The 12 Best Things to Buy in August — and 6 to Avoid

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August is a big month for many people — it marks the beginning of the end of summer, as well as a new school year.

Because of that, it may not seem like a good time for shopping anything other than pencils, notebooks, and backpacks. But August is much more than Back to School sales. It brings potential chocolate chip cookie freebies, tax-free shopping, deals on garden tools, and much more.

Check out our guide on what to buy in August, as well as the items you’re better off purchasing later in the year. Curious about the best time to buy those products? Read up on what to buy every month of the year!

Top August Offers You Should Shop

Ibotta: Get cash back on necessities during the Back to School Essentials event at Ibotta. Save on a variety of items, including:

  • Snacks
  • Multivitamins
  • Notebooks

More items are part of the big event, so check out the site for more details and the specific brands available. The event runs through August 31, meaning you have plenty of time to take advantage of all the savings!

Lenny & Larry’s: This protein cookie brand is celebrating National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day by offering 25% off select flavors, including The Complete Cookie in Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, and White Chocolaty Macadamia; the Keto Cookie in Chocolate Chip; The Complete Crunchy Cookie in Chocolate Chip and Double Chocolate; and The BOSS! Cookie in Chocolate Chunk and Triple Chocolate Chunk.

The discount should apply automatically in cart, but if not, you can use coupon code “CHOCOCHIPDAY25” to ensure you get the sale price. This offer is valid August 3-5.

T-Mobile: This carrier is offering at least 10 free 5G smartphones as part of its selection of Back to School deals. Other offers include the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 or SyncUP KIDS Watch for free when you add a line to your plan. Check out all the available promotions on this T-Mobile page.

The 12 Best Things to Buy in August

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day Deals

People may like their chocolate chip cookies crispy and chewy or fluffy and caky, but either way, almost everyone loves a good cookie. And National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day offers a chance to indulge.

Retailers and restaurants are happy to celebrate this August 4 food holiday with freebies — or at least delicious deals!

Last year we saw offers from Lenny & Larry’s for 25% off any variety with chocolate chips in it, while Foodstirs featured a “buy one, get one 50% off” promotion on chocolate chip cookie mixes and bundles.

And for those who wanted fresh-baked goodness, Insomnia offered a free Chocolate Chunk cookie with each delivery order. Jacques Torres Chocolate, on the other hand, hosted a “buy one, get one half off” promotion on all chocolate chip items in-store and online for the sweet holiday.

Back to School Supplies

Inflation has touched basically every product category, and school supplies aren’t immune. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, 84% of shoppers expect to see higher prices during this Back to School season.

While that may seem discouraging, you can still expect plenty of savings on these items, especially on basic, standard school supplies without flashy designs.

Back to School sales are well underway this year, so we’ve already seen school supplies starting at only 25 cents from stores like Target.

Deals during this time don’t just apply to crayons, notebooks, and folders, though; and “up to 40% off” might be the magic discount we see again this year. In August 2021, we saw Staples offer this discount on office chairs, while eBay knocked that much off “back to college” dorm essentials, and Amazon discounted hardcover planners by the same amount, as well.

We could also see up to 70% off supplies in general at Staples, plus Target may knock up to 85% off school supplies overall in August.

Tax-Free Items

A select number of states host tax-free holidays every summer, with most taking place over a weekend. These events offer prime opportunities to buy items like clothing and school supplies without having to pay sales tax.

Spending limits are typical on eligible items. For example, some states offer tax-free purchases on clothing as long as each item is under $100. The exemptions vary state by state, though, so check out what kind of event yours is holding!

Summer Clothing

As mentioned above, August signals the beginning of the end of summer, which you may find disappointing. But the good news is that it also brings excellent savings on summer clothing.

Expect a ton of clothing sales in August, but watch for especially great offers like an extra 20% off $25 at eBay, or up to 75% off at Allen Edmonds during its Last Call for Summer Sale. The latter event could be paired with additional discounts, like an extra 30% off and free shipping on orders of $100.

Count on casual clothes seeing really significant discounts. For instance, last year 32 Degrees had an athleisure sale with prices starting at only $9, Nike took up to 50% off plus an extra 20% off, and Adidas knocked an extra 33% off and provided free shipping.

Interested in designer goods? Watch for Coach Outlet to boast discounts of up to 70% off, as well as an extra 20% off and free shipping on $50.

Laptops

As August is big for Back to School promotions, it should come as no surprise that laptops fit neatly into those.

Last year we saw plenty of great prices on machines for every budget, with about 14% of them being good enough to earn our Staff Pick designation, reserved for our “best of the best” offers.

We expect more of the same this year, especially with the Back to School season seeming longer than usual.

In 2021, we saw refurbished and used laptops starting around $100, so if you aren’t needing brand-new tech, refurbs and used machines be a budget-friendly way to go again in 2022. But even if you do want a shiny new machine, you can still expect to find Chromebooks for as little as $119, and basic laptops could start at just $209.

Check a variety of stores for the best August deals, including eBay, Lenovo, Staples, and of course, Best Buy.

