The 10 Best Things to Buy in August — and 5 to Avoid

This post comes from partner site DealNews.com.

August is an excellent time to shop, thanks to its many tax-free days, back-to-school sales and events to close out the summer season. To help you out, we’ve put together a list of all the things you should look for this month — plus the items to get later.

10 great things to buy in August

From back-to-school supplies to early Labor Day bargains, here are the best things to buy in August.

Tax-free goods

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, computers and school or office supplies,, 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!

Free root beer on National Root Beer Float Day

National Root Beer Float Day happens on Aug. 6, and this food holiday is an awesome time to celebrate summer winding down. Watch the social media accounts of your favorite restaurants to see if they’ll be celebrating this sweet day, and how you can participate.

If you’re near an A&W location, definitely watch for them to offer a free root beer float that day — they usually do!

Summer clothing

August is one of those rare times when you can find seasonally appropriate clothing at noteworthy prices. There will be a ton of sitewide coupons offered at stores like Belk, Gap and Old Navy, and warm-weather necessities will easily fall below $20 or so. We expect women’s shorts to start at $4 and men’s shorts to start at $8. Dresses will be between $5 and $7 at their lowest, while men’s T-shirts will drop to $4 and women’s will fall to $5.

Shopping for swimwear? We expect women’s suits to hit $8. Men’s swim trunks may be more expensive, only dropping to around $21; however, you could save more if Macy’s offers a hefty discount. In 2018, it took 50% to 70% off men’s swimwear. For denim, men’s jeans will be super cheap at $15, but women can expect to pay roughly $10 more — we saw women’s jeans start at $28 last year.

Kids summer clothes will see serious savings, as well. Look for items to be as cheap as $2 each at stores like The Children’s Place. Shorts could hit a low of $7, dresses will fall to $5, and T-shirts could be as cheap as $8 each in bundled sets. Meanwhile, swim items will drop to $13, and jeans will be as low as $7 per pair.

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.

Watch for new Google Chromebooks to be as cheap as $140, while 15-inch entry-level machines could fall to under $400. And better 2-in-1 machines will be as low as $475. Look for Lenovo to host a variety of sales, taking as much as 33% off in some cases. And Dell will likely offer coupon codes that’ll provide notable discounts on a number of different models.

School supplies

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 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.

Patio furniture

It doesn’t always pay to shop out of season for seasonal items. August is traditionally a good month for buying patio furniture, and picking up products now means you can enjoy them while the weather’s still warm.

We expect to see better deals on things like deck chairs, hammocks, umbrellas, fire pits and tables, plus more deals overall. Last year, we saw chairs for as little as $10, hammocks for $7 and umbrellas for $18. Retailers like Walmart and eBay will have notable discounts on individual items, and Target, Amazon and Home Depot will take up to 40% off patio furniture as a whole during this time.

Outdoor toys

Outdoor toys are also good seasonal items to shop in August. The category can apply to a multitude of products, so we’ve narrowed the field down: Look for drones, trampolines, playhouses, backyard playsets, sandboxes, bubble machines and electric ride-on toys.

Amazon and Walmart both will have a fair amount of toy deals, but don’t overlook Target and Best Buy. Bubble machines will drop to as little as $10, sandboxes will be $100 or less, and water toys will range from $19 to $40 on the affordable end.

Early Labor Day sales

Labor Day falls on Sept. 2 in 2019, but you won’t have to wait that long to shop for deals. Last year, the first sales kicked off a full two weeks before the holiday in 2018, and this year we expect the same. That means we could see events as early as Aug. 19.

In 2018, The North Face, Home Depot and Fry’s Electronics were the first retailers to kick off the season with sales. Later that week, Overstock.com, Sam’s Club, Lenovo and REI launched their own events.

And while some of the discounts will be modest, that won’t be the case for all of them. The North Face might only knock off 25%, but Overstock.com will be one of the retailers boasting much bigger discounts. Last year, it took up to 70% off furniture, bedding, decor and outdoor items.

