Items to skip when shopping in August
As the summer season starts to wind down, you’ll find plenty of discounts from retailers that are trying to clear their shelves. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to score a great deal on everything you see.
There is a best time to buy and a worst time to buy certain items — and August is no exception. From football memorabilia to a new smartphone, read on to learn what not to buy in August.
In July, the cold-weather months seem far away, but as we get into August and to the back-to-school and holiday season, stores start to put out fall merchandise. This means the prices on items like warm coats, long pants, boots and sweaters will be at their highest during this month. You might find back-to-school sales on some of these items, but you won’t find any deep discounts like you can during other months.
A great way to save money on clothing all year is to shop during the off-season. For example, look for discounts on cold-weather clothing during the spring and early summer months, and purchase your summer gear during August and September, according to Consumer Reports.
Another tip to shopping in the off-season is to always keep your receipts. The discounts on off-season clothing can increase quickly and dramatically, and stores like Target, Sears and Kmart have price-match policies for anywhere from 14-30 days after purchase.
Not surprisingly, August is a big month for back-to-school shopping. Sales on school supplies are easy to find, but the prices might not be as low compared to other months. Since retailers know consumers are looking for sales on school supplies during August, it’s not uncommon for them to stock up on lots of shiny new things that are more expensive than your traditional supplies.
Shelves will be stocked with inexpensive “loss leaders,” like pencils and paper to get you in the door. But retailers count on you to also purchase full-priced items with high profit margins — such as binders, graph paper and computer memory sticks, according to Time.com.
It’s an exciting time for kids, and it’s easy to get tempted into buying all the new things. Consider keeping a stock of basic and inexpensive school supplies, like paper, pens, pencils and binders to get you through the first few weeks of school. Wait to buy the rest of your school supplies in September, which is typically the best month to score rock-bottom prices on this stuff.
Theme park tickets
The summer season is an ideal time for a family to head to a popular theme park, but ticket prices are at their highest during these months.
Typically, theme parks are the most crowded when kids are out of school, through late August, during the week of Thanksgiving, over the winter holidays and during spring break season. Because the demand is so high, these businesses charge the most they can for entrance to the park, according to Nasdaq.com.
Not only does this put a major dent in your wallet, but it can also increase how much time you have to wait to go on a ride. So you’re paying top-dollar to visit the park, but getting less value because you have to spend so much time waiting to see the attractions.
Dave Shute, co-author of “The Easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit” recommends visitng Disney World between the second week of Easter and the week before Memorial day, mid-to-late October, any week in November other than Thanksgiving, and during December up to a week before Christmas.
The last full month of summer might seem like a good time to buy new patio furniture, but retailers usually wait until September to really drop prices on these goods, according to DealNews. August is still a warm month, and customers will pay full price to lounge outdoors and soak up the sun.
Since you can easily spend $400 to $2,000 or more on an outdoor furniture set, according to HowMuchIsIt.org, it’s smart to wait until then, as retailers will be trying to quickly sell off the remaining goods. Keep in mind that popular stores like Sears and Home Depot might sell out of discounted outdoor furniture more quickly than a small retailer, so keep your eye out for deals starting at the end of August, according to personal finance advice website SmartAsset. But if you buy before Labor Day, you’ll likely pay more than you would later, according to CBS News.
Deals on televisions are usually scarce during the summer months, and prices are still high on HDTVs in August. Prices do start to drop in the fall, as the summer comes to a close and the holiday season starts to ramp up.
If you need to purchase a new TV before the prime season, DealNews recommended looking for a name-brand 55-inch TV or larger for around $500, although you might be able to save around $100 by going for an off-brand. Also, college students who want to upgrade the TVs or LCDs in their rooms should wait until school has been in session for at least a few weeks to score better prices.
iPhones and iPads
August is a terrible time to upgrade your Apple devices because the company usually unveils their upcoming models in September or October, reported DealNews. This means the price on an Apple device purchased in August will immediately begin to lose value in the coming weeks and months.
If you’re in the market for a new iPhone or iPad, either purchase it earlier in the summer or wait for deals on older models in the fall.
August is plenty warm enough to still enjoy outdoor cycling, so it’s typically a bad month to invest in a new bicycle. If you can wait, prices start to drop closer to the fall, with discounts starting in August and lasting through December, according to Consumer Reports.
Just like car dealerships, bike shops need to make room for the new inventory toward the end of the year. So the best time to look for a rock-bottom deal is during the winter months, according to Bicycling.com. The site also recommended avoiding models that are more than a few years old, even if they are deeply discounted. Advances in cycling technology change so quickly that a “great deal” might actually just be an average one if you can get a far superior model for just a little bit more money.
When summer comes to a close and football season is just around the corner, there is a push for retailers to start selling football memorabilia.
In 2014, Nike — the official brand for NFL team uniforms — raised its prices for higher-end jerseys, reported Time. Fans had to fork over anywhere from $150 to almost $300 to represent their favorite teams. This year, low-end jerseys listed on NFLShop.com run about $100 each, and high-end ones are about $300 apiece.
Typically, sports fans can find discounts on their favorite team’s goods after the season has is over, FatWallet.com says. Before the season starts, the prices remain high because fans are anticipating the start of the new season, and are more willing to pay full price. If you want to stock up on a jersey in August, look for great deals on hockey and basketball memorabilia.