Save Money in January

Every month offers unique opportunities to save. Use these tips to save more money in January, a time when most people are trying to catch up on finances after holiday spending:

Hit the After-Christmas Sales

Shopping bags in the trunk of the car
Peter Dazeley/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Shopping after-Christmas sales is a great way to save on next year's gifts and decorations, but the savings don't have to stop there. Look for reduced-price candy, baking supplies, gift sets (with products that you use), and basics like soap and cleaners that have been marked down simply because they're in holiday packaging:

Snatch Up Holiday Returns

Ever wondered what happens to all of those holiday gifts that get returned? Some of them go right back to the sales floor, but a good number of them get marked down and sold as open-box merchandise or shipped off to discount stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall's or Ross. That makes January a great time to start trawling stores for deals.

Shop at Thrift Stores

Thrift stores get swamped with donations in December, as people try to snag last-minute tax deductions; and that means lots of new inventory in January. Swing by your favorite thrift stores this month for some of the best deals of the year:

Buy Discounted Gift Cards

Gift cards are a popular holiday gift, but they don't always hit the mark. Fortunately, sites like Gift Card Granny make a business of buying those unwanted gift cards and selling them at a discount. That's great news for deal-seekers like us. Head over to their site now to set up alerts for your favorite stores, and they'll shoot you an email as soon as they have the card (or cards) that you're after:

Take Advantage of January Sales

Electronics, sneakers and furniture are just a few of the items that go on sale in January. Scan this complete list of what's on sale to see if anything you need is on it:

Print This Month's Coupons

Most coupon sites reset their coupons monthly. Take a few minutes to cruise through the latest offerings to see if there are any coupons that you want to print or download:

Eat What's in Season

Eating seasonally is a great way to keep your grocery bill down, and believe it or not, there are actually quite a few fruits and vegetables that are in season now:

Dial Down Your Heating Bill

As we enter the coldest part of the year, now's the time to get serious about getting those heating bills down:

Start the Year with a Fresh Budget

Life changes from year to year, so your budget should too. Print out a copy of the Build-a-Budget Worksheet, and get that new budget drafted today: