What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in October
This is it — the busy season begins. Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Diwali, and even things like Boss's Day, stores will be trying to get you to shop more for the next few months. However, these tips should help you save your hard-earned cash and stretch it a little further. (See also: 5 Steps to Stress-Free Holiday Gifting)
First, What to Buy
As mentioned in the opening paragraph, October 16th is Boss's Day. There are also a few other holidays worth mentioning, including Columbus Day (October 14th) and Child Health Day (October 7th). But the big one is Halloween — the last day of the month. What bargains can you scare up between now and then?
1. Health Insurance
The Affordable Care Act kicks in this month. There is no time here to discuss the many pros and cons, but many people will be able to get deals on health care. Check out our guide.
2. Lawn Care and Equipment
By now the gardening shelves in many retail stores, like Target and Walmart, will be almost empty. But if you can find them, you'll also find killer deals on everything from hoses and rakes to fertilizer and insect repellent.
3. Broadway Shows (NY Residents/Visitors)
I was lucky enough to be in New York last week for Advertising Week. I missed the off-season of Broadway by just a few weeks. There is a lull this month, meaning great deals on tickets to some of the biggest shows. If you're planning to visit, or live in the Big Apple, go take in a show. (See also: Cheap Weekend Getaways)
4. Camping Gear
For most people, camping season is pretty much over. Of course, there are always those who will tough it out no matter the weather, but if you're a regular camper looking to upgrade your equipment, you will find some great deals this month.
5. Air Conditioning
Cooler temperatures are here. Most people are no longer concerned with getting a new air conditioner, or upgrading, which is why the month is a great time to start looking. Places like Sears will give you some great deals, and many private A/C firms will do deals on installation. Many will even throw in a free furnace, and that could make great sense with winter coming. (See also: 10 Cheap Ways to Keep Your Home Warm)
6. Denim and Jeans
For some reason, there's a glut of denim and jeans on the store shelves right now. Some of it can be blamed on back-to-school, but whatever the reason, take advantage of it. Children and adults alike can snag great deals on brand name denim clothing.
7. Patio Furniture
It's big, it's bulky and it's out of season. Those three factors add up to huge savings for you. Sure, you may have to wait several months to take full advantage of new patio furniture, but who cares when the prices are this low?
As winter approaches, tire manufacturers will be encouraging you to grab a new set of tires for the winter season. They will also be giving some very nice discounts on the big brand name tires you trust. Start shopping for them now if you tread is starting to look a little bald.
Just like patio furniture, the grilling season is behind us. That means great deals for outdoor chefs, and the weather is still mild enough to get a few more weeks use out of a brand new grill. Of course, if you're my father-in-law, you'll grill with three inches of snow on the ground.
And, What to Avoid…
October is also a bad month for certain items. You will no doubt know the most obvious ones to avoid, but here is a list for you to mull over.
1. Almost Anything Halloween
It's common sense really. The big day is this month, and everyone is frantically looking for great outfits and decorations. You will find the occasional small deal here and there, but nothing worth writing home about. Hopefully, you stocked up last November when Halloween gear was reduced by 90%. (See also: 12 Discount Sites to Find Your Halloween Costume)
2. Winter Clothing and Shoes
Chalk up another one to common sense. When something is in demand, it is not discounted. And most of us are looking at long sleeved shirts, jackets, boots, and even umbrellas. So, unless you spy a genuine bargain, avoid shopping for these items and try the second hand market instead.
Black Friday is a good time for tools. If you can wait until then you'll save yourself a pretty penny. Of course, if you need something now, avoid the major retailers and try discount stores like Harbor Freight Tools. They have great deals all year round.
4. Gift Wrapping
The major holidays are coming, and that means a huge need for cards, gift wrap, tissue paper, and boxes. The best bet for saving money is to avoid retail stores and visit the dollar stores instead. They do paper and boxes that are every bit as good and will not break the bank. After all, it all goes in the trash.
What are you planning to buy — or avoid buying — this month?