The last full month before Black Friday poses a shopping dilemma: Buy now and maybe miss out on rock-bottom prices in just a few weeks, or wait and hope inventories — especially of popular items — don’t shrink to nada.
Instead of playing shopping roulette, simply focus on this month’s best buys (and stay away from the worst) to stretch your holiday dollar:
Halloween and fall: The savviest shoppers know the day after a holiday is the best time to buy decorations. But if you didn’t plan ahead last year, you can still hit a pre-Halloween sale.
“We see a lot of pretty big discounts the week before,” says Lindsay Sakraida, DealNews features director. “It’s one of the few cases where putting it off until the last minute might be a good idea.”
“You can usually find those in the first week or two if you want to try to get some sort of discount — but buy early,” Sakraida says. “Some of those haunted houses are so elaborate, so some of them can be pretty expensive.”
(Read “The best and worst things to buy in October” here from DealNews.)
Think pink: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which brings a flood of pink products into the market, many of them benefiting cancer research. Jessica Dauler, creator of shopping site JessicaShops.com, says she supports the cause each year, but keeps her eyes out for deals, too.
“A trick I like to do is wait until the end of the month because they go on sale and then stock up for next year,” says Dauler, whose column appears in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Deal Spotter section each Thursday.
Outdoors and gardening: Planting season ushers in deals from local nurseries on shrubs, bulbs, vegetable seeds and even grasses. And, according to Sakraida, outdoor furniture prices reach their low point this month. Several patio sets from Sears and Amazon hit their lowest prices of the year last October.
Also keep an eye on: Larger appliances (stores received new inventory in September), denim and light fall clothing (not heavy coats).
Toys: The holiday season will highlight toys at even cheaper prices, so don’t waste your time if you’re looking for a bargain.
“Unless it’s like, the hot toy, where it’s hard to get, I don’t think it’s worth trying to buy them all up now,” Sakraida says. “Amazon and Walmart were having pricing wars with each other last year [during the holiday season]. That’s always good for a consumer. We saw a lot of that once December started.”
Cosmetics: Dauler recommends stretching out that last bit of lipstick or blush until retailers begin their “free gift with purchase” sales.
“If you buy cosmetics from department stores, you should wait, because they do all those holiday promotions,” she says. “Wait another month or two for all the specials.”
Also wait to buy: Jewelry, tools and boots.
– By Lauren Davidson, Atlanta Bargain Hunter