What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in August
Here we are, almost at the end of summer, and time really has been flying. I remember saying that Halloween supplies would be here in the blink of an eye. I blinked. I saw some yesterday. It’s amazing how quickly they roll these things out these days. But before you start seriously shopping for the ghostly festival, or Thanksgiving for that matter, there are a ton of sales out there that you can take advantage of. (See also: Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything)
First, What to Buy…
There are quite a few diverse things to celebrate in August, including National Watermelon Day and National Marshmallow Toasting Day. Yes, it has a day. The 13th is Left Hander’s Day, but I doubt you’ll see a lot of bargains in the department. Here’s what you can look forward to buying for less.
1. Back-to-School Goes Nuts
Back-to-school items were in the “buy” pile last month, and this month it gets even better. You will see great deals on the usual clothing and school supplies, including backpacks. But also look for bigger items — dorm furniture will be on sale, including desks, chairs, and cheap storage. You can also find deals on a cheap laptops.
2. Patio Goes Low, Low, Low
There have been patio deals for the last few months, but if you have been waiting to strike, your patience could pay off big time. Patio furniture is bulky, and it takes up some major real estate in the stores. They want it gone. Now. And although the selection will be poor at this point, you can pick up bargains of 70%-90% off. I recently saw folding chairs slashed from $50 to just $9. Get out there and hit the big retailers like Target, Walmart, and Sears.
3. Summer Clothing
Stores are kissing goodbye to summer, making room for fall apparel by clearing the shelves of all the stuff you can still use right now. Look for great markdowns on tank tops and shorts, light jackets, sandals, and more.
The end of summer also signals the end of the swimming season. Of course, you can go swimming all year long in health clubs and leisure centers, but after August you’ll have a tough time finding ANY swimming items, let alone cheap ones. If you’re in the market for a new bathing suit, grab it now. Last minute vacation shopping later in the year is not the time to get your swimwear. You’ll be disappointed.
5. Grills…Yet Again
It seems like the last few months have been great for grills. August is the month to really grab a bargain, though. But as always, the longer you wait, the less choice you will have. Expect to see gas and charcoal grills on sale for 30%-50% off, and there’s still plenty of good weather left to enjoy them.
6. Big Screen and 3D TVs
Personally, I’m not sold on 3D TVs. But a lot of people are, and if you’re one of them, you can grab a big bargain this month. As hard as it is to believe, you can now find TVs at the 50” to 55” range for as little as $500! Just a few years ago, these same TVs were three to four times that price. If you’re looking for a new TV for the family room, or maybe want to build that entertainment center in the basement, it’s a good time to get your wallet out.
7. Musical Instruments
Really? Well, it’s all tied in with the back-to-school hype. People often forget that music is a part of the school calendar, and you will see deals in specialist shops on guitars, as well as woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. If you've always been itching to play the drums or shred like Hendrix, this is a good month to go shopping.
8. Lawn and Yard Supplies
It won’t be long before the sprinkler systems are being blown out, and the grass starts turning a lovely shade of brown. This month, you'll find great deals on everything from gardening tools and equipment to fertilizer, outdoor lighting, and lawn decorations. Want gnomes? Go get ‘em now.
And, What to Avoid…
August does have a few shopping land mines to avoid. Here's what you should steer clear of this month.
1. Smaller Flat-Screen TVs
While the big models are having their prices cut, the smaller TVs (32” and below) are not seeing any kind of price drops. This may be due to the college kids all rushing out to buy one for their dorms. But whatever the reason, these smaller sets are not good buys, unlike their much larger versions. Hold off.
2. Smart Phones
The deals on smart phones are still out there, but they’re nothing to write home about. You’ll find some deals if you look hard enough, however, they will pale in comparison to the deals you are going to get on Black Friday. Hang on to your old phone if you can.
Similarly, tablets are not priced to sell right now. Trade shows will be unveiling new models soon, and once those new models are launched, the old ones will plummet sharply in price. If you need a new tablet, try a refurbished one, and save some dough.
4. Fall Clothing