Money-saving expert Andrea Woroch gives advice on what to get in Labor Day 2016 sales and what not.
As many Americans head to local parks and beaches to celebrate the unofficial end of summer this weekend, others will be taking a trip to the mall over Labor Day. That's because the holiday weekend offers major savings opportunities to those who know what to look for. Not everything marked on sale is a good buy, however, so study this list of the best and worst Labor Day deals to shop smart this weekend.
What To Buy
1. Swimsuits and Summer Apparel.
Although there are many hot days left to hit the pool or beach, retailers are eager to make room for fall and winter apparel. Expect major markdowns on swimsuits, shorts, sandals, tank tops and more. Victoria's Secret is offering up to 70% off select swimwear as it shuts down this product line, while merchants like Gap and Nordstrom have been known to offer up to 80% off end-of-summer clearance items. Most retailers offer extra savings on sale and clearance items in the form of coupons, so track down these discounts to save an additional 10 to 25% off your purchases.
2. Back to School Items.
Many schools are back in session and once classes are underway, merchants begin marking down school items to move them off the shelves faster. Macy's is offering 30 to 50% off back-to-school goods through Sept. 4, while Shoe Carnival has a promo code for $10 off $60 through Sept. 6. Don't miss penny deals from stores like Staples and Office Depot, which offer basic supplies for as little as one cent in some cases. For even bigger discounts on clothes for kids, snag up to 90% off gently-used items from sites like ThredUp.com, or search CouponSherpa.com for up to 75% off school essentials with a Zulily coupon.
3. Garden & Outdoor Items.
Items like patio furniture and decor go on sale after July 4, and prices will continue to fall as temperatures drop. The prices on grills continue to lower through October, so this is a good time to invest if you've been meaning to upgrade. For example, Lowe's, Home Depot and Ace Hardware are all offering $100 off Weber Genesis grills, a rare discount on these premium barbecues. You can also score deals on outdoor accessories like lighting and fire pits from stores such as Target, World Market and Pier 1, with savings between 30% and 50% off.
4. New Cars.
Fortune Magazine calls Labor Day weekend "the Black Friday for car shopping." With the release of 2017 models and the holidays coming up, dealerships need to make room for new vehicles and lower prices on older-models accordingly. You can also expect more competitive financing offers like zero-percent interest for qualified buyers. To ensure you're getting the best price on any new car, SUV or truck, consult Consumer Reports' guide to buying a new vehicle and check TrueCar to find out what other consumers in your area paid for a specific make and model.
Many airlines and third-party travel booking sites offer discounts over Labor Day weekend. If you're planning on traveling over Thanksgiving or Christmas, you should plan ahead and take advantage of flight and hotel deals offered this holiday weekend. Last year, airlines like Frontier were known to offer one-way deals as low as $30 around Labor Day, while hotel-booking sites like Hotels.com have already begun running deals of 12 to 50% off reservations through early October.
What Not To Buy
1. Fall Clothing.
Before you get too excited about sweater season, know that fall fashion is in-season over Labor Day, meaning it's at peak price right now. While you will see some deals of 10 to 20% off, the real savings come later. There will be plenty of time to change up your wardrobe once the holiday weekend is over and prices start to drop as retailers make room for winter stock. Look for better deals on fall apparel and shoes during Columbus Day weekend.
2. Apple Products & Other Electronics.
If you're considering purchasing an Apple product, hold off until September when the company is poised to announce new versions of popular gadgets so you can snatch up previous-year models for less. The same goes for electronics in general; since college season is starting, items like TVs and MP3 players will be very expensive during Labor Day weekend and are best avoided. The best deals on electronics will become available starting Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
3. Winter Apparel.
Because this is the time consumers start thinking ahead towards winter, retailers set the highest prices for cold-weather gear this time of year. Wait a few months until these items become more affordable; you likely won't need a heavy parka or snow boots until November, anyway. If you can hold off until after Christmas, you will see sales of up to 75% off boots, coats and more.
4. Halloween Items.
Planning your costume, decor and details for a spooky party is always exciting, but you should wait until after October 15 to buy anything related to Halloween. This is when stores start switching to Christmas and lower the prices on festive merchandise. Craft stores like Michael's start offering deals up to 70-percent off as early as two weeks before the actual holiday.
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The Christmas shopping season is also toy season. The year's most coveted toys will be announced later in September, and the best time to buy them is actually the Saturday before Thanksgiving, according to experts. If your child is set on something specific, remind him or her that the winter holidays are just around the corner!