The holidays may have exhausted your stamina for shopping, but don't get too comfy. A little-known secret of the retail industry is that January is the best time for consumers to find the greatest bargains. Most national retailers have a fiscal year that ends annually on January 31. That means it's time to clean house to make way for a whole new accounting period in addition to a whole new selection of wares for spring. The end of the fiscal year allows stores to deeply discount products to avoid taking a loss on any unsold merchandise.In short, that translates into "any money is better than no money." Consumers can find prices anywhere from 60-80% off during January, with substantial markdowns occurring during Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

While the majority of inventory is being ushered out the door, it's important to remember that not everything in a store may be on sale. Electronics, especially those released within a month or two of Christmas, will not be marked down. Wait until after new gadgets announced at the annual Consumer Electronics Show hit shelves in March for deep discounts on last year's models.

Things to wait on:
  • Exercise equipment and fitness clothes (on sale in the spring)
  • Luggage (on sale in September)
  • Grills and patio furniture (on sale in autumn)
  • Humidifiers (on sale in February)
  • MP3 players, DVD players, or laptops (on sale in spring)

So, what things can you find the best deals on in January?

Winter clothing (sweaters, leggings, fleece, scarves, gloves, coats, boots): pretty much any type of cold-weather fashion must go!

Designer handbags: making way for their spring color collection, end-of-year colors are now at 50-80% off

TVs: Traditionally, televisions go on sale two weeks before the Superbowl in February, but consumers can expect to find the best deals of the year as early as Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

Storage: Look for two-for-one sales on Rubbermade bins and other storage devices as folks pack up their holiday decorations. Speaking of...

Holiday decorations (Christmas trees, twinkle lights, ornaments, greeting cards, wrapping paper): stock up for next year with items 70-90% off. A friend recently purchased a giant pre-lit tree for $17 and got next year's box of 50 Christmas cards for $0.49

White Sale (towels, bed linens, pillows, blankets): A department store tradition that dates back to 1878,  linens are at their lowest price of the year in January. These sales originated to entice customers to go shopping during the slowest retail month of the year. Discounts average 60-70% off.

Winter sports equipment

Home furnishings: sofas, bed frames, bookshelves, storage

Mattresses: averaging 70% off

Tax preparation software: buy it now for discounts of up to 40% off; this deal won't be around in February

Take advantage of 25% off gift cards at GiftcardGranny.com (or sell your own unwanted gift cards from the holidays for cash.)

Another tip is to start searching for Valentine's Day gifts for your sweetheart amongst the Christmas sale leftovers. Jewelry, fragrances, and chocolate prices skyrocket during February due to the demand for the holiday, but right now, you can still find occasion-appropriate gifts at a fraction of the price. There's nothing more romantic than scoring the perfect present at a quarter of the cost... just as long as it's not a Santa Claus charm bracelet.

What are the best deals you've found this month? Leave a comment below!