The Best and Worst Things to Buy in August 2017

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It may be the dog days of summer, but shopping for the fall begins perking up in August. Here are some of the deals you can expect — as well as some of the items you should not buy quite yet.

Tax-free deals

Sixteen states will offer sales tax holidays in August. And of those, most fall between Aug. 4 and 6. On each state’s designated days, shoppers will be able to purchase select products such as computers, back-to-school supplies and clothing without incurring any sales tax.

Don’t forget, you should still compare prices with online options, especially if you’re buying something big like a computer.

Summer apparel

Depending on where you are, you may still have months left of warm weather. And you can always buy some new, super affordable threads and put them away for next year.

Either way, it means you can take advantage of August’s summer clothing clearance sales to stock up on some last-minute summer gear. Expect to see summer sales from the likes of Michael Kors, 6pm, Nordstrom Rack and Dick’s Sporting Goods, all of which discounted select items by at least 60 percent last year. So consider stocking up, and if you’re buying for kids, don’t forget to buy some larger sizes to accommodate growth spurts.


August will provide more deals than July, and more Editors’ Choice deals than September. This is especially true for kids shoes, which saw twice as many deals last year in August than in September. Some best bets included Converse sneakers from $25, L.L.Bean women’s canvas sneakers from $14, ASICS running shoes from $27 and Polo Women’s Etain Calfskin Espadrilles for $200.

Back-to-school laptops

Our data have shown that in past summers, laptop prices typically drop an extra 8 percent to 25 percent in August and early September. And last year, August had 24 percent more computer deals than September! We’ve seen aggressive discounts from stores like Adorama, Dell Home, Lenovo and the Microsoft Store, on laptops from Dell, HP, Lenovo and Asus. Look to save up to $150 on mainstream 15-inch PCs, with prices in the $350 range.

Office and school supplies

Office supply stores slash prices for one of their biggest events of the year, so everyone can take advantage of reams of paper, notebooks, pens and pencils, tissues and paper towels often going for literally cents. (We’ve even seen reams of paper for free after rebate, and Kleenex for 37 cents.) And remember, you don’t have to be a student (or have one) to shop back-to-school sales.

If you are shopping for your student, we found that Target offered the best deals on supplies, based on sample school shopping lists for grades K through 8. They were followed closely by Walmart. Amazon didn’t have the best prices, unless you’re buying in bulk, which might be great for big families or those who want to pool purchases with other families.

Patio furniture

While it may seem odd to upgrade your patio furniture so far into the summer, August is actually a great month for buying new outdoor furniture: Last year, there were over twice as many patio furniture deals in August than September. And any furniture you buy today you’ll still be able to use throughout August and most of September, when the heat and humidity begin to ease.

Last August we saw major clearance sales from Target, Walmart and Sears, with discounts that ranged from 40 percent to 68 percent off. Look for full outdoor dining sets from $180.


This might not be surprising, but swimwear deals really drop off a cliff come the fall. Grab end-of-season deals on bathing suits from as little as $2 before they disappear almost completely in September.

National Park Service senior passes

Since 1994, U.S. citizens and permanent residents over the age of 62 have been able to buy the America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Senior Pass for the low, low price of $10. This pass covers fees at over 2,000 national parks and other federally managed lands for life. (For comparison, a normal annual pass costs $80.)

But this gravy train is coming to an end, seniors! Due to new legislation, that price is going up to $80 on Aug. 28. You can still get a pass before then for the current price in person at a federally managed site, or by mail or online for an additional $10 processing fee. The National Park Service is expecting high demand for this bargain, and warns that there might be delays of “up to several months” when ordering by mail or online.

Air conditioners

If you need some relief from the last brutal heat waves of the season, now is a great time to get a new air conditioner. We see five times as many deals on these items in August than in September, with prices dropping by almost half. Last year, one of the best deals we saw was a Haier 6,050-BTU Window Air Conditioner for $155 — that’s $125 off.

Those are our picks for best deals in the coming month. Read on for our suggestions on things not to buy until later.

3 things you should wait to buy …


Though we know you want to take advantage of the last weeks of grilling season, prices on both gas and charcoal grills (not to mention smokers) will drop significantly in September. While grill discounts bring prices to the mid-$100s in August, they can be had for $75 next month.


August is actually not a bad month for TV deals — it has more discounts and more Editors’ Choice deals than any other summer month, and is followed by a steep drop in deals in September. However, if you can believe it, we’re already looking ahead to Black Friday! If you’re going to drop hundreds of dollars on a major purchase, it might be worth waiting less than four more months for truly great deals.

However, we realize that sometimes things break unexpectedly or perhaps you have a student heading off to college. If the former, look for name-brand 55-inch or larger TVs priced at or around $450. You can save an extra $100 if you opt for an off-tier brand. For college students, late August and September tend to see a rise in deals for 32-inch 1080p set for around $150, or even a 720p set for $110.

iPhones and iPads

This month, retailers will try everything to get you to upgrade your iPhone or iPad. However, August is a bad time to do so, since Apple traditionally unveils new iPhones and iPads in September and October, respectively. That means any Apple handheld you buy today, regardless of its current price, will be significantly cheaper in the weeks to come.

What things are on your shopping list for August? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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