Hello, August! Your calendar might be starting to clear of summer activities, but back-to-school and work events are likely taking their place. It's also the time of year when stores are stocked to help you wrap up vacation mode and launch you back into your daily grind. Here's what is — and isn't — worth your money this month.
WHAT TO BUY IN AUGUST
Small Home Furnishings. Back-to-college sales aren't just for students. Whether you're sending your kid off to campus or want to refresh home base, look for deals on smaller furniture pieces and décor, says consumer expert Andrea Woroch. Check out your usual big-box stores as well as Overstock and local showrooms for sales. Small kitchen appliances like coffeemakers, microwaves, toasters and blenders will also see markdowns. Keep in mind major appliances like refrigerators, ovens and washer-dryer sets will go on sale around Labor Day weekend.
Office Essentials. If you've been meaning to restock (or start) a home office, it's a good time to buy large items like printers and computer monitors, says smart shopping expert Trae Bodge. While you're at it, pick up paper goods, pens and stationery, and home organization tools on the cheap.
Laptops, Tablets and Bags. "There are two times out of the year when tech is a good sale, and back-to-school is one of them," Woroch says. (The other is Black Friday/Cyber Monday.) Look for back-to-school markdowns on basic laptops and tablets, as well as laptop bags, messenger bags and totes to cart around your new gadgets.
Summer Clearance. The close of the summer season is good news for your wallet if you're in the market for any remaining warm-weather apparel. Expect clearance-level markdowns on items including dresses, shorts, sandals, swimwear, pool accessories and more across most major retailers.
Secondhand Housewares. It's the tail-end of moving season, meaning those packing up may be selling off unneeded housewares before changing addresses. Woroch suggests checking local listings (Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, for example) for new-to-you home furnishings.
Travel Deals. It's not too late to book that last-minute summer getaway. If your travel dates and destination are flexible, look for flash airfare sales from carriers like Southwest and Frontier this month. Based on previous years' data from Slickdeals, Bodge says these deals generally apply to one-way tickets. So remember to factor in return airfare and any boarding or baggage fees to make sure these deals actually lower your travel costs.
WHAT TO SKIP IN AUGUST
Fall Apparel. Step away from the sweaters! Retailers might be setting up displays with denim and coats galore, but resist the urge to buy fall trends until October. By Columbus Day, merchandise that's been on racks for a few weeks will drop in price.
A New Phone. The rumor mill is abuzz with predictions of what new Apple products will be announced in September. But one constant Woroch expects: "When Apple releases new models of the iPhone, you'll not only see drops on older [Apple] models, but also on Android as well." Wait a few weeks, and markdowns on existing models will start rolling out.
Outdoor Entertaining. Patio furniture, outdoor dining sets and grill prices begin to drop in August. But waiting until Labor Day could pay off by several hundred dollars when it comes to the big-ticket items, Woroch says.