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August is the last chance for sun and fun before school resumes, so it makes sense that many sales this month are geared toward things that students need.
Laptop computers, small appliances, dorm-room organizers, storage containers and other back-to-school merchandise are hot bargains in August and ones that downsizing retirees, new grads with tiny apartments and consumers with tiny budgets also can take advantage of.
It’s not all back-to-school, however. August also ushers in sales on certain foods, cars and outdoor furniture. Look for bargains on these goods this month.
1. Back-to-school supplies
In August, you can find super-cheap deals on pencils, pens, notebooks and backpacks. Office supply stores, dollar stores and drugstores are stocking up on all office and classroom supplies – from rulers and ring binders to staplers and scissors.
Office supply stores, especially, will have low-priced specials, such as notebooks for 99 cents.
Prices on school supplies will drop even more in September because stores will be ready to clear out inventory, says Daniel Butler, a former vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. But in August, you’ll find “more selection and more stores carrying them,” he says.
Expect sales on backpacks, clothes and shoes, too, as parents seek to update their kids’ wardrobes for the new school year.
In addition, many states offer sales-tax holidays on back-to-school clothes, shoes, supplies and laptop and tablet computers in August.
“If you’re making a big purchase, that can add up,” says Karl Quist, president of PriceBlink, a price-comparison and coupon service.
2. Dormitory gear
Whether you’re furnishing a dorm room, trying to get organized for school or making the most of a small living space, you’ll find some big price cuts on practical goods in August.
Small personal items such as hair dryers, curling irons, and small refrigerators and irons will be reduced by 20 to 30 percent, Butler says.
You’ll spot similar deals on bins, hampers and organizational gear.
You’ll also find deep discounts on sheet sets in twin and full sizes in colors and patterns designed for teens and 20-somethings.
3. Summer clothes and swimsuits
August is one of the best months to buy summer clothes and bathing suits. You can find deeper discounts at Labor Day sales in September, but you won’t find the selection you’ll see this month.
Retailers really want to move merchandise in August to make way for fall and winter clothes, so you might see more than 50 percent off summer duds, Quist says.
4. Patio furniture
If you’ve been wanting to make your outdoor living space more comfortable, or colorful, you have opportunities to do it at a discount this month.
You can find deals on patio sets, chairs, tables, benches, cushions and umbrellas. The prices started dropping in July, “but you want to hold off until August for the best prices,” Quist says.
You’ll find a better selection than you will at Labor Day sales in early September, and you can get deals of up to 50 percent off.
Deep discounts on outdoor furniture will extend through Labor Day, says Kendal Perez, a money writer and former savings expert for Coupon Sherpa.
“Labor Day sales start in August,” Perez says. “It worked so well for Black Friday that (retailers are) trying it out for other months.”
5. New cars
August is one of the best months of the year to buy a car because the new models start to arrive at dealerships in the fall. Expect prices on 2018 models to come down.
“This is when you will begin to see that shift,” says Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com. “(Price cuts) almost always focus on the outgoing model year.”
Montoya says it’s an especially good time to buy a sedan. “SUVs are vastly outselling sedans, so there are plenty of great deals on sedans,” he says. “Also, if a model is not selling particularly well or about to be replaced with a newer model, you can potentially get a really good deal.”
Another reason to buy a car in August: rising interest rates. “It’s an incentive to buy sooner rather than later,” says Montoya, noting that “there seems to be a drought of zero-percent financing” because rates are headed upward.
However, rebates are still common, Montoya says. They are often advertised as “bonus cash” or “customer cash.” Ask about “loyalty cash” if you already own a brand and are looking to stick with it, Montoya says.
6. Laptop computers
August markdowns on laptop computers aren’t as good as they are for blowout shopping days like Black Friday. “But they’re usually enough to make it worth your while” to buy now, says Butler.
Look for markdowns of about 25 percent, he says.
Another bit of good news: “A lot of times when laptops are on sale, accessories are on sale,” Quist says. Or you may see bundles, with computer cases or sleeves included.
7. Stone fruits: Peaches, plums and more
In the produce department, stone fruits like peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums and cherries will be abundant, so expect price cuts.
Plums have “a later season” and will be hitting their peak harvest this month, with prices dropping, says Chris Romano, chief operating officer of Veggie Noodle Co. in Austin, Texas, and former coordinator for produce and floral for Whole Foods Market.
Pluots, a cross between a plum and an apricot, are also having a moment this month. Prices are in line with plums, but you’ll see some slashed an extra 25 to 30 percent, Romano says.
August kicks off California’s grape harvest. “There will be a lot of promotions on grapes, and a lot of varietals start showing up” in stores, green markets and farm stands, Romano says.
Offseason prices on grapes are $3 to $4 a pound, but they start falling significantly at the beginning of summer, he says. By August, you can buy a pound of grapes for less than $2.
No matter which variety you select — red, green or black — grapes are great in August. “They love hot weather,” Romano says.