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Cramer Remix: When to start buying

All rallies might look the same, but sell-offs are all different in their own way. Jim Cramer applied this logic to the plunging of the averages on Monday, even as the proximate cause of the worldwide sell-off was China.

Often when a rally occurs, traders will figure out what stocks have not moved in sync with the S&P, and buy those stocks.

"Why not? A rally should include almost everything because rallies reflect generally positive events that resonate with all stocks. That is totally not the case with sell-offs, which is why we need to plunge into them on a case-by-case basis," the "Mad Money" host said.

Stocks declined significantly in the market open on Monday after Chinese rules involving circuit breakers halted trading after stocks declined 7 percent. As a result, Europe sank 3 percent and the U.S. market dropped 2 percent.

First up were the stocks that need to be sold, which include industrials closely linked to China. While Caterpillar was the most obvious offender of the group, Cramer considers the entire industrial group a blast zone. It gets bought last.

There are three groups that stood out to Cramer that could benefit in the current environment: retail, health care and consumer packaged goods.

So, when should investors pull the trigger? The last Chinese sell-off in August weighed on the market for four days. Cramer expects that it will be only three days this time around. That means investors should start their buying on Tuesday, but not if the market opens up.

Read MoreCramer: Stocks that rally in a Chinese sell-off

An investor observes stock market at a stock exchange hall on December 14, 2015 in Beijing, China.
ChinaFotoPress | ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
An investor observes stock market at a stock exchange hall on December 14, 2015 in Beijing, China.

Even though the Dow Jones industrial average was torn to shreds on Monday, Cramer still loves it. Many regard it as being out of fashion and others dismiss it as a poorly weighted index where some stocks can overwhelm others — but Cramer doesn't care.

"We can carp all we want, but the Dow remains the face of the market, even if it is not the benchmark that funds use to measure their performance," the "Mad Money" host said.

That is why Cramer decided to give the index its due by highlighting the biggest winners and losers of the Dow in 2015.

His top five darlings of the Dow were Nike, McDonald's, Home Depot, General Electric and Microsoft.

Cramer then turned his attention to the five losers of the Dow, to see if these bottom feeders could have any life left in them this year. The dog stocks were Wal-Mart, Caterpillar, American Express, Chevron and United Technologies.

Read MoreCramer: Woof! 2015 Dogs & darlings of the Dow

One stock that was beaten down hard last year was Wingstop, the chicken wing chain with more than 800 locations that came public in June. Its stock surged to $30 from $19 on the first day of trading and has since been crushed.

However, Cramer thinks it may have come down so much that it could be intriguing. Wingstop did report a strong quarter in November, delivering a 2-cent earnings beat from a 9-cent basis and deceleration in same-store sales growth.

So with the restaurant stocks in pain lately, could it be time to take another look at Wingstop? To find out, Cramer spoke with Charlie Morrison, the company's CEO.

"We have one of the most efficient economic models probably in the business today … 75 percent of our business is carry-out. We keep it very simple, very efficient and it creates great returns for our franchisees and they continue to keep growing the business with us," Morrison said.

The New Year kicked off with an ugly sell-off on Monday, and many investors asked Cramer what to do with FANG — which stands for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet — and the once popular favorite Apple.

What should they do if they already own these stocks, or want to own them?

Cramer said that FANG should be avoided right now. These stocks are up so much that he now expects profit-taking. Actually, it would be insane if that didn't happen at this point.

"I know about the process of money management. Money managers are under tremendous pressure to outperform the S&P 500. They also want to show that they are 'with it' and have a 'brain'," the "Mad Money" host said.

As for Apple, the world has decided that without growth in cellphones the stock is finished. But there is another market that is big enough to matter down the road — autos.

Cramer recommended for Apple to spend $9 billion to buy the brains behind the connected car, Harman. At its current valuation, Cramer only wants those investors that do not own Apple to buy it. But if you already own it, he wants you to wait.

Read MoreCramer: How to play FANG, Apple amid the sell-off

In the Lightning Round, Cramer gave his take on a few caller-favorite stocks:

American Water Works: "It's been a huge winner, but it no longer has a big enough yield for me. So, I'm going to take a pass."

New Residential Investment: "That 15 percent yield looks like a red flag to me. Probably have to do some more work on that to see how that is sustainable — not!"

Read More Lightning Round: This stock is a dead cat bounce