While it falls at the end of summer, August is a new beginning. Every year, it marks the transition back to school. Adults are going through a similar transition, needing to shop for fall wardrobes and home necessities.
Retailers are transitioning, too, moving summer items to the sales racks and moving fall to center stage with boots, jackets, fire pits and other cooler-weather staples.
All of this sets the stage for smart buys, as stores will be trotting out the deals for back-to-school and end-of-summer clearance shoppers alike.
To help you take full advantage of the best end-of-summer savings, we used our internal discount data to calculate average discounts August shoppers can expect in popular categories — and zero in on the Top 5 categories to shop this month.
The 5 Smartest Things to Buy in August
Whatever you need (or want) to buy in August, there are plenty of sales to shop and smart buys to make.
1. Textbooks (Average Discount: 47% Off)
The No. 1 rule to avoid overspending on college textbooks is to avoid the campus bookstore. There are so many places you can rent textbooks, get e-textbooks and buy used textbooks online — and save. Some of these places even buy back your textbooks when you’re done with them.
Knowing that students are headed back to campus, sites like Chegg and VitalSource will be offering discounts on books as well as study and test-prep resources. Plus, you can think of buying used books as an automatic discount over what you’d pay at the bookstore.
2. Computers and Electronics (Average Discount: 26% Off)
August will see a flurry of deals on tablets, laptops and headphones, as retailers know that students (and parents) are on the lookout for upgrades. Check out Apple’s 2022 back-to-school offer, which includes a free $150 Apple gift card with select MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or iMac 24″ purchase.
Best Buy’s Deals of the Day are also a treasure trove of savings, but they change every day — so start checking now for any items on your wish list. Need inspiration? These are the most sought-after tech items for students this year.
Even if you’re not a student, you can take advantage of retailers’ tech discounts. In fact, this will be the last time before Black Friday that you see a lot of popular tech on sale at the same time. Check out Dell, HP, Amazon and Lenovo in particular.
3. Clothing/Casual Apparel/Work Apparel (Average Discount: 19% Off)
At the end of August, clothing racks will be filled with tempting, cozy items (think denim jackets, scarves and boots) that will have you smelling the pumpkin spice. But we suggest taking a walk over to the sales rack (or online sale section) of your favorite clothing retailers. Shorts, tees, summer dresses and sandals will be marked down for you to store away for next year (or wear during those awkward still-hot weeks in September).
If you need new fall clothing, check back when retailers start stocking the shelves for winter (in October). Or make sure to shop retailers’ back-to-school sales, which will drop the prices on denim and other more fall-friendly attire.
Are you a college students shopping for a back-to-school wardrobe? Be sure to check out Target’s college student discount (20% off!) that’s good until Sept. 3 on a single purchase.
4. Teen Clothing (Average Discount: 16% Off)
In addition to summer clothing moving to the sales racks in August (see above), retailers will be running back-to-school deals, especially on teen fashions. With inflation cutting into budgets this back-to-school season, retailers know that parents will be extra choosy in where they shop.
We’ve already seen Target offering kids’ and teens’ clothing staples for as low as $7, Hollister offering jeans deals; Gap offering clearance items for as low as $1.99 and Forever 21 plugging summer discounts of as much as 70%. Expect these sales to accelerate in early August as back-to-school shopping gets into full swing.
Note that not everything will be marked down. The price tags on trendy fall coats and boots likely won’t budge. But there will be plenty of deals on warmer-weather and transitional items, like tees and dresses.
5. Sporting Goods (Average Discount: 16% Off)
Summer sees surges in demand for camping and outdoor equipment as families hit the road during summer vacation. Things will start looking quieter soon, however, so head to Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Walmart and other purveyors of outdoor equipment and see what’s on sale. Expect to find deals on camping equipment, fishing equipment, hiking apparel, portable grills, tents, hammocks, chairs and more.
Prefer experiencing the great outdoors from home? The gardening department at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s will also start marking down weed wackers and lawnmowers, as well as gardening tools, as colder weather looms. They’ve got to make room for all that giant Halloween decor, after all!
Top Tips for August Shopping
Whatever you buy in August, here are some tips for how to shop wisely, no matter what you’re purchasing:
- Check if your state has a tax-free shopping weekend: More than a dozen states will hold their tax-free shopping weekend this August, and if yours is on the list, you’ll enjoy waived sales tax on eligible purchases. Eligible items tend to be those of the back-to-school variety, but that doesn’t mean they’re just for students; some states include electronics, clothing, backpacks and shoes in their tax-free weekends. That gives you plenty of options for stocking up on essentials.
- Shop end-of-season clearance sales: Expect retailers to mark down everything summery, from clothing to outdoor products to camping equipment. Knowing that shoppers’ priorities will change with the weather, retailers will move all that stuff to the clearance racks and price it to sell. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale runs through the first week of August and holds plenty of deals on summer fashion. Plus, check out retailers like Overstock, Old Navy and Cabela’s to find patio furniture, summer clothing and outdoor equipment marked down.
- Consider last-minute back-to-school deals: If you are comfortable with taking a risk, wait until right before school is back in session to snap up any remaining notebooks, lunchboxes, dorm items and other common items on students’ shopping lists. At this point, retailers will be eager to offload them. You may not want to use this tactic for items you actually need, as the shelves will be largely picked over by this point. But it can be a smart way to get essentials you know you (or your kids) will use next year at much-lower prices.
The post 5 Things to Buy in August: Clothing, Tech, Textbooks, More appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.