The Best and Worst Things to Buy in September 2012

Photo: ashleypalmero

September marks the end of summer, as well as our countdown to November, Black Friday, and the holiday season. (Yes, we're already thinking about it.) But September has its own deal virtues — including Labor Day sales — so we've mined the extensive dealnews archives of sales, coupons, and individual products from the past few summers to find out what are the best and worst things to buy in September. Here's what we found. (See also: Shopping Calendar: The Best Time to Buy Anything)

Cozy Up to Bedding Deals

For the past two years, home good deals have been rather strong in September, specifically for bedding, towels, and the like. We saw a large number of Editors' Choice options for bedding sets this time last year in particular. Keep an eye out for a variety of discounted home items from the likes of JCPenney, Macy's, Sears, Designer Living, and Kohl's. Notably, be on the look out for stacking coupons at Kohl's, and a mattress sale at Sears that beats its summer-month offerings. (Keep in mind however, that last year we saw excellent discounts on mattresses around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, too. So, in case you miss these sales, you'll have another opportunity to cash in on strong deals later in the year.)

Tangled Up in Blue Jeans

We've made it through the height of Back to School shopping season, which means you can start taking advantage of clearance sales for the student staple of denim. However, while we'll see modest discounts this month at about 40% off, these sales will continue into October, and will likely grow stronger. Also in November, many jeans specialists like Levi's could offer their best coupons of the year around Black Friday. Now is a good time to start looking at discounted jeans styles for a wider selection, but if you're not particular, next month will see steeper cuts.

SSD Storage Deals Are Solid

We've mentioned before that Solid State Drives (SSDs) are on a constant downward price trajectory, but this trend really ramped up this summer. The number of Editors' Choice deals nearly doubled each month since the spring, and we continue to see new all-time low prices for both specific models and overall drive capacities. newegg is overwhelmingly the store to go to for such deals, but Micro Center, Amazon, TigerDirect, and have all also had strong offerings.

Get Your Caffeine Fix for Free

Are you a devout coffee drinker? Then make sure to mark September 29 in your calendar, as several food chains will offer a free cup o' Joe in honor of National Coffee Day. Last year, Krispy Kreme, Waffle House, 7-11, and Caribou Coffee all offered a special promotion to celebrate, and it's possible that other chains and local cafes will do the same.

New Price Points for the iPhone

Supposedly, the newest Apple iPhone will be announced on September 12, making it very likely that the company will slice prices on its older models. If the newest iPhone pricing mimics that of its siblings-made-obsolete, then the iPhone 4S could drop to $99. And the iPhone 4 will possibly stick around as an even more affordable model — a need that the iPhone 3GS will likely leave open as it is expected to be discontinued.

A Slew of iPhone Accessories, New and Old

Supposedly the iPhone 5 will feature a completely new dock connector, which means all existing iPhone accessories will become outdated overnight. Old accessories will then see aggressive deals as stores try to clear their shelves for brand new, full-price replacements. If you're upgrading to the iPhone 5, consider at least waiting a few months to add to your collection of dock accessories so that you can avoid paying retail price.

Rock-Bottom Airfare Rates

The cheapest airfare deals we saw throughout all of last year came in late September, when both Vision Airlines and Spirit Airlines offered 1-way fares for a whopping $1. Not a fan of those budget airlines? JetBlue also offered one of its best sales in September, dropping rates to just $29 each way. (However, we have seen JetBlue fares at this price at various other times in the year.) Of course, in order to take advantage of these rock-bottom prices, you have to be a lucky or flexible flyer to make use of the restricted routes and times.

Keep an Eye Out for Hot Sunglasses Sales

If you managed to make it through the summer without buying a new pair of sunglasses, you're about to be rewarded; according to our deals last year, the best storewide sunglasses sales popped up in September, as well as in November and December. For September in particular, look to Oakley Vault, Sunglass Hut, REI, 6pm, and for discounted styles. Last September, Oakley Vault's sunglasses sale was the best the merchant offered all year.

Patio Furniture Deals Are Sitting Pretty

Finally, it's a great month to buy patio furniture! September will see an increase in the sheer number of outdoor furniture sales and deals that discount the seasonal outdoor items. October will see an uptick in the level of Editors' Choice caliber prices. But since several patio sets and gardening items from Sears, Amazon, and other merchants hit their lowest prices in October — and will be priced significantly lower than we had seen them over the summer —what's another few weeks of waiting?

Wait and See With Tablets

We're on a path toward seeing a very interesting, competitive budget-friendly tablet market in the coming weeks and months. It would benefit the consumer to hold off on purchases at the moment; increased competition could likely yield deals that either cut prices or bundle devices with useful media credits or gift cards. Amazon is rumored to be debuting the Kindle Fire 2 in a few days, resulting in a new lower price on the original Kindle, and come mid-month Apple may announce an "iPad mini".

Big Screen 3D HDTVs Show Some Promise

Fall will soon be upon us and if you can refrain from any HDTV purchases over the next two months, you're bound to see the year's best HDTV deals come November. However, if you're in dire need of a new HDTV, you'll want to look at name-brand 55" 3D LCD HDTVs, as those are seeing the most action these days in terms of deals.

Over the summer, 55" 3D HDTVs dipped under the $1,000 mark, a price we had't seen since Black Friday 2011. Then, in early August, prices hit an all-time low, as we saw the 2012 LG 55LM7600 hit $949. While we still recommend waiting for the holidays, shoppers who can't wait until Black Friday should look at 55" 3D LCD HDTVs under $1,000.

Ivy Bridge Laptops on the Move Again

Although back to school sales have generally come to an end, Ivy Bridge-based laptops are in a price free-fall. Whereas 15" Ivy Bridge systems debuted at $1,000 in April, they closed out August at $480 — a price drop of over 50%. We expect to see even more aggressive deals as Microsoft preps systems for its Windows 8 launch in late October; shoppers would be wise to wait a few more weeks to see the best laptop deals.

Again, if you can't wait, looks for 15" Ivy Bridge systems between $480 and $550. Anything under $480 and you'll know you're buying a machine at an all-time low.

Meanwhile, Mac fans who live near a Fry's Electronics store are in luck as the electronics retailer has been offering Apple's 13" MacBook Air (Ivy Bridge model) for $999 with in-store pickup. That's $200 under Apple's retail price and the lowest price we've seen this summer for the 13" model. Don't live near a Fry's? Best Buy, Amazon, and B&H Photo Video have each listed the 13" Air at $1,099 (which is $100 under Apple's price).

This is a guest post by Dealnews.

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Guest's picture

It seems like a lot of things on this list might be discounted because of back to school. Bedding, jeans, airfare and iPhones and Tablets would all be things that parents and kids would look for when going back to school or moving for college- which makes sense. Things like sunglasses and patio furniture are always going to be on sale at the end of the summer for obvious reasons.