smart spending

What's on sale in December

Toys and books
Toys and books © Monkey Business / Fotolia

Toys and books

Rather than actual markdowns on toys during the holidays, you can often expect to see something called "value pricing," Butler says. That means the item is brought in at a low price -- often because stores are getting volume discounts. And, with toys in December, those prices can be up to 30 percent to 40 percent less than the toy's normal price, Butler says.

Consumers can also expect to find some specials on educational toys. "Those might not be promoted as heavily," Butler says. But in many cases, shoppers will see discounts that are 20 (percent) to 30 percent less than normal, he says.

And if you have a bookworm on your list, rejoice.

A lot of the value-priced books will be up to 50 percent off, Butler says. Discounts will most often be for "books that are of interest but not the most current books," he says.

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