The Best Things to Buy in October

This post comes from Donna Doyle at partner site DealNews.com.

Smart consumers know the best time of year to buy almost anything is Black Friday, in November. As a result, shoppers may write off buying big-ticket items in October. But some items will indeed drop to better prices this month, thanks in part to Columbus Day and Halloween sales.

Don’t hold out until Black Friday to buy everything — these seven items will be significantly cheaper in October.

Here’s a shopping guide for the month, starting with the best buys:

Cars

If you’re in the market for a new car, this is the month to buy. Traditionally, October is the best month of the year to upgrade your vehicle, since dealerships are eager to offload the current year’s inventory as next year’s models debut in the fall. There are other ways to save in October, too: One is to buy at the end of the day, week or month, when salespeople strive to hit quotas.

It’s also worth hitting the dealerships during the second weekend of October, as Columbus Day celebrations will likely lead to big discounts. But while it may be a good time of year to buy a car, keep an eye on gas prices. They spiked after Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf coast and led to the closure of 10 oil refineries.

Costumes

The best time of year to buy a Halloween costume is the day after the holiday, when retailers slash 50 to 75 percent off the prices of unsold devil horns and sexy Scrabble outfits. But, let’s face it — not very many of us are preparing for next year — we’re scrambling to get a costume for this year’s festivities. So it’s nice to know you can still find great deals on costumes in the days leading up to Oct. 31.

Last year, BuyCostumes, for example, knocked an extra 20 percent off items already discounted up to 95 percent off two weeks before Halloween. That put many items at less than half the price of other stores’ best offers. Spirit Halloween joined the party by knocking $10 off with no minimum purchase required, while Prime members shopped Amazon for costumes under $6 just days before the holiday, and still got them shipped in time for trick-or-treating.

European vacations

Those planning a trip across the Atlantic Ocean should make October the month for European adventure. Travel expert Rick Steves lauds October as the time to travel, as it falls within the industry’s “shoulder season.” That means it’s a time when off-season prices can cut down costs, but travel destinations are still prepared to entertain tourists. U.S. visitors are therefore more likely to find budget hotel room deals and be able to mix with the locals, rather than joining tourist-swamped queues.

Last year, we saw the highest percentage of Editors’ Choice deals on all hotel stays in October. With 11 percent of the hotel deals listed making the grade, that not only beat November’s offers, but also surpassed the annual average of just 6 percent. Coupons from the likes of Travelocity and Hotels.com dropped around Columbus Day and knocked as much as $100 off already-cheap hotel prices.

Pizza

A monthlong celebration of pizza is exactly the type of holiday we’re interested in! October is National Pizza Month, and with it we expect to see lots of great deals on all things cheesy. Expect hot deals from Domino’s and Papa John’s — the latter of which touted one of its best BOGO offers of the year in 2016. Pizza Hut joined the revelry, too, selling two medium pizzas for just $6.99 each for the entire month.

Gardening tools

As the seasons change and the temperatures plunge, all things garden-friendly start to drop in price, from lawn mowers and leaf blowers to hoses. And although November is a better time to shop in-house appliances, it seems that garden tools reach their best in October.

Last year, we listed more Editors’ Choice deals in this month than any other, and saw incredibly low prices on electric tools at Amazon and Woot — the latter of which knocked thousands off the cost of riding lawn mowers. VMInnovations was a prime spot to shop refurbished tools, too, as the retailer sold trimmers and lawn mowers at huge price lows via unique coupon codes. You can expect to see those garden gadgets for half the price of any other store. Elsewhere, you’ll likely see shovels fall to as low as $11, which is a 35 percent savings over last September’s best price.

Select produce

Shopping for in-season produce is a great way to save throughout the year, and October is no exception. When fruits and vegetables are at their most plentiful, prices can drop by up to 50 percent. Expect to see cheaper prices and better-tasting pumpkins, cranberries, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and pomegranates, among other seasonal produce.

Plants

For green-thumbed savers, now is the time to invest in a selection of plants and shrubs as local garden centers host their end-of-season sales. You’ll find particularly strong markdowns on perennials, which don’t need to be replanted each year.

