Best and Worst Buys of October 2013
October is a good time to find deals on a variety of items, especially warm-weather gear that's now on clearance. However, many of the things on holiday wish lists won't be marked down until Black Friday in November. So don't be in a rush to start your holiday shopping yet. But take a look at what you can expect to find on sale this month -- and what you should wait a little longer to purchase.
SEE ALSO: Best Places for Fall Travel Deals
What's on sale now ...
Camping gear. Outdoor stores such as REI and Cabela's mark down warm-weather gear during end-of-season clearance sales this month. For example, REI has marked down mesh tents, pop-up chairs and open-air coverings as much as 70%, according to dealnews.com.
Denim. Jeans that didn’t sell during the back-to-school shopping season in late summer go on sale in October, says Brett Billick, Deals2Buy.com senior director.
Grills. With the winter months approaching, you'll find discounts of up to 50% on grills, says Offers.com Vice President Howard Schaffer. In many parts of the country, the weather still is nice enough to cook outdoors, so you won't have to wait until next year to use a grill that you can score at a great price.
Halloween items. The best time to buy costumes and decorations is right after Halloween, when these items are marked down 50% to 90%. But if you need to outfit your trick-or-treaters for this Halloween, you'll find markdowns of 30% to 50% the week before the holiday at stores such as Carter's, Meijer, Target and BuyCostumes.com, according to dealnews.com.
Patio furniture. Expect discounts on patio furniture of 50% or more, Schaffer says. However, the selection may be small now that summer is over, and retailers have been marking prices down on their inventory over the past couple of months.
School supplies. If you didn't get everything your kids need at the start of school, now is a good time to find school supplies at steep discounts in the bargain bins at retailers such as Target, according to dealnews.com.
Travel. Because fall is shoulder season -- the period between summer and the holidays when fewer people are traveling – you can find deals in October and early November on flights to the Caribbean, Europe and many places in the U.S., says Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel.com. And you can take advantage of discounted vacation packages that include airfare and accommodations.
Vacuums. Many sources suggest buying a new vacuum cleaner in the spring. But dealnews.com has found by searching its monthly archive of sales data that there are almost twice as many good deals on these handy home appliances in October and November. Discounts range from 25% to 40%.
Wait a little longer to buy ...
Cars. You might have heard that fall is a good time to buy a car because it's the start of a new car season. This once was true, but new models arrive on car lots throughout the year now, says Kiplinger's car expert Jessica Anderson. She recommends waiting until December to find the best deal on the previous year's models and to have more negotiating room than normal on new-model prices because dealers will be anxious to make both monthly and annual sales goals.
Cold-weather apparel. The best deals will appear in January. But if you're desperate for a new coat, try to at least wait until November when retailers will offer some deals around Black Friday.
HDTVs and laptops. Hold out until November or December to do your TV or computer shopping. The real deals will appear Black Friday and continue into the weeks before Christmas.
Video games. Offers.com's Schaffer says that retailers know that video games are hot holiday gift items, so don't expect to see any discounts on them now. Wait until December for better prices. To maximize savings, however, Schaffer recommends holding off until January.