The 7 Best Things to Shop in August — and 5 to Avoid

This story comes from partner site DealNews.com.

August is known for back-to-school shopping, but it’s also a great opportunity to shop other items besides notebooks and pencils.

With tax-free days, end-of-season discounts and early Labor Day sales, this month gives you plenty of chances to find an excellent deal.

Check out our August buying guide below, and learn what to buy and what to avoid during the last month of summer fun for 2020.

The 7 best things to buy in August

1. Back-to-school gear

Students, parents of students, office workers and stationery lovers alike can — and should — take advantage of the office-supply deals that pop up this month.

Thanks to back-to-school season, we’ll see plenty of items’ prices drop so low they’ll cost less than a buck. At those prices, how can you not stock up?

A ton of discounts will come from Target and Walmart, plus stores like Staples and Office Depot and OfficeMax. Expect to find cheap markers, pencils, scissors, notebooks, highlighters and tissues.

Wondering about shopping for school supplies in stores this year? The good news is that many retailers will offer their deals online as well as in stores, just like they do every year.

If you don’t feel comfortable shopping in stores, you should be able to shop online. Be careful when shopping, though, as some deals may be better if you opt for in-store pickup.

2. Tax-free items

While a few states host tax holidays at the end of July, most of these shopping events occur in August. Whether you have kids or not, these tax-free weekends — or weeks — are a great opportunity to stock up on clothing, school or office supplies, and computers, all while skipping the sales tax.

However, you’ll still want to do research and weigh your options — just because something is tax-free doesn’t mean it’s the best deal.

3. Summer clothing (maybe)

Ordinarily, August is a great time to find discounted clothing that’s seasonally appropriate. It’s not unusual to see discounts as high as 70% or 75% at a variety of stores during August sale events. However, 2020 has been a strange year, and some retailers are changing how to proceed with end-of-season sales this month.

For instance, The Gap is holding onto clothing, with plans to sell it next year instead of deeply discounting it now. A number of other clothing retailers have filed for bankruptcy, including Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, J. Crew and True Religion.

So, what does that mean for summer clothing on sale in 2020? We’re still expecting sales, with discounts up to 75% off. For example, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is set to start on Aug. 19 for the public — and even earlier for the retailer’s cardholders. However, we might see fewer summer clothing sales overall.

If last year’s trend does return, we expect to find shorts for women as low as $4, and men’s shorts for as little as $6. Dresses will likely start at $10, while men’s T-shirts will fall to $4 and women’s graphic T-shirts will be as cheap as $6.

Searching for new swimwear? Look for prices to be as low as $11, and for stores like Macy’s to cut at least 70% off select men’s swimwear from big brands like Nike.

Shopping for new denim? Men’s jeans could have prices as low as $11, and we could even see a two-pack of women’s jeans for only $17.

Whether you’re sending your kids off to traditional school or relying on at-home teaching, August is a good time to hunt for new kids’ clothes.

We could see basics like T-shirts for as cheap as $2 each, leggings for $5 and pants for $10. Look for children’s clothing retailers like The Children’s Place to offer up to 60% off, while Walmart could discount kids’ clothing up to 75%, and Amazon could knock up to 30% off school uniforms.

4. Laptops

We still recommend waiting until Black Friday to shop for laptops, as that’s when we see the absolute best offers. However, if you just can’t wait that long, the abundant back-to-school sales in August are a decent time to snag deals.

Currently, shoppers can take advantage of Apple’s back-to-school promotion, which offers free AirPods with qualifying purchases of a Mac or iPad. Customers can even upgrade to AirPods Pro for an additional cost with this offer.

If you’d prefer a PC over an Apple machine, expect basic builds from brands like Dell to be as cheap as $127, while Samsung Chromebooks could go for around $129. Look for 15-inch laptops from Lenovo to fall below $300, and two-in-one builds from the brand could be as cheap as $230; more-robust two-in-one’s will likely start around $400.

Shopping the sales? Count on Dell knocking up to 40% off and Lenovo cutting up to 75% off during their events.

5. Patio furniture

Even if you aren’t hosting a backyard barbecue this summer, that doesn’t mean you have to neglect that space. August tends to be a good month to buy new patio furniture, and you still have plenty of time to enjoy the warm weather before the temperature drops.

Expect Amazon to cut up to 25% off its own AmazonBasics brand of outdoor items, but Walmart will also discount a ton of patio furniture items during a seasonal sale.

Watch for individual items to hit noteworthy prices as well. Last year, we saw portable hammocks for around $30, while Adirondack chairs went for as little as $33, and umbrellas dropped to $17.

6. Early Labor Day sales

Labor Day is Sept. 7, but we expect sales to start long before then.

Last year, the first Labor Day sale we saw popped up on Aug. 20, and Labor Day itself fell on Sept. 2. This year, we expect to see the first sales no later than two weeks before the holiday, which should be around Aug. 24.

Overstock.com hosted the first Labor Day sale we saw in 2019, but Home Depot, REI, Sam’s Club and Columbia kicked off their sales within the next few days. More stores followed suit the next week — including HP, Walmart, The North Face, Lowe’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods, among others.

Some of these early sales might have modest discounts, but that won’t be the case for all of them.

The North Face might only knock off 25% again, but Overstock.com should be one of the retailers boasting much bigger discounts, taking up to 70% off furniture, bedding, decor and outdoor items, as it’s done the past two years.

7. In-season fruits and veggies

Fresh, seasonal produce will still be at its prime this month.

Enjoy better prices on sweet fruits, including apples, apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, figs, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon.

As for veggies, this is an ideal month to buy acorn squash, butternut squash, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, okra, peppers, summer squash, Swiss chard, winter squash and zucchini.

And if you want to shop local, check out this site to find the produce that’s in season near you. You can choose your state and search by early- or late-month time frames, or by a particular type of produce.

5 things not to buy in August

  • Latest iPhone: Apple usually drops prices on older models when new iPhones are released each September. Prices will also drop more around Black Friday.
  • Samsung Galaxy Note20: The Galaxy Note20 has an expected launch date of Aug. 5, so prices will be at a premium this month. Hold off until at least Black Friday, and even longer if you can.
  • Fall clothes: Fall clothes will just be hitting the shelves in August, so don’t expect any deals on them. We could see early discounts in October, but Black Friday will carry some of the best clothing deals.
  • Major appliances: While Labor Day sales will include some appliance deals, we’ll see better discounts and more brands on sale when Black Friday rolls around.
  • TVs: We’ll see way more deals on TVs around Black Friday, with significantly better discounts, too. If you can, wait until then to buy a new TV.

More from DealNews:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45

These clever Amazon finds can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

12 Ways Retirees Can Earn Passive Income
12 Ways Retirees Can Earn Passive Income

These simple ways of earning income without a lot of active, ongoing effort can stretch your retirement dollars.

5 Reasons You Should Retire Sooner, Not Later
5 Reasons You Should Retire Sooner, Not Later

Waiting until age 70 to retire isn’t for everyone. Could you be waiting too long?

6 Reasons Hiding Cash at Home Is a Terrible Idea
6 Reasons Hiding Cash at Home Is a Terrible Idea

Stashing cash around the house is anything but harmless.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021
7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021

Recently, both Social Security and Medicare made some major announcements about benefits for 2021.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk
Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends exiting these stores within 30 minutes.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement
7 Reasons to Carry Mortgage Debt Into Retirement

It often makes financial sense to not pay off your mortgage before retiring.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.