Expect to save up to a massive 90 percent on out-of-season perennials as they enter dormancy in the fall. Tropical plants like hibiscus also sell at incredibly low prices during the fall since they can’t survive the colder weather. Buy now and nurse the plants indoors until next spring.

Wait until Black Friday to buy these things …

November remains the best time of year to buy many things, thanks to Black Friday deals. So — if you can — hold off on these things until then:

Appliances

Whether you need a new refrigerator or have your eye on a Dyson vacuum, November is the month you’ll want to shop discounted home appliances. No other month comes close to offering the quantity or quality of deals we see in the run-up to Black Friday. In fact, 34 percent of the deals listed last November were marked Editors’ Choice, compared with the annual average of 15 percent — and that was for the second year running.

Expect to see the best appliance sales of the year from The Home Depot and Lowe’s, as the stores slash prices on washers, dryers, freezers and more. You can also expect Editors’ Choice-worthy lows from Hoover and Dyson, since the bulk of the best appliance deals from last Black Friday were on a selection of high-tech vacuums.

iPhone 8

If you’re planning on shelling out big bucks for the new iPhone 8, know that we won’t see any significant savings on the model until November. Last year, we saw the first discount on an unlocked iPhone 7 just a few days before Black Friday, as reputable eBay sellers began to undercut Apple’s price by around $40. For those who don’t mind gift card bundles, major stores like Target and Best Buy will likely offer the phone with up to $250 in gift cards.

If you don’t mind signing up for a new contract, you can likely get top trade-in deals on Black Friday, too. Last year, T-Mobile offered the iPhone 7 for free when you traded in previous-generation iPhones and Androids. In fact, the carrier has already announced it will offer up to $300 in trade-in value for the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, so we’re expecting even better offers in November.

Sadly, due to the Nov. 3 release of the pricier iPhone X, it’s unlikely that we’ll see major price drops on that handset until early 2018.

Laptops

Black Friday week is always the best time of the year to buy a laptop. Last year, 23 percent of the laptops we listed in November were Editors’ Choice deals. Budget-conscious shoppers can expect no-nonsense 11-inch builds to fall to $100 at Dell, while Lenovo low-cost touchscreen models could drop to $270. Gamers on the hunt for a heftier machine should find quality builds with dedicated graphics cards and ample SSD storage for around $500.

TVs

If you can resist shopping for nothing else until Black Friday, definitely hold off on a new TV purchase until the last week of November. Most, if not all, screen sizes fall to their best prices of the year around Black Friday, and last year nearly half of all TV deals we listed were Editors’ Choice price lows (48 percent of them, to be precise). Expect basic 32-inch models to fall to just $65 around Black Friday, while 40-inch 4K units should start at $200.

Most screen sizes fall to their best prices of the year around Black Friday, and last year nearly half of all TV deals we listed were Editors’ Choice price lows.

All things tech

November is always going to be the best time of year to buy most general electronics — from headphones to speakers to smartwatches. You can expect Amazon-branded electronics, like the Echo and Dot speakers, to compete with Prime Day prices as they fall to $90 and $40, respectively. Meanwhile, Canon will host one of its best sales of the year on cameras and lenses.

In-season apparel

Buying in-season apparel is generally against our ethos, as that’s when prices are at their highest. But Black Friday is an exception. Most department and designer stores hosted their best sales of the year last November. For instance, Nordstrom Rack took an extra 30 percent off sitewide, a discount that is yet to be beat as its best ever. Nike, Patagonia and Gap all had Editors’ Choice prices sitewide, which meant that we nabbed in-season cold-weather apparel at clearance prices.

Keep in mind that there is an exception: winter coats. We may see slightly more deals on jackets and coats on and around Black Friday, but the quality of deals increases significantly come December. Last year, 24 percent of all winter coats earned an Editors’ Choice nod in the run-up to the holidays.

Gift cards

Whether you use gift cards to cut down on costs at big stores, or are stocking up for holiday gifts, know that Black Friday will bring with it the best gift card offers of 2017. Not only did we see the best iTunes and Domino’s gift card offers of the year last November, but we also listed a selection of freebies from Amazon. The site was doling out $5 and $10 gift cards to those who made an order via its Alexa virtual assistant.

More from DealNews.com:

What’s on your shopping list for October and November? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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