What to Buy (and Avoid Buying) in October

Boo! Yes, it's that time of year again (as I get older, and my kiddos do too, I feel it creeping up on me more quickly every year). Halloween is here. That means Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Diwali, are all approaching. With them come things to buy. However, these tips should help you save your hard-earned cash and stretch it a little further in the last stretch of 2014 and on into 2015.

First, What to Buy

October 16th is Boss's Day; if you have a boss, and want to stay in their good graces before holiday bonuses get handed out, you may want to consider getting him or her a little treat. Of course, the biggest time for treats, and tricks, is October 31st. Are you ready for it? Well, here are some deals to help you keep more of your money in your pockets before the big day.

Lawn Care & Equipment

Many of us are looking around for deals on winterization. That means it's time to shut down the gardening regime for the winter, and retail stores know it. Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Sears and other major chains will be doing their best to clear out what's left of the summer lawn care stock. If you can find them, you'll also find killer deals on everything from hoses and rakes to fertilizer and insect repellent.

Cruises and Vacations

If you're looking to save some money on a getaway, you can't beat cruise prices right now. I've seen deals for four nights in the Bahamas for two, with kids, for under $300. You can even get them under $200 if you're going as a couple. Check them out but make sure you include the price of airfare to and from the departure city. That often trips people up. It's also off-season for traditional vacations, and that means great deals on packages including hotel and flight.

Halloween Deals (Be Careful)

Yes, there are Halloween deals coming. November 1st is when the first big sales will hit, and by November 15th the stores are almost giving them away. But that's no use to you if you want a deal for this year's Halloween. So, consider buying just a week or two before the big night. Look for deals at online stores, eBay, and consider costumes that may not be as popular next year (for instance, is anyone going to be talking about Frozen with the same vigor? Well, maybe not).


Now, it has to be said that buying a new car is not good financial sense. The second you drive it off the lot it loses a significant amount of value. A car that's just a year or two old is a much better deal, and will have low mileage and a lot of the warranty left on it. However, if you must have a new car, this is the month to go shopping. September is when new models are released, so the dealerships don't want old stock littering the tarmac. Find the True Car Value, haggle like crazy, and never be afraid to walk away. You'll get a major deal.

Denim and Jeans

It was the same story last year; for some bizarre reason, there's a glut of denim and jeans on the store shelves right now. Yes, you can blame some of the bargains 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, and even bigger deals on store brand from Target and Walmart.


Just like lawn care, 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 (or months) of use out of a brand new grill. Of course, if you're a brave chef you'll be out there in the snow and ice cooking up steaks and corn like a pro.

Patio Furniture and Camping Gear

Another no-brainer, but it has to be said. Patio furniture and camping gear is not on anyone's shopping list right now. Do you want to sit outside in the rain and snow? So, stores are trying to shift it quickly. Sure, you may have to wait several months to take full advantage of new patio furniture and tents, but who cares when the prices are this low?

Air Conditioning

When it's cold outside, it's not necessary to make it cold inside. Most people are not 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 's smart thinking with winter coming.


Just before Halloween, Apple will launch yet another new version of its iPad. If you want to get a deal on an iPad, expect the price of the current model to drop when this happens. You won't see any significant drop from Apple around Black Friday anyway, so grab a deal when you can.

And, What to Avoid

There's more to watch out for in Halloween than ghosts and goblins. Here are a few items you should strike from your list unless you absolutely have to have them.

Winter Clothing and Shoes

It makes sense, but so many people seem to rush out and grab the first items they see. The stores are not going to run out, but they are not going to discount anything significantly right now. Most of us are thinking about buying long sleeved shirts, jackets, boots, and even umbrellas. That means demand is high. So, unless you spy a genuine bargain, avoid shopping for these items and try the second hand market instead.


Following Halloween comes the biggest shopping day of the year — Black Friday. Appliances will be discounted BIG TIME this year, so wait a month or so. If you need something like a washer or dryer, consider using a Laundromat or asking a friend or relative to help. Of course, if your fridge or freezer is out, waiting will be tough. Just know, the biggest discounts are coming.


Again, Black Friday will serve up the biggest deals of the year for large screen TVs. No one really needs one of these, so bide your time and wait. Expect to see 55" TVs for as low as $350 (it pains me to write this… I bought a 48" TV for $399 and thought that was a great deal). You will always pay more for the big brand names though, so don't expect to get a high-end TV for that rock-bottom price.


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.

Gift Wrap

Just hit up a dollar store for this. The major holidays are coming, and retail stores will push expensive 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 save on this month? Please share in comments!

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Guest's picture

Great entry Paul. One way I’m always able to save money on gift wrap, in addition to checking out the dollar stores as you suggest, is to purchase my wrapping materials a year in advance by picking up a bunch after the holidays when they go on clearance.