Patio Furniture

The winding down of summer means we should begin seeing quality discounts on patio furniture.

Last year, we saw individual items start as low as $40, while sales at Macy’s took at least 50% off and Kohl’s knocked up to 80% off. Look at home improvement retailers, too. Last year, Home Depot took up to $150 off select pieces during its own patio furniture event.

Garden Tools

While shopping for new patio furniture, you may want to check out the discounts on garden tools.

Look for lawn and garden sprayers to be as little as $12, and for garden irrigation systems to go for only $14 at Amazon. Keep an eye out for great deals on axial blowers, too. Last year, our Staff Pick offers included one of these items from Greenworks for only $18.

Retailers should also be holding August sales on plenty of outdoor items. Look for eBay to cut up to 40% off leaf blowers, trimmers, pressure washers, and other tools; plus you could get up to 50% off products from the Worx Outlet on eBay. Home Depot, meanwhile, could take up to $50 off outdoor power tools.

Luggage

Luggage being one of the best buys of August may come as a surprise. After all, with summer ending, so are many vacation opportunities. But that might be precisely why we see a decent number of deals on different kinds of luggage.

These offers may be especially useful if you’re sending a kid off to college and they need something to carry all their belongings in.

Last year, nearly 30% of the luggage deals we saw were good enough to be Staff Pick offers.

We saw duffel bags and carry-ons for as little as $16 each at Lands’ End and IKEA, for example, but plenty of other stores hosted promotions, as well. For instance, Victoria’s Secret had a BOGO free offer on backpacks, while outdoor retailers like The House knocked up to 52% off backpacks suitable for hiking and more rugged activities. And Lands’ End took up to 60% off a variety of bags, while Macy’s knocked at least 50% off select pieces of luggage.

Air Conditioners

For much of the country, August brings uncomfortably hot temperatures, and some people may be looking for new air conditioners to feel better.

Expect portable air conditioners or personal air coolers to go for $15 or $25, respectively, but look for window units that are on sale, as well.

Last year, we saw 5,000 BTU models for as little as $140 at Ace Hardware. However, online retailers like eBay could offer up to 50% off certified refurbished fans and other cooling items. The same retailer could also take up to 50% off new heaters and air conditioners in another sale, as well as an extra 20% off via a coupon code.

Early Labor Day Sales

Early Labor Day sales will likely start popping up around mid-August and will definitely be worth checking out.

The first one we saw last year kicked off on August 18 and was from Lowe’s, but other stores started their sales on August 19, and then more sales rolled out in the lead-up to the holiday itself.

Expect the big items in these sales to be clothing, major appliances, and mattresses, plus grills and patio furniture should feature prominently, as well.

Watch for home decor items to see discounts as large as 80% off, mattresses to be up to $800 off, and major appliances to be up to 35% off.

Perennial Plants

Perennials are plants that live longer than two years, and grow and bloom during the warmer spring and summer months. They do die back when it cools down in the fall and winter, but they return when temperatures warm up.

Nurseries often try to sell off perennial stock in August because of the blooming cycle, so if you have room to plant them, you certainly can do so now, so that they have time to take root before temperatures begin to cool.

This is dependent on your area, obviously; check what zone you’re in, and ensure you’re only planting items that can thrive where you’re at.

In-Season Produce

While summer might be starting to wind down, that doesn’t mean fresh produce is off the table.

You should be able to find better prices on several fruits in August, including apples, apricots, blueberries, cantaloupe, figs, kiwi, mangoes, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon.

As for tasty veggies to round out the last few backyard barbecues, consider picking up acorn squash, butternut squash, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, kohlrabi, lettuce, okra, peppers, summer squash, Swiss chard, winter squash, and zucchini.

Prefer to shop local? Check out the Seasonal Food Guide 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.

6 Things NOT to Buy in August

Major Appliances

Buy: In September

Why: Labor Day sales are going to be an excellent time to shop for these items at 35% to 40% off. There’s a chance the early events in August will have some deals, but you’re more likely to find them next month.

Mattresses

Buy: In September

Why: Mattresses are another big Labor Day purchase, so check out early Labor Day sales during August, but be prepared to wait until September to shop just in case.

Latest iPhones

Buy: In September, October or November

Why: Apple will probably host another big iPhone event in September and announce the latest iterations then. If you want a previous-generation iPhone, know that they tend to drop in price around that time, but if you want the latest iPhones, you’re going to be better off waiting until Black Friday for discounts.

Fall Clothing

Buy: In November

Why: Seasonal items are cheapest when the season starts to wind down, so don’t expect to see big discounts on fall essentials like sweaters and boots until then.

Big-Brand Android Phones

Buy: In November

Why: Big-name Android companies like Samsung and Google tend to announce and release their latest models by October, so we likely won’t see discounts on them until Black Friday.

TVs

Buy: In November

Why: Black Friday has some of the best deals of the year when it comes to TVs and other electronics. If you want a new set, it’s best to hold off until then.

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