What to Buy (and Skip) in July

Courtney JespersenJune 30, 2020

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[Editor’s note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, in-store shopping may not be feasible, and some of these items may not be available.]

If you’re looking for a large helping of summertime savings, July comes just in time.

This month is known for serving up plenty of promotions, including Fourth of July deals and ice cream freebies.

To make the most of July’s discounts, here’s a category-by-category guide for what to buy (and a few things to skip).

Buy: Patriotic items

Each year around July 4, stores pledge allegiance to the red, white and blue with sales on just about everything that has stars and stripes on it. Expect clothing discounts at department stores and decoration discounts at party supply shops. Wait until close to the holiday to buy your items at the best price.

Some stores extend their sales to other products. Last year, we located Fourth of July deals on food, appliances, mattresses and more. Keep your eyes peeled for star-spangled savings again this year.

Skip: Back-to-school supplies

What will school look like in the next few months? That’s still largely unknown. But whether learning happens at home or in the classroom, don’t worry about stocking up on school supplies this month.

Retailers typically begin their back-to-school sales as early as July, but you’ll save more if you don’t buy your backpack or laptop just yet. School-oriented deals historically reach their peak in late August and early September, when stores are more motivated to clear shelves.

Additionally, check if your state is hosting a sales tax holiday this year. During these events, shoppers don’t pay sales tax on select supplies. Many sales tax holidays happen during the month of August or at the end of July.

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Buy: Summer apparel

By July, tank tops, shorts and flip-flops have been on display for several weeks — and in some cases, several months — so it’s finally time to stock up.

By this point in the season, don’t settle for anything less than a sale price on summer apparel. Look for storewide discount events and coupons specifically for clothing departments. Designer brand Coach, for instance, has already launched its Summer Sale, and apparel and accessory shops like Forever 21 and Old Navy also have seasonal sales.

Deals will spill over into August, too. August 19 marks the official beginning of Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale.

Skip: Lawn mowers

July isn’t an ideal time to purchase large outdoor items, such as lawn mowers. You aren’t the only one thinking about tending your yard, and higher demand traditionally means higher prices.

By the time August and September roll around, outdoor items will see steeper discounts, so hold off for another month or two.

Bonus: Ice cream

July 19 is National Ice Cream Day this year. Use it as an excuse to indulge in your favorite flavor. If you work it right, you can get your cone on the house.

In past years, some ice cream shops offered free or discounted treats. You’ll usually be able to find promotional announcements and coupons on social media.

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