Costumes, candy and pumpkins, oh my! There’s a lot to purchase this month, but shopping for the season doesn’t mean you have to spend a scary amount.
We’ve put together a guide of what to buy (and skip) in October so you can avoid paying full price on the things you need — and some you just want.
Historically, October is one of the best times to buy jeans. The cold-weather staples have been on shelves since back-to-school season and retailers are now starting to discount them.
The autumn deals on denim have already begun as October approaches. So far, we’ve spotted jean promotions at stores like Hollister and American Eagle Outfitters. Keep in mind that many retailers offer buy one, get one 50% off deals so you have an incentive to buy more than one pair.
Skip: Cleaning supplies
Is fall cleaning a thing? If you need a new vacuum cleaner or other floor care device, try to get by with your current model for a while longer. You can expect deep vacuum and cleaning supply sales in late November and again in early spring.
Last Black Friday, we saw big sales on major vacuum brands from stores like Target and Best Buy. A Dyson V6 stick model and a Dyson Ball Bagless Upright vacuum model were each nearly $200 off. We expect similar savings this season.
Buy: All things outdoor
Most people head indoors when the weather cools down, but October is a good time to focus your shopping on the outdoors. With summer becoming a distant memory, now is the time to act if you need new camping gear, patio furniture or outdoor living essentials.
For example, at Lowe’s, select grills and smokers are on sale. If you have room to store your purchases, you’ll be set come next summer.
Buy a grill? Sure. But you won’t want to fill your shopping cart with major electronics this month.
Hold off on picking up that new laptop, tablet or TV for a little while longer. The best time of the year for electronics deals, Black Friday, is just around the corner. You’ve waited this long, so keep up that discipline until the post-Thanksgiving deal blitz arrives Nov. 24.
Last November, Black Friday was a blowout. Wal-Mart sold a 55-inch TV for $298. Best Buy took $125 off the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. Target slashed Beats headphones by over $100. Deals are expected to rival these levels again in 2017, especially for shoppers who get in line early.
Buy: Halloween supplies
It’s difficult to buy Halloween candy in any month other than October. After all, you don’t want your Reese’s and Butterfingers to go bad (or more likely — get eaten!) before the trick-or-treaters arrive.
But wait until the end of October. Retailers will be more eager to unload their stock of Halloween supplies — that means costumes and decorations, too — as the holiday draws near. Also, consider bulk candy retailers like Costco to lower your average cost per unit.
Shop: Columbus Day weekend sales
This Oct. 9, shoppers can commemorate Columbus’ voyage by sailing straight into a weekend full of deals. Department stores in particular are known to host sales in the days leading up to Columbus Day. Last year, Macy’s slashed prices on apparel and watches, while Kohl’s discounted select sweaters, bedding and boots by 50%. If you can, reserve many of your non-Halloween purchases for this weekend.
Bonus: National Taco Day
From National Selfie Day to National Coffee Day, there’s a quasi-holiday for just about anything. Restaurants particularly like observing food-themed days, as it gives them another opportunity to drum up business. This month, the day to look out for is Oct. 4, National Taco Day.
In 2016, we spotted taco-themed discounts and deals at restaurants like Green Leaf’s Beyond Great Salads and On the Border. Expect similar food freebies from restaurants this year as well.
Look ahead: Black Friday
We alluded to it earlier, but it bears repeating — Black Friday is just around the corner. The day after Thanksgiving remains largely unmatched for deal opportunities. October has a handful of sales, but November will be better in many categories.
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Updated Sept. 25, 2017.