Free waffles on National Waffle Day

Want to snag deals on this tasty holiday? Then you’ll likely have to look more to local than national chains. For instance, don’t expect Waffle House to celebrate — in the past, it has used Aug. 24 as a day to promote Waffle Week, which falls during the first week of September. Still, it can’t hurt to check out the social media pages of your favorite restaurants to see if they’re celebrating!

In 2018, White Castle handed out free Belgian waffle sandwiches with any purchase. Meanwhile, Jamba Juice celebrated with $1 sweet Belgian waffles all day long.

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
  • 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
  • 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

Tech and electronic items lead the list of things not to buy in August:

The latest iPhone

You might think that back-to-school season is a good time to snag a deal on the latest iPhone, but that’s not the case. Apple will almost certainly hold another event in September, which is when it will introduce the latest iPhones. The prices on last year’s models will really drop once the new ones are announced and hit shelves.

And prices will likely drop even further around Black Friday. Even if they don’t, you can typically count on the phones being bundled with hefty gift cards.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10

Samsung’s next phablet will be the Galaxy Note 10. Based on invitations that have been sent out, it seems the device will be officially announced at an event on Aug. 7; it’s expected to be in stores by Aug. 23. As this will be a brand-new release, this is not the month to upgrade.

Fall clothes

Whether you’re seeking clothes for layering or toasty outerwear, know that fall apparel is going to be hitting the shelves in August. Sweaters and hoodies won’t be part of the sales this month, so if you need warmer apparel, don’t expect price drops on that until October at the earliest.

If you must buy cold-weather wear this month, look for sitewide coupons at department stores like JCPenney and Macy’s. These savings will help soften the blow of paying almost full price for jackets, sweaters, scarves and other items.

Major appliances

August isn’t the month to replace or upgrade your major appliances. Whether you’re eyeing a new refrigerator or a washer/dryer combo, you’ll find better prices if you can wait until Black Friday.

If you need to shop now, at least wait until Labor Day sales start to surface — just don’t expect them to be exceptional. For instance, last August, Home Depot only took up to 35% off one brand of major appliances. With such serious restrictions, you might not have much luck finding a good deal.

TVs

If you’re hoping to send your kid off to college with a new TV, you should know this isn’t the best month to shop for one. In August 2018, we listed plenty of deals — 158 total for TVs. However, only about 30% of those were good enough to earn our badge for the “best of the best.” Meanwhile, last November we listed even more deals, with 49% of those earning our Staff Pick designation.

You could find a great deal this August, but it might be on a refurbished model. If you’re searching for a brand-new TV and don’t want to spend more than you have to, hold off until Black Friday. You’ll definitely see better deals then.

Top 5 retailers for August 2019

Here are our favorite stores for shopping in the dog days of August:

Home Depot

The home improvement store will kick off its Labor Day sale early — around mid-August — and will discount a wide range of items. This will be an excellent opportunity for DIYers who want to shop deals for remodeling projects.

Reebok

Last year’s Reebok Friends & Family Sale was one of the best we saw from the brand. If it returns this year, we expect discounts of an extra 50% off outlet styles for the whole family, making it good for back-to-school shopping.

REI Outlet

Outdoor enthusiasts shouldn’t miss this REI Outlet event, where you can expect to shave at least 70% off apparel, shoes and outdoor gear. Discounted brands will include Columbia, Marmot, Mountain Hardwear, The North Face and Oakley.

Target

The bull’s-eye retailer will kick off its Labor Day sale toward the end of the month, about a week before the holiday itself. Expect savings of 30% on a variety of items, including indoor and outdoor furniture, home items and TVs. Additionally, Target will probably have a stacking discount to take an extra 15% off select products.

Walmart

The retailer will host its Back to College sale, though it probably won’t begin until mid-August. Still, it’ll be a great opportunity to snag discounted school supplies, furniture, decor and dorm-appropriate appliances like mini fridges. Even better, Walmart will kick off its own Labor Day sale later in the month, providing even more chances to save.

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