The start of autumn is a great time to shop strategically, which means knowing what to buy in September to maximize your savings. Now is the time when stores are trying to offload their summer items and make way for new inventory. It’s also the time when those fake “back-to-school” sales mentioned in What To Buy In August turn into honest to goodness good deals.
What To Buy In September: Groceries
Lunch and snack items continue to be steeply discounted through the first half of the month. Be sure to find out what coupons are coming out on Sunday before you go shopping, then stack them on top of store sales to really boost your savings. No time to match coupons and sales? The forums here do it for you: just look up your favorite store!
Produce in season now costs less than imported, out-of-season produce. Now’s the time for apples, artichokes, beans, bell peppers, chili and jalapeno peppers, cucumber, eggplant, grapes, onions, oranges, pears (Asian and Bartlett), pomegranates, squash, tomatillos, tomatoes and winter squash.
National Coffee Day (Sept. 29) will see various franchises offering free or extremely cheap coffee. Check your local Daylight Donuts, McDonald’s, Krispy Creme, 7-Eleven, iHop, Dunkin’ Donuts, Waffle House and Caribou Coffee.
What To Buy In September: Household Items
Appliances: As stores move new large appliances onto the sales floor, you’ll start seeing big markdowns on last season’s refrigerators, ovens, stoves and freezers. Unfortunately, the new arrivals are often marked as being “on sale”, making it difficult to figure out what’s old and what’s new. Best advice: do a reconnaissance trip early in the month to find the models you like and write down their prices. After the middle of the month, go back to the store where you’ll probably find those very items on sale.
Bedding and household linens: Yes, the old Labor Day White Sale is still a tradition, even though it’s no longer limited to white items. Pick up comforters, sheets, towels and table linens. There are often excellent deals on mattresses this time of year, too, so keep your eyes open for those deals.
What To Buy In September: Clothing
Summer clothes and accessories like shorts, tanks, sundresses, sunglasses and swimsuits are on steep markdown now. Keep in mind that many of these items make for excellent layering pieces throughout fall and winter, so buying them now can truly stretch your clothing dollars. Also, if anyone in your family is hard-to-fit, be sure to snap up items in their size (or what you think will be their size next summer) while it’s on sale. If you guess wrong, you can always sell it on eBay next Spring… often for a considerable profit.
Jeans are iffy this month. Most stores are now eager to clear out their back-to-school inventory, so they’ll drop the prices on jeans in September. This won’t be the only sale on this school-wear staple, though. Levi’s usually puts its jeans on sale in November, and you’ll see other clothing manufacturers offer discounts around Black Friday.
What To Buy In September: Other Stuff
Baby gear: Most major baby equipment (crib, strollers, high chairs, etc.) and baby safety items are on sale right about now. Why? Well, think about what people were doing nine months ago.
Patio furniture and other outdoor equipment is on steep markdown this month, even though the temperatures are warm enough in many areas to still enjoy the outdoors. Look for deals on patio sets, grills, firepits.
Landscaping and lawn stuff: Bushes, shrubs and trees all do well when planted and watered daily in the final 2 months before your area’s first frost. Not many casual gardeners know this, though. Take advantage of the end-of-season sales at your lawn and garden center by snapping up discounted landscaping plants. Lawn mowers and weed trimmers are on sale now, too!
Electronics: September has become “here’s a new iPhone” month, so look for price resets on older iPhone models when the new one is announced on September 10. Last year’s tablets, laptops and other computer electronics are being discounted now that the back-to-school shopping season is over, since stores want to make room for new stuff prior to the Christmas shopping season.
Cars: The 2014 models are starting to arrive at dealerships, and they want to get rid of the 2013 models to make room. You’ll see good discounts this month on “last year’s” models. If you time your purchase toward the end of the month you’ll save even more, since salespeople and managers wanting to make their monthly quota will be glad to offer even better deals to get you into that new car.
As always, do your research by checking local sales flyers and keeping an eye on sales cycles so you know when something is really a good deal, and when it just looks like one. When you know what to buy in September (or any other month) you can stretch your budget farther than ever!