7 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation, an industry trade group. But sometimes it’s better to wait for bargains. What’s more, Americans spent about $430 on average to buy 14 gifts each last year, according to a survey by financial services firm Deloitte, and approximately $1 billion in gift cards go unused every year.

Gifts instead should be meaningful, not wasteful and designed to enhance a person’s education, career, or financial acumen.

If highly sought after toys are available, such as Fingerlings and the Nintendo Switch, shoppers should consider buying them when they see them. Remember the Hatchimal craze last year? Bots and other consumers buy large quantities of the year’s hottest toys and sell them at a marked up price on third-party retail sites such as eBay “If you have an item on the list, just get it,” said Trae Bodge, a shopping expert in Montclair, N.J.

Firstly, if you are buying decorations for the holidays, consider holding off for just a few more weeks. They will be at clearance-level prices right after the holidays — up to 50% off according to personal-finance site Deal News, which weighed in on pre-Christmas shopping. “Stock up on holiday decorations for next year, as well as fireplace accessories and cold-weather furnishing accessories,” said Janet Alvarez, a personal finance expert at personal finance site Wise Bread.

Here are 4 more things to avoid before Dec. 25:

Wait for the January ‘white sales’ for linens

For decades, January has been the month for “white sales” of linens — sheets, towels, bedding and more, Bodge said. Consumers should look out for sales at stores like J. C. Penney, Macy’s and Pottery Barn. Many people are preparing their homes now for guests, so there’s less incentive for retailers to offer big deals.

February is a better month to buy jewelry

Looking to get engaged this season? Shoppers may get a better deal on their rings and other jewelry after Christmas, usually around Valentine’s Day in February or Mother’s Day in May, Bodge said. Engagement rings cost $6,351 on average, up 25% from $5,095 in 2011, according to wedding site The Knot’s 2017 survey of 14,000 adults engaged or recently married.

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