The height of summer might not conjure up images of Black Friday-level shopping, but thanks to a certain e-commerce giant, July has officially become a prime time for major deals. A combination of July Fourth sales, Amazon’s Prime Day, Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale and even early back-to-school markdowns means the month is chock-full of opportunities to strike on a good deal.
“Across these different categories, there are so many things you can buy,” says smart shopping expert Trae Bodge. “I think it’ll be a shopper’s paradise all month.”
Here are some of the best deals to look out for — plus, a few things to skip.
WHAT TO BUY IN JULY
Style and Beauty Essentials. Sales come early in the month with markdowns across fashion accessories, footwear, glasses, jewelry and more throughout the holiday weekend. “Beauty brands specifically are offering their own discounts all across July Fourth weekend,” Bodge says, noting sales in the 20- to 40-percent off range. “These deals will be online, so if you’re sitting by the pool and you want to open your laptop and do some shopping, you’ll find some really good deals in those categories.”
If you’re already over the summer heat, Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale kicks off on Friday, July 19. (Cardholders get early access starting Friday, July 12.) Find markdowns on all your favorite brands across apparel, bags, shoes, makeup and skin care. This fall preview is a great time to change out your work wardrobe and stock up on home goods for upcoming birthdays, showers and holiday presents.
Fitness Gear. Your summer routine probably involves hitting the pool more often than hitting the gym, but retailers are hoping you’ll stock up on fitness gear during this mid-summer slump. “This happens year after year; we see deals on fitness apparel, footwear and small equipment,” Bodge says. Look for sales through the July Fourth weekend and outfit your gym bag or home gym with goods up to 30 percent off.
Prime Day Deals — Beyond Amazon, Too. Amazon is returning for its fifth annual Prime Day on Monday, July 15, lasting until July 16. Some of the most generous markdowns will apply across Amazon’s proprietary devices like Echo assistants, Fire TV devices, tablets and Kindle readers.
The biggest sales day of the year for Amazon can be good for your wallet even if you’re not in the market for all things Alexa. Count on sales across competing retailers (think: Target, Best Buy, eBay, Walmart) or even other brands that sell items on Amazon. Last year the Instant Pot, 23andMe DNA kits and LifeStraw personal water filters were some of the site’s bestsellers.
This year’s biggest highlights will likely include tech and electronics, kitchen gadgets and small home appliances. As we’ve learned from years past, it pays to prepare for the blockbuster event. Sign up for email updates, download the Amazon Assistant browser extension, ready your mobile apps and compile your wish list for the two-day event, Bodge suggests.
Last-Minute Travel. Good news for people who don’t plan ahead, for once. Now may be a good time to book travel through August, according to data from CheapAir. You'll find the best prices flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday, with especially deep discounts on Wednesday, August 28. Not sure where to go? Consider these destinations that offer adventures at every price point and practically plan themselves.
Early Back-to-School Supplies. Sales will start rolling out by the end of the month and continue to deepen through August, Bodge says. If your child wants anything specific that’s marked down during this period — backpacks and gear with a new favorite superhero, for instance — you might want to strike now.
WHAT TO SKIP IN JULY
Summer Apparel. Any remaining spring apparel will be on clearance through the month, but summer threads won’t be deeply discounted until August and September. Unless you absolutely need a replacement sundress or swim trunks, this is a category worth skipping for the month.
Outdoor Equipment. All things outdoors will remain normally priced through the month. For the best deals on outdoor patio furniture, grills, camping equipment, hiking gear and the like, hold out until sales pop up closer to Labor Day.