Best and Worst Things to Buy in October

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The following post by Lindsay Sakraida, with contributions from Louis Ramirez, comes from partner site DealNews.

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. You might want to put off most purchases until the attention-grabbing deals start flowing in next month. But there are still notable sales fall month. 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 savviest purchases in October. Here’s what we found.

Modest costume deals before Halloween

Sure, the best time to buy a Halloween costume starts Nov. 1. But you’ll still see decent sales on costumes the week before the holiday, with numerous stores offering stacking coupons to sweeten the deal. For example, BuyCostumes offered a coupon that took an extra 20 percent 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 percent off, which applied to a sale that took up to 85 percent off. Look to The Children’s Place, Diapers.com, Hot Topic, and Jo-Ann Fabric, among others, for pre-holiday discounts. Of course, don’t wait too long, otherwise you’ll have to deal with expensive expedited shipping just to receive your getup in time.

After the holiday, go pretty much anywhere for clearance sales that discount costumes and decorations. You could easily stock up on cheap decorations and store them for next year. Expect discounts of 50 to 90 percent.

No hot deals on cold-weather apparel

Although you may already be experiencing chilly weather in your area, the sharpest discounts on cold-weather items won’t come until January. If you just can’t wait, at least try holding out until November. Around Black Friday, a wealth of apparel retailers will offer their best coupon of the year, which may take 50 percent 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, and American Eagle, but keep in mind that you could potentially get an equally good discount on remaining denim styles by waiting for that aforementioned Black Friday coupon.

Hold off on electronics

We’re so close to Black Friday that, if you can help it, you should probably avoid buying most electronics. There’s of course no guarantee that what you want will be one of the items to see those famed rock-bottom prices that weekend, but across many electronics categories, we see the best prices of the year in November and around Black Friday weekend.

Most people are aware that this will be the case for TVs and budget laptops, but keep in mind that select digital cameras, media players, and home theater components could also see their best prices of the year – before they’re replaced by newer models next year. We also recommend holding off on most Apple items; although the brand doesn’t exactly see fire-sale prices on new items at any point during the year, Black Friday weekend will see resellers take some of their largest discounts on current-generation Apple products.

Say no to cookware items

You might get the shopping bug to buy the kitchen items that are missing from your collection in preparation for the biggest cooking holiday of the year. But wait until November and you could see about 25 percent more cookware and appliance deals. Even better, there will be double the number of Editors’ Choice offers as well, which means some of the best prices of the year. In years past, you could get your mitts on cookware, cutlery sets, bakeware, and small appliances from stores like Macy’s, Amazon, Sears, Oneida, Williams Sonoma, and Kohl’s. 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 shrubbery, floral bulbs, and other plants with 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 those incredibly cumbersome stock items in September and October. According to Forbes, you can save 10 to 20 percent or more this month. The car experts at Edmunds.com 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.

Big appliances will see big savings…later

Conventional wisdom says to buy large appliances in September and October, because this is when manufacturers like LG, Maytag, and Whirlpool debut new models. However, according to our archives, you’ll see at least double the number of Editors’ Choice deals on these items in November.

HDTV deals begin to ramp up on high- and low-end sets

Traditionally, Black Friday is the best time to purchase a new HDTV. That said, if you simply can’t wait, there are some deals to be had today.

On the high-end side, 55-inch 3D LCD HDTVs have hit rock-bottom at $949. Although that was a one-time deal we saw in August, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it again. So for high-end 3D 55-inch TVs, look for prices between $949 and $999. If 3D is too expensive for you, off-brand 42-inch sets have been seeing impressive lows as well. All summer we’ve seen these sets come in at prices comfortably under $300. This includes sets from manufacturers like Westinghouse, Seiki, and TLC. Look for deals from $230 to $290.

Ivy Bridge systems continue to drop; Windows 8 on the horizon

October promises to a be an interesting month for laptop deals. Not only do we predict an abundance of deals on mainstream 15-inch Core i5 Ivy Bridge systems (they hit an astonishingly low price of $400 in September), but with the release of Windows 8 in late October there’s a chance we’ll see a significant uptick in prices as new hybrid laptop/tablet models are released.

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’ll be a new breed of laptop hardware that mixes the ultrabook with a tablet. Instead, we recommend looking for deals on Ivy Bridge systems with prices ranging from $400 to about $450 for a very capable 15-inch Core i5-based system.

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