July is nearly here, and as temperatures rise, you can expect prices to drop on popular products.
Make the most of midsummer sales with our guide to what you should buy (and skip) during the month of July.
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 possible 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.
Skip: Back-to-school supplies
We know: While you’re working on your tan, school is the last thing you want to think about. And you don’t have to. Retailers 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.
In August 2016, for example, Best Buy offered up to $100 off select Dell computers. Carter’s took up to 50% off school apparel styles, and Wayfair dropped dorm supply prices by as much as 70%.
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 of 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, as have apparel and accessory shops Forever 21 and Old Navy. And July 21 marks the beginning of Nordstrom’s anniversary sale.
Skip: Lawn mowers
July isn’t an ideal time to purchase large, outdoor items, such as lawn mowers. After all, 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.
July’s a great time to book your travel — as long as you’re planning a trip for later in the summer. On average, buying a flight for August travel will be 7% cheaper than buying one for July, according to a 2017 report of expected daily flight rates by CheapAir.com, an online travel agency.
If you absolutely have to fly this month, CheapAir recommends traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays instead of weekends. And July 4 flights are expected to be more affordable than flights on the days before and after.
Bonus: Black Friday in July
If last year is any indication, expect Black Friday-esque deals this month in an assortment of categories, such as apparel and electronics. Retailers often offer these discounts in an attempt to boost typically sluggish summer sales — but they can also spell real savings for consumers.
Last year, Amazon hosted its second annual Prime Day on July 12, with limited-time deals on products across the site. Walmart, Target and Forever 21 have hosted Black Friday in July blowouts in past years.
Keep an eye out for similar midsummer blowout sales again this year. They could be a solid opportunity to buy things you’ve been holding off on for a while.
And … ice cream
July 16 is National Ice Cream Day. Use it as an excuse to indulge in your favorite flavor. If you work it right, you can get your cone on the house.
Last year, some ice cream shops offered free or discounted treats. PetSmart PetsHotel locations even gave dog-friendly ice cream to four-legged friends. You’ll usually be able to find promotional announcements and coupons on social media.
Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @courtneynerd.
Updated June 23, 2017.