The 10 Best and Worst Things to Buy in August

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Back-to-school sales, end-of-summer clearance events and tax-free weekends make August a great time to shop. We’ve put together a list of the discounts you should definitely seek out this month — as well as the purchases you should skip.

Tax-free goods

Tax-free weekends began in July, but most states host theirs in the first couple weeks of August. On these dates, you can (legally) dodge the sales tax on items like laptops, school supplies and clothing. You should still compare these reduced prices to those online, though — especially if you’re buying something pricey like a laptop!

Summer apparel

Whether you’re shopping for low-cost threads for the kids, or stocking up on summer shorts for next year, you can expect huge price drops on summer apparel in August. Expect to see Editors’ Choice sales at The Children’s Place, Gap, Hanes and Kohl’s — many of which hosted best-of-the-year sales last August. You’ll also be able to shop clearance apparel at stores like Walmart and JCPenney, where shorts should start at $2, T-shirts from $4 and sleepwear for as little as $3 apiece.


Sandals, sneakers and stilettos all will see big price drops this month. Start your search for quality leather shoes at Clarks, and then shop sneakers at Famous Footwear and DSW, as these stores flaunt the best discounts of the season. You can expect to shop PUMA adult sneakers for just $25, while Adidas kicks could start at around $24 at stores like Tillys.

Those shopping for budget-friendly shoes should check Academy Sports & Outdoors and Charlotte Russe for $3 sandals. Know that you won’t see this many top shoe deals again until November, when Black Friday season comes around.


If you can’t hold out for Black Friday (when laptop deals are at their best), August’s back-to-school sales will provide you with the next best opportunity to shop.

Between July and August of last year, we saw up to an 11 percent drop in prices on select builds at Dell and Lenovo. You can expect to see entry-level 11.6-inch laptops priced from just $130, while 15.6-inch models should go from $280 in sales like B&H Photo Video‘s daily deal.

School supplies

Whether you’re a student, office manager or just a stationary lover, you should take advantage of the office supply deals this August. We’ll likely see more offers in this category in August than in any other month of the year.

Stock up on markers, scissors and pencil cases for less than a buck, thanks to back-to-school sales at Walmart and Target. You can also take advantage of Staples‘ and Office Depot and OfficeMax‘s discounts on Sharpies, notebooks and tissues.

Patio furniture

You don’t always get the best prices with out-of-season shopping, and that holds true for patio furniture deals. Outside of May, this month is the best time of year to shop deck chairs, patio tables and hammocks. Last August, stores like Home Depot and Walmart offered twice as many Editors’ Choice patio deals as in July. Last year, we saw fire pits selling as low as $56, patio umbrellas for around $20 and three-piece patio sets for under $70.


September is when many vineyards harvest their grapes, and there’s anecdotal evidence that they try to clear out old inventory to make space for that upcoming harvest. This results in cheaper wine! A good place to start is eBay, which knocked 20 percent off bottles over $25 last year. Otherwise, look for bundle deals at the likes of, which will likely offer a cost-cutting coupon or seasonal sale.

Early Labor Day sales

Labor Day doesn’t happen until Sept. 3 this year. In 2017, however, we listed nearly 100 Labor Day sales over the last two weeks of August. Expect to shop some of the best sitewide offers of the year at Kohl’s, Home Depot and Dick’s Sporting Goods, with many outlets hosting their last big sales before the Black Friday season.

Secondhand stuff

National Garage Sale Day falls on Aug. 11, so bargain hunters should keep their eyes peeled for secondhand swag. It’s also a great time to consider selling your own unwanted tools, furniture and knickknacks. That way, you can make more room for all those bargains from Labor Day sales.

Free root beer and waffles

If you’re more interested in satisfying your stomach than nabbing an old lamp, mark your calendar for National Root Beer Float Day and National Waffle Day. In celebration of these sweet events, lots of restaurants will dole out freebies or discounts. A&W traditionally offers a free root beer float to customers on Aug. 6. And come Aug. 24, check with your favorite waffle establishment to see if it’s offering any deals or coupons.

That’s wraps up our rundown of the best buys of the month.

Next: 4 things NOT to Buy in August …


If you can get one more month out of your grill, hold out until September. That’s when Labor Day sales and out-of-season savings should lead to a massive increase in the number of Editors’ Choice-worthy grill and smoker deals. You can expect to shop charcoal grills from just $44, while four-burner gas units could start as low as $87.


August isn’t necessarily a bad month for TV deals — back-to-school sales can drop prices on dorm-friendly models. But if you’re thinking of dropping hundreds of dollars on a pricey TV upgrade, hold out until the Black Friday doorbusters hit your inbox.

Do you have to make a TV purchase this month for your college-bound kid? Then shop Walmart for your basic 32-inch or 40-inch 1080p units, where they should be as low as $120 and $200, respectively.

Apple iPhones and iPads

Apple will likely announce its next generation of gadgets this September, which makes August a poor time to upgrade your iPhone or iPad. Any Apple mobile device on sale today — regardless of its current price — should be significantly cheaper in the weeks to come.

Fall apparel

While summer-friendly shorts and dresses reach all-time lows in August, new lines of sweaters and jackets won’t see major discounts until October. If your student needs cool-weather essentials, the best way to save on new arrivals is to make use of sitewide coupon offers at Macy’s and JCPenney.

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