The Best and Worst Things to Buy in October 2012

October is a strange month for shopping, since we're now within a stone's throw of the biggest shopping event of the year: Black Friday. It's smart to to put off most purchases until the attention-grabbing deals start flowing in next month.(See also: Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything)

But there are still notable sales that are unique to this fall month. And in between sipping pumpkin-flavored drinks and carefully planning the perfect costume for an upcoming Halloween party, consumers are likely to do a bit of shopping. So we've mined the extensive dealnews archives of sales, coupons, and individual products from the past few seasons to guide you in your quest for the most savvy purchases in October. Here's what we found.

Modest Costume Deals Before Halloween

Sure, the best time to buy a Halloween costume starts November 1. But you'll still see decent sales on costumes the week before the holiday, with numerous stores also offering stacking coupons to sweeten the deal. For example, BuyCostumes offered a coupon that took an extra 20% off items early in October last year, but mid-month (as well as the week before the holiday), the store increased that discount to an extra 30% off, which applied to a sale that took up to 85% off. Look to The Children's Place,, Hot Topic, and Joann Fabric, among others, for pre-holiday discounts. Of course, don't wait too long, otherwise you'll have to deal with expensive expedited shipping in order to receive your getup in time.

After the holiday, shoppers can go pretty much anywhere and find clearance sales that discount both costumes and decorations. Unless you fear that you'll grow sick of the standard witches and broomsticks, stock up on cheap decorations post-holiday and can store them for next year. Expect discounts of 50% to 90% on themed items.

No Hot Deals on Cold Weather Apparel

Although chilly weather has started to blanket some of the country making winter apparel seems like a savvy investment, the sharpest discounts on cold weather apparel and accessories won't come until January. If you just can't wait until after the New Year, you should at least try holding out until November for the best deals. Around Black Friday a wealth of apparel retailers will offer their best coupon of the year, which may take a full 50% off or more — an excellent discount on current-season items. Expect to see such a coupon from retailers like American Eagle, Aeropostale, Nautica, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, Lands' End, Dockers, Ann Taylor, and more.

Deep Discounts on Denim

While September is a good time to find denim deals, so too is October, as retailers continue to try to move the styles they'd hoped to sell during Back to School season. Last year, we saw Editors' Choice worthy discounts from Levi's, Lee Jeans, Target via its Mossimo line, MNRKY, and Armani Exchange. We also saw moderate sales on jeans from retailers like Lucky Brand, Express, New York & Company, American Eagle, and more. Just keep in mind that you could potentially get as good or a better discount on remaining denim styles by waiting for that aforementioned Black Friday coupon.

Hold Off on New Electronics

We're so close to Black Friday that, if you can help it, you should avoid buying electronics and new devices. There's of course no guarantee that wish-listed electronics will see those famed rock-bottom prices during Black Friday weekend, but across many electronics categories, we see the best prices of the year in November and especially around Black Friday weekend.

Most people are aware that this is a trend for TVs and budget laptops, but select digital cameras, media players, and home theater components could also see their best prices of the year in just a few short weeks — before they're replaced by newer models next year. We also recommend holding off on most Apple products too; although the brand doesn't exactly see "fire sale" prices on new items at any point during the year, Black Friday weekend is a chance for resellers to make some of their largest discounts on current-generation Apple products.

No Hot Cookware Deals

In preparation for the biggest cooking holiday of the year, you might want to round out the items missing from your cookware collection. But wait until November and you could see about 25% more cookware and appliance deals overall. Even better, there will be double the number of Editors' Choice offers as well, which of course means some of the best prices of the year. In years past, you could get your mitts on discount cookware, cutlery sets, bakeware, and small appliances from stores like Macy's, Amazon, Sears, Oneida, Williams Sonoma, Kohl's, and more. This uptick in high-caliber deals will continue into December, albeit with a slight drop off.

End of Season Sales for Garden Plants

While dealnews tends to specialize in the things that make your garden grow, rather than the things that are actually growing in it, our research shows that October is a good month for investing in shrubbery, floral bulbs, and other plants that have a shelf life. According to LifeHacker, "If you have a cellar or other area to store plants over the winter, you can jump in now and get these items very cheaply."

Get Auto Deals on Last Year's Models

Likewise, we certainly don't list cars on our site, but many reliable sources state that October is a good month to get a discount on a new car. New models are released in September, and dealerships begin to get anxious to move cumbersome stock items throughout September and October. According to Forbes, you can save 10% to 20% or more this month on a new-to-you car. The car experts at also suggest buying a model that's "about to be discontinued or redesigned." They warn though that these cars will depreciate much faster than those that are newly released, so this tactic is best suited to people looking for a long-haul purchase.

No Power Savings on Big Appliances Yet

Conventional wisdom says to buy large appliances in September and October, because this is when manufacturers like LG, Maytag, and Whirlpool debut their new models. However, according to our archives, you'll see at least double the number of Editors' Choice deals on these items in November. Moreover, there will be more than twice as many deals in November that discounting washers, dryers, vacuums, and the like from department and home improvement stores.

HDTV Deals on High and Low End Sets Begin to Ramp Up

Traditionally, Black Friday is the best time to get an HDTV deal, whether you're in the market for a main set for your living room or an additional set for the bedroom. That said, we're still a few weeks away from the main event and if you simply can't wait, there are some deals to be had today.

On the high-end side, we have seen 55" 3D LCD HDTVs hit a rock bottom price of $949. Although it was a one-time deal in August, we wouldn't be surprised to see this price-low again. Overall, for high-end 3D 55" TVs, look for prices between $949 and $999. If 3D is still too expensive for your blood, off-brand 42" sets have been seeing impressive lows as well. All summer we've seen prices on these sets comfortably under $300. This includes sets from manufacturers like Westinghouse, Seiki, and TLC. Rule of thumb — look for deals from $230 to $290.

Prices on Ivy Bridge Systems Continue to Drop; Windows 8 on the Horizon

October promises to a be an interesting month for laptop deals. We predict an abundance of deals on mainstream 15" Core i5 Ivy Bridge systems, which had already hit an astonishingly low price of $400 in September. Though with the release of Windows 8 in late October there's a chance we'll see an uptick in prices as new hybrid laptop/tablet models are released.

As tempting as they may seem, we recommend avoiding these hybrids as they'll demand a premium price. In addition, many of them could potentially suffer from first generation problems as they are a new breed of laptops whose hardware mixes the ultrabook with a tablet. Instead, we recommend looking for deals on Ivy Bridge systems with very-capable 15" Core i5-based system with prices ranging from $400 to about $450.

Set up dealnews email alert now to keep abreast of any and all of these best buys in October. And for more price trend information, check out dealnews' consumer shopping research page.

This is a guest post by Dealnews.

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