This post comes from Louis Ramirez at partner site DealNews.com.
Summer is officially in full swing. Though you may think the hot summer months translate into fewer deals, quite the opposite is true. In addition to 4th of July sales, this month is also ripe with back-to-school bargains, many of which will provide deep discounts on apparel and tech. Plus, food lovers will be able to score a multitude of freebies this month as we celebrate a variety of food-related holidays from national cheesecake day to national ice cream day.
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Macy’s, Backcountry and Nautica will kick off 4th of July sales
Independence Day is the summer’s rock star holiday, triggering sales on a variety of items from sporting gear to apparel. And while technically the 4th of July is a one-day event, the accompanying sales traditionally last through the first two weeks of July. In terms of discounts, last year Macy’s took 50 percent off a wide selection of items with an extra 15 to 20 percent off popular categories like swimwear, suits and watches. It was the best 4th of July sale the retailer has had in the past three years.
Another 4th of July veteran, Backcountry, also took 50 percent off hoodies and sporting apparel, whereas Nautica and The Children’s Place each took 40 percent and 70 percent off select apparel, respectively.
Back-to-school sales take off in July
The coming weeks will be flush with laptop deals, and while you may see some tempting deals this month, keep in mind that our data shows that for the past two summers, prices typically drop an extra 8 to 25 percent in August and early September. These price drops generally apply to mainstream machines, 15-inch laptops with Intel’s current processor and a minimum 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard drive.
If you’re not up to date on the latest laptop tech, don’t worry. This year’s Intel processor (called Broadwell) doesn’t offer much of a speed increase over last year’s CPU (called Haswell). Moreover, the price difference between them has been slowly diminishing. In fact, last month we saw a 15-inch Broadwell laptop sell for just $20 more than a similarly-configured 15-inch Haswell machine. As a result, we recommend the newer processor, but don’t be distraught if you buy Haswell, because both machines are very capable of handling all of today’s programs.
Score free food all month long
July has a multitude of obscure food holidays, including national fried chicken day (July 6), national pecan pie day (July 12), national ice cream day (July 20), and national cheesecake day (July 30), to name a few. That means you can expect big chains to offer freebies or aggressive discounts on their designated days. For instance, last year The Cheesecake Factory took 50 percent off one slice of cheesecake, whereas Baskin-Robbins offered a BOGO sale on its ice cream cones. You can expect to see similar freebie deals from various food chains throughout the month.
Hit the beach in style with sitewide swimwear deals
Although we typically advise against buying clothes that are in-season, July tends to be one of the best months for swimwear deals. Last year we saw a wide assortment of sitewide swimwear deals from Frederick’s of Hollywood, L.L. Bean, H&M and 6pm. You can expect discounts to range from 25 to 80 percent off and see starting prices as low as $5 for children’s swimwear and $9 for men’s and women’s swimwear.
Book that trip to Europe
Thanks to a strong dollar and a weak European economy, there’s no longer a reason to postpone that summer vacation to Europe. A recent study by travel site TripAdvisor reveals that the cost of a one-week summer trip to Europe has declined by an average of 11 percent. Among the cheapest cities to visit are Istanbul (25 percent price drop), Stockholm (23 percent price drop) and Copenhagen (20 percent price drop). Check out our travel page to stay abreast of the latest cheap European vacation packages.
Or at the very least, take an extended holiday
Don’t have the time for an extended trip to Europe? Not to worry, our travel data shows that Philadelphia is one of 2015’s most budget-friendly cities for a last-minute 4th of July vacation. Even if you can’t travel on Independence Day, our research shows that prices will fall the weekend after July 4, with hotel prices in destinations as diverse as Myrtle Beach and New York City dropping by around 10 to 20 percent.
Take advantage of the cheapest air conditioner deals of the summer
If you’re going to buy an air conditioner this summer, do it in July. On average, air conditioner deals we saw last July were 16 percent cheaper than deals we saw in June, and 14 percent cheaper than deals we saw in August. To avoid expensive electricity bills, check out our guide to purchasing the right air conditioner based on your living space. Last year Newegg and Wal-Mart offered the cheapest deals.
Pass on the TV deals, but keep an eye on 32-inch and 55-inch sets
HDTVs remain a don’t-buy item for the month of July. Deals on HDTVs are scarce during the summer, and this month will be no exception. Nevertheless, we understand sometimes you simply can’t wait for the right deal to come along. If you happen to fall into that camp, we recommend opting for a name-brand 55-inch HDTV. Deals on these sets have plateaued at $500 and are fairly easy to find from retailers such as Best Buy, Amazon and Micro Center. Dell has also been a solid provider of cheap TV deals, and they’ll often bundle a generous gift card to sweeten your TV purchase.
Outside of 55-inch sets, consumers should be on the lookout for 32-inch 1080p HDTVs. Small enough to fit in the tightest of dorm rooms, deals on these sets typically ramp up during the summer months. Although traditionally September offers better deals on these TVs, if you can’t wait that long, look for deals this month that cost $160 or less.