With stores clamoring for your back-to-school dollars, knowing what to buy in August is the key to big savings. Here’s your strategy to maximize savings by taking advantage of August’s sales.
As younger kids head back-to-school and older kids head off to college, there are BIG savings to be had on everything from groceries to home furnishings. As always, those with plenty of storage space will save the most by estimating their family’s needs for the next several months and buying in bulk. If you’re short on spots to stash bulk purchases, you can still save money by avoiding the fake sales and stocking up on the real discounts.
As always, remember to stack coupons on top of sales, and bring other stores’ sales flyers with you so you can take advantage of price-matching discounts.
What to buy in August: Groceries
Lunch and snack items are steeply discounted this month. Look for sales on pudding cups, bread, cold cereal, waffles, frozen pancakes, and lunch meats. Remember: they all freeze well, so if you have the space, stock up! (No need to freeze those pudding cups, though. Goodness knows they’ve got enough preservatives in them.)
In season now produce includes apples, Haas avocados (the dark ones), green beans, berries, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, figs, grapes, melons, onions, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, squash, tomatillos and tomatoes. (Check out my tips on how to save produce and put your freezer to work on these foods, too!)
Teacher-requested supplies like disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and tissues are all on sale now, too. Look for markdowns from Clorox, Purell, Kleenex and other major manufacturers, and stock up your child’s classroom as well as your house.
Other school supplies are obviously on sale, but be careful: most stores sell only a handful of items on true discount (packages of filler paper for 10 cents; 2 dozen pencils for 25 cents) but leave other items marked high to offset their loss (binders for $8, highlighters for $4). When it comes to stocking up for the school year, it really does pay to shop only the best deals at several different stores, as time-intensive as that may be. (And be sure to read my tips about how to save money on school supplies!)
Summer items have been heavily marked down as stores try to clear out insect repellent, sunscreen, and charcoal. You may find some great deals on picnic-related items (paper plates, napkins and plastic cutlery) now, and they’ll be marked down even further after Labor Day.
What to buy in August: Clothing
Kid’s clothes are obviously marked down now for back-to-school sales. If your child doesn’t have to wear the latest designer labels you’ll score even better deals at the end of the month when the Type-A Moms have picked the racks bare. No kids at home anymore? Get a jump-start on Christmas gift-giving to your nieces, nephews and grand kids!
Swimwear, sunglasses and flip-flops are going for more than 50% off in stores near me to make room for sweaters and heavier clothes. Since the temps here are still regularly in the high 90s, I’ve rejuvenated my summer wardrobe. (And, okay, I bought a swimsuit two sizes smaller for next year to give myself an incentive!)
What to buy in August: Outdoor Items
Grills are finally on sale, now that the grilling season is supposedly coming to an end. (Why, I’m not sure. We grill even in the middle of winter when there’s 6 inches of snow on our deck!) Grill accessories are a good deal now, too.
Camping gear is ready to move with discounts on tents, lanterns, sleeping bags, and even fishing equipment. Not really on sale: coolers. (Football fans will be more than happy to pay top-dollar for new ones at the end of the month.)
Outdoor toys like swing sets, badminton and croquet are all on sale. So are kiddie pools and pool toys.
What to buy in August: Dorm Gear and Housewares
Dorm- and Housewares
Storage and organization solutions are big sellers this time of year as college freshmen move into dorms and their mothers wonder how their kids will ever remember to keep their dirty and clean clothes separate.
Linens of all kinds are seriously discounted, particularly lower-end sheets, mattress covers and toppers, and towels.
Don’t buy furniture now, though. Stores discounted last year’s models already; the new stuff that’s hitting shelves is at its highest now.
Knowing what to buy in August is the key to taking advantage of this month’s sales without getting suckered into fake discounts. And remember: stack coupons to reap even bigger savings! Happy shopping!
Article continues below
Have you bought my cookbook? Autumn: A Season of Easy Cooking features 3 MONTHS of weekly dinner menus, 3 MONTHS of grocery lists, 3 MONTHS of cooking plans. You'll save money by reducing food waste, eat seasonally, and spend LESS THAN 20 MINUTES COOKING DINNER each night! Get it from Amazon here!