If you’re looking for a large helping of summertime savings, July comes just in time.
This month will serve up plenty of promotions, including Fourth of July deals, Black Friday in July sales 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. For example, home improvement store Lowe’s is offering up to 40% off select appliances in honor of the holiday. This offer ends July 10.
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.
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.
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. And July 19 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. 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 can be a great time to book your travel, as long as you’re planning a trip for later in the year. July is the most popular (and expensive) month of the summer for air travel, according to a 2019 report by CheapAir.com, an online travel agency.
If you absolutely have to buy airline tickets for July, CheapAir recommends traveling on a Tuesday instead of a Sunday. July 4 flights are expected to be affordable since the holiday falls on a Thursday.
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, and they can spell real savings for consumers.
This year, Amazon is hosting its annual Prime Day on July 15 and 16, with limited-time deals on products across the site. Walmart, Target and Forever 21 have hosted Black Friday in July blowouts, too.
Keep an eye out for similar midsummer sales again this year. They could be a solid opportunity to buy things you’ve been holding off on.
And ice cream
July 21 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.
In past years, some ice cream shops offered free or discounted treats. PetSmart PetsHotel locations have even given dog-friendly ice cream to four-legged friends. You’ll usually be able to find promotional announcements and coupons on social media.