Fall is one of the busiest times of year to shop sales. Labor Day sales are in full swing, Amazon’s Big Deal Days event is happening in October and Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in November. Shoppers rely on these sales to help them save money, especially since many are currently faced with increased costs of living, says Jean Namkung, global commercial leader for shopping and rewards at PayPal

“We’ve entered an era of smarter shopping where consumers are extra mindful when it comes to how they can best stretch their budgets,” she says. “Consumers never want to miss deals or leave cash back on the table.”

Knowing which product categories offer the deepest discounts each month can help you make informed shopping decisions and save the most money in the long run. Below, experts shared what they recommend buying this month and what to wait on if possible, plus Labor Day shopping tips if you’re planning to take advantage of sales during the holiday weekend.

SKIP AHEAD What to buy this month | What to skip | Best Labor Day sales to shop now | Labor Day shopping tips

What to buy in September 2023

September marks a transitional period for retailers. With the end of summer and onset of fall, they need to start making room for the influx of holiday-related products shoppers will start to look for soon, like gifts, wrapping paper and decorations, says Mary Hines Droesch, head of consumer and small business products at Bank of America. Because of that, many brands and retailers discount their summer merchandise in September. Droesch recommends purchasing these items now as long as you have space to store them until next year.

Some of the best summer gear to buy in September — especially around Labor Day, which is on Monday, Sept. 4 — includes swimwear, warm weather clothing, shoes and accessories (especially activewear), outdoor sports equipment and beach gear, according to Vipin Porwal, CEO and consumer savings expert at Smarty. Big-box and home improvement stores tend to host some of the best Labor Day sales on yard and gardening tools, patio furniture, grills and related accessories, says Ashley Fricker, senior editor and credit expert at CardRates.com

Brands that sell high-value products like electronics, appliances, furniture and cars tend to introduce new models in the fall, making retailers eager to get rid of previous versions they still have in stock, Droesch says. To do so, they usually discount last season’s TVs, phones, headphones, couches, mattresses and more online and in stores. If you’re in the market for these items and are more focused on getting a deal than the latest technology or styles, September is a great time to buy.

Finally, Labor Day is a popular time to travel, so you’re likely to see deals on hotels, flights, entertainment and food, Fricker says. And if you book your trip using the right travel credit card, you can earn points to use toward future vacations.

What to buy later this year

Hold off on buying fall clothing, shoes and accessories like coats and boots until late September, or better yet, October, Porwal says. That’s when retailers will start promoting low prices on a large selection of those items across styles and sizes. Additionally, you’ll find better deals on popular new toys and electronics during Black Friday and Cyber Monday since retailers know shoppers will want to buy them as gifts.

Best Labor Day sales 2023

To help guide your shopping during the holiday weekend, below are a handful of Labor Day sales we think you should know about. We also rounded up the best Labor Day deals on Amazon.

  • Amazon: Up to 71% off products across shopping categories
  • REI: Up to 40% off select gear and clearance items
  • Target: Up to 30% off kitchen and dining products
  • Wayfair: Up to 70% off furniture and more
  • Dyson: Up to 42% off select cordless vacuums
  • Our Place: Up to 25% off pots and pans and up to 40% off cookware sets
  • Casper: Up to 25% off sitewide
  • Parade: Up to 25% off sitewide. Read our guide to the brand here.
  • Blueair: Up to 20% off Blue Pure Max air purifiers
  • Buffy: Up to 35% off sheets, pillows and blankets
  • Ring: Up to 41% off smart doorbell and security camera kits
  • Luna: Up to 20% off all Sleep products with code LABORDAY20
  • Nutribullet: Up to 20% off sitewide using the code LABORDAY20
  • Supergoop: Up to 20% off sunscreen, vitamin c serums and more using code SUN20
  • Solawave: Up to 30% off sitewide using code POOLSIDE
  • Brooklinen: Up to 20% off sitewide using code LABORDAY20
  • Laura: Up to 20% off sitewide using code LABORDAY
  • Wild One: Up to 35% off select harnesses and collars
  • Birch Living: Up to 25% off sitewide using code LDS25
  • Burt’s Bees: Up to 15% off with the code BYESUMMER
  • Vacation: Up to 20% off sitewide
  • Great Jones: Up to 25% off with code LDW25
  • Daybird: Up to 25% off sitewide with the code OUTOFOFFICE
  • GE Appliances: Up to 35% off select appliances like refrigerators and dishwashers
  • Tushy: Up to 40% off all bidets with code LABORSPRAY
  • Girlfriend Collective: Up to 20% off sitewide
  • Mario Badescu: Save up to 30% off, depending on order amount, using code LD2023
  • Truff: Up to 20% off sitewide using the code LDW20
  • Papier: Up to 15% off academic year and mid-year planners
  • Ettitude: Up to 20% off sitewide
  • Biolite: Up to 25% off sitewide
  • Diggs: Up to 20% off the Revol Dog Crate using code PUP20
  • Aerogarden: Up to 40% off, depending on order amount

How to save money this Labor Day 

As you see more and more deals pop up during Labor Day weekend, it becomes easy to impulse buy and ultimately overspend. To help you stay on budget and save the most money possible, we rounded up some expert tips to use this Labor Day.

  • Set a budget and stick to it. Getting a handle on your monthly expenses (including rent or a mortgage, student loans, groceries and more) helps you determine how much you feel comfortable putting toward shopping. Droesch recommends using the 50/30/20 budgeting rule. “Begin by taking 50% of your after-tax income to cover needs, like rent and utilities; 30% to cover wants, like items you are tempted to buy during sales; and 20% to be put toward savings,” she says. “If this method doesn’t fit your financial lifestyle, adjust your percentages to fit your current priorities.”
  • Make a shopping list. As simple as it sounds, writing down what you’re shopping for can help you stay on track, especially during big sale holidays like Labor Day. Separate your shopping list by needs and wants — if you add all your “needs” to your cart and still have money leftover in your budget, you can move over to browsing for your “wants.”
  • Sign up for email lists or SMS programs. Brands and retailers typically use these platforms, in addition to social media, to contact shoppers about promotions like limited-time flash sales or increased cash-back opportunities, experts say. Some even offer exclusive discount codes when you sign up for their email lists and SMS programs, or if you enroll in their loyalty program.
  • Use browser extensions, which Droesch says are your best friends around sales seasons. These browser extensions automatically search for and apply coupon codes while you’re shopping, as well as alert you about cashback opportunities. Many of them, like Paypal Honey, Rakuten and more, also offer price tracking features so you can view an item’s price history to decide if you’re actually getting a good deal. Some browser extensions also let you to flag products on your wishlist and they’ll notify you when that item goes on sale.
  • Shop with the right credit card, if that’s how you plan to pay. You may be able to earn points while shopping or get cash back on purchases, and credit cards are especially useful if you’re making larger purchases since some offer purchase protection. However, always be sure to read the fine print — most credit cards limit the dollar value of the extended warranty coverage and may have other exclusions, Fricker says.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Jean Namkung is the global commercial leader for shopping and rewards at PayPal.
  • Mary Hines Droesch is the head of consumer and small business products at Bank of America.
  • Vipin Porwal is the founder and a consumer savings expert at Smarty, a cashback browser extension.
  • Ashley Fricker is the senior editor and credit expert at CardRates.com.

Why trust Select?

Zoe Malin is an associate updates editor at Select who covers sales and shopping trends. For this piece, she interviewed four shopping experts to gather their tips about maximizing purchases this fall. 

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