The Best and Worst Things to Buy in June

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Need a grill for summer? Buy it right now. Need tools? Wait a bit.

The following post comes from Lindsay Sakraida at partner site Deal News.

June is the month with the longest daylight hours of the year, which means one thing: more time to shop! But what should you buy now and what should you avoid? Here’s a list…

Make do with last year’s sandals

For most areas of the country, the summer months are the only time to let your toes breathe. So you’re unlikely to find any great discounts at the onset of the season. Although cheap flip flops and slip-ons are popular in promotional sales from the likes of Old Navy, you’ll largely have to wait until at least mid to late July before seeing clearance-level deals on the informal footwear.

Cruises and vacations to the Caribbean…during hurricane season

June is the beginning of the hurricane season in the Caribbean, which lasts through November. Because of the risk of tempestuous weather, prices on cruises and vacations to these regions are considerably less than during other seasons. We’ve already seen a plethora of above-average deals on non-hurricane season cruises this year due to the public relations disaster that was the cruise industry in the first few months of 2012. It remains to be seen if “hurricane” packages will offer even steeper discounts. Either way, if you’re willing to run the risk of a rainy tropical getaway, the Caribbean will certainly offer more bang for your buck than Europe, which has been seeing exorbitant prices as of late.

Book a staycation instead of jumping the pond

Speaking of travel deals, you might want to avoid booking a trip abroad, as the cost of flying is on the rise. According to USA Today, international airfare this summer will cost on average about 20 percent more than it did in 2010. This is essentially due to rising fuel costs. Moreover, many airlines are cutting down on the sheer volume of the flights they offer, creating greater demand for fewer seats.

Ladies love cool lingerie

It’s usually this month that Victoria’s Secret unveils its famed Semi-Annual Sale, and last year we saw prices as low as $3 for panties and $12 for bras. Moreover, we saw excellent markdowns in June from aerie by American Eagle, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Macy’s, Soma Intimates, and Figleaves. That said, while summer deals entailed steep discounts last year, they paled in comparison to the October to December stretch, which saw more Editors’ Choice offers from many of these same vendors.

Consider putting off tool purchases until July, or later

You may feel compelled to buy dear old Dad a new tool set for Father’s Day later this month. But in fact, July (along with November and December) offers the highest number of Editors’ Choice tool deals. That means, if you want to pay close to the best (if not the best) price of the year, skip June and splurge in July. (But remember to at least get your Pops a card!)

Fire it up! It’s almost time to buy a new grill

Last year, we saw a slight uptick in Editors’ Choice grill deals during the month of June, which means we will likely start seeing respectable cuts on grills in the coming weeks. However, as is the case with any seasonal item, you will absolutely start seeing incrementally steeper cuts on comparable models (if not the model of your choice itself) as the season progresses. So purchasing your grill becomes a matter of deciding upon need. If you want a full season of use out of it, then June is the first month of the summer in which we see a notable decline in prices. Otherwise, wait for late-season sales instead.

Experience the majesty of our national parks on Uncle Sam’s dime

While there are everyday ways to make a trip to a national park exceedingly affordable, there are a handful of days each year in which more than 100 national parks offer free admittance. June 9 is one such occasion, as it celebrates Get Outdoors Day, an event that encourages “healthy, active outdoor fun.” Notable natural wonders like Yosemite and Yellowstone will be gratis on this day.

Don’t expect cheaper cotton to yield better prices

While the cotton industry is likely invigorated by reports that cotton prices are at a two-year low, consumers are unlikely to see a difference on price tags at the store. While fluctuations in food costs have a demonstrable effect on prices at the supermarket, apparel retailers have a larger profit margin to work with, and that allows them to absorb raw material cost increases.

Many retailers thus have been absorbing the additional costs, while others adjusted the prices slightly but not enough to actually cover the total increased costs. Others still found workarounds, like using less of the material. Either way, dropping cotton prices will have little effect on the prices that consumers see in-store.

Keep an eye out for refurbished or used tablets

Tablets continue to shine in the tech spotlight, and if you’re looking to get in on the still-strong trend, consider shopping for a second-hand option. The majority of the top-shelf iPad and tablet deals we’ve seen recently have been on refurbished or used models.

Last month saw Apple again cut prices on refurbished iPad 2 models, slashing its starting price to $319. Meanwhile, we saw all-time-low prices on used and refurbished Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, and BlackBerry PlayBook models over just the past month. A word to the wise, though: Pay close attention to the warranty information for used and refurbished iPad and tablet deals; a one-year warranty is ideal.

46-inch HDTVs hit new lows

June isn’t a big month for HDTV deals, but if you’re in need of a new set, we recommend looking at name-brand 46- and 47-inch LCD HDTVs. For the past two months, name-brand 46-inch LCD HDTV deals have remained at an all-time low of $490. By comparison, they bottomed out at $598 and $549 during the months of November and December of 2011, respectively. (Those months are traditionally the best months for HDTV sales.) Look for models from Sharp or Toshiba priced at $490 or lower.

Ivy Bridge debuts, desktop replacement prices continue to drop

June has the potential to be a great month for bargain laptop shoppers. On the one hand you have Sandy Bridge Core i7 quad-core desktop replacements, which have reached new price lows since the start of the year. We expect price tags on these laptops to drop even further, especially as we begin seeing new Ivy Bridge-based systems enter the market.

These Ivy Bridge laptops, which are packing Intel’s latest CPUs, are pushing the price of Sandy Bridge systems even lower. Best of all, since their debut on April 30, 16-inch Ivy Bridge-based laptops have also dropped 23 percent in price (falling from $1,010 to $770 in a span of weeks). These new systems are also boasting 8 GB of RAM, dedicated 1 GB video cards, 1TB hard drives, and in some instances built-in Blu-ray players. A 16-inch system with the above specs went for $770 in mid-May and we expect that price to repeat itself in June as manufacturers attempt to gain consumers’ attention.

Bottom line: If you’re looking to purchase a Windows laptop that will last you the next few years, now’s the perfect time. On the Sandy Bridge front, look for deals at $712 or below (that’s been the average for 2012 so far). On the Ivy Bridge front you’ll find plenty of deals, but $770 is the all-time low for a 16-inch system as of mid-May.

Stacy Johnson

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