Best and Worst Things to Buy in September

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This post comes from Lindsay Sakraida at partner site Dealnews.

September is an odd month for shopping, since summer has officially come to a close, and we’re inching ever closer to Black Friday. 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 years to find out what are the best and worst things to buy in September.

Patio furniture deals are sitting pretty

As we mentioned in our Labor Day weekend sales guide, it’s finally a great month to buy patio furniture. September will see an increase in the sheer number of outdoor furniture sales and deals on seasonal outdoor items. Look for discounts from retailers like Target and Sears, each of which took up to 60 percent off their stock of outdoor furniture last year. However, Kmart stole the show in 2012 by slashing up to 90 percent off its collection of outdoor items, including patio chairs and tables. Here’s hoping the store offers similar discounts this year.

Get your caffeine fix for free

Are you a devout coffee drinker? Then make sure to mark Sept. 29 on your calendar, as several food chains will offer a free cup o’ joe in honor of National Coffee Day. In years past, Krispy Kreme, Waffle House, 7-Eleven and Caribou Coffee all offered special promotions to celebrate, and it’s possible that other chains and local cafes will do the same this time around, too.

New car models this month mean good deals in October

Since many manufacturers release new car models in September, experts in the industry claim that dealerships will start slashing prices on older models. These discounts start in September but, according to Forbes, they become substantially better in October and later. As such, you can save 10 percent to 20 percent or more on a 2013 car if you wait until October.

No considerable savings on large 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, unlike cars, our archives show that you’ll see at least double the number of Editors’ Choice deals on these items in November because such items will be included in Black Friday sales. There will be more than twice as many deals in November on the whole that discount washers, dryers, vacuums and the like from department and home improvement stores.

New price points for the iPhone

As is tradition, Apple is expected to announce a new iPhone this month, which means that previous generations of the iPhone are about to receive a price cut. Typically this would mean that the two prior iterations drop to $99 and $0, respectively, with a two-year contract extension. However, this time around there are rumors that Cupertino is planning to release a “budget iPhone,” which might take the place of one of those price points. Either way, cheap iPhone options are on the way for September.

Discounts on older tablets

The iPad mini is also expected to get a refresh this month, which means we’ll see nearly instantaneous deals on the first-generation mini from resellers. If Apple keeps the original around at a lower price point — perhaps $290 — then stores like Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics could discount the 16GB Wi-Fi model to as low as $266, which would be a new all-time low. Likewise, Amazon will update the Kindle Fire HD tablet, which means the previous generation could receive a new retail price of $159, if the store maintains the same pricing structure precedent that it set last year.

Big-screen HDTVs remain near all-time low prices

Although they didn’t reach all-time low prices like they did in July, 55-inch 3-D LCD HDTVs did fall to their second-lowest price of the year ($700) in August. Chances are we may not see another rock-bottom deal on these sets until the holidays, but if you’re in the market this month, look for deals at or below $729, which is the category average. This price point should get you a name-brand 55-inch 3-D TV with built-in Wi-Fi and app support.

While 55-inch LCDs may not be at their cheapest right now, 60-inch plasmas are. Prices have steadily fallen over the summer, with August bringing the best deal on these sets, priced at $600. We’ve actually seen this Editors’ Choice price twice in August and there’s a good chance it will make an appearance in September too. (The downside, however, is that it’s a Micro Center in-store-only deal.)

September is prime time for 32-inch HDTVs

While chances are good that several big-screen TVs will fall to lower price points around Black Friday, September is typically the best time of year to buy smaller 32-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs. In 2012, September deals beat out the best Black Friday promotions by about 6 percent. Look for deals in the $169 range, which was last year’s low — and make sure that it’s actually 1080p. We’ve recently seen a resurgence of 32-inch 720p sets in the past few weeks, but they’re coming in at the same price, making for a lesser value.

Haswell Core i5 laptops hit lowest price since launch

The back-to-school crunch is almost over, but that doesn’t mean laptop prices will suddenly rebound. Quite the contrary, actually; deals will remain low or plateau until the next big holiday, Black Friday. That said, we saw 15-inch Intel Core i5 Haswell processor laptops fall to a new low price last month: $458. That’s still about $60 more than a Core i5 Ivy Bridge system, but it’s 16 percent less expensive than July’s best deal and the lowest price we’ve seen to date for a 15-inch Core i5 Haswell laptop.

A month for desktops to shine

Desktops are generally a dying breed, having been bumped by mobile platforms, but there are still users who prefer a PC for their heavy computing needs. And such users should take note: For the past two years, we’ve noticed that September has been the best time to purchase a dual-core desktop PC. With prices starting at $200, this month boasts deals that should be better than Black Friday’s best offers. (However, higher-end quad-core models tend to see the biggest price cuts in November, when they will be marked down to as low as $320.)

Louis Ramirez of Dealnews contributed to this post.

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