This month, many of us are getting pumped over football season, apple-picking excursions or Halloween party planning. But here’s yet another reason to love October: It’s a good time to strike on these money-saving opportunities (and we’re talking beyond candy or pumpkins). Here are some scary-good deals to look for, plus what you can skip.
What to Buy in October
Holiday Airfare. Planning ahead is almost always better when it comes to holiday airfare, but let's face it — most of us aren't the type to dream of tinsel before the leaves have even started changing. So if you missed the prime window for booking Thanksgiving travel (early September, according to Hipmunk) you still have a window of opportunity. Historically, prices are at their peak in mid-October, but dip again around Halloween through the beginning of November.
To save even further, research prices on one-way tickets across multiple carriers, and review costs to fly in and out of different airports, recommends consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. “The more flexible you are on departure and return dates and airport choices,” she says, “the better prices you will find.”
Denim and Other Fall Duds. Back-to-school styles will be on clearance through October’s mid-season sales, especially where denim is concerned. Look for discounts of up to 30 percent off on jeans. “Other fall clothing is also a good buy,” Woroch says, "especially around Columbus Day weekend, when many retailers offer additional coupons on top of reduced merchandise.”
All Things Outdoors. Nurture your green thumb, upgrade your patio for one last fall cookout, or prepare for your next camping adventure with savings in the gardening and outdoor essentials department. Check your favorite home improvement stores for discounts on houseplants, gardening supplies, grills and patio furniture as they clear inventory to make way for winter items. Camping gear will also see a price slash, so you can replace your old equipment (and maybe squeeze in one last trip) before temps drop.
A New Car. If it's time to trade in for a new set of wheels, now's a good time to do it. Many car dealerships will slash prices this fall to clear last year's inventory and make way for shiny new models. If you don't care for any of the new-model upgrades, choosing a 2019 version can potentially you save thousands of dollars on a new car. Maximize your savings strategy by timing your visit at the end of the day, the end of the weekend or even the end of the month, when dealers are willing to negotiate better offers to meet monthly sales quotas.
What to Skip in October
Tech, Electronics and Small Appliances. Now that we’re basically in the home stretch to holiday madness, any major purchases involving TVs, phones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems and any other kind of tech should wait until Black Friday. The annual holiday kickoff comes earlier and gets bigger and more competitive among retailers every year, so shoppers can save hundreds on planned purchases by waiting until late November. The same goes for small appliances, from blenders to vacuums, which are typically offered up as doorbuster deals.
Diamond Rings. Between family Christmas dinner and toasting to the New Year, December marks the most popular time to get engaged, according to a study from Brides magazine. But love comes at a price, and jewelers mark up engagement rings by October, when ring shoppers begin their search.
“The best time to buy a diamond is in the middle of summer when no big holidays or major celebrations take place,” Woroch says. “Jewelry retailers often lower their prices in July — some by as much as 30 percent off — to maintain sales during the downtime.” Translation: For the best deal, better plan that summer or fall proposal for next year.
Winter Clothes. Super-early birds may think they’re getting a deal by scooping up any coats, gloves or boots leftover in store inventories from winter 2017, but they’d be jumping the gun on both selection and savings. “The best deals on winter merchandise is in January, during post-Christmas sales,” Woroch says. “If you can’t hold off that long, look for big savings during Black Friday weekend both in stores and online.” Until then, all the more room in your closet to expand your denim collection, right?
Holiday Decorations. Just because retailers blast holiday muzak two months early doesn't mean you need to dish out for reindeer lawn ornaments or giant plastic menorahs.
“While this may help you get excited for the upcoming winter holidays, don't buy anything just yet,” Woroch says. “These holiday items will be at their highest prices when they first hit store shelves. Hold off until the sales start rolling out in late November. Better yet, wait until just before the holiday in December to get the best bang for your buck.”