September marks the start of many things — a new school year, football season, autumn — but it also heralds the end of summer. While some are bummed to say goodbye to warm, sunny weather, at least they can celebrate with retail therapy. This month brings plenty of fabulous savings, including Labor Day sales, end-of-season clearance events, and National Coffee Day deals.
Check out our September buying guide for the best things to buy this month, as well as what you should hold off on until later in the year. Then learn about what to buy every month of the year in 2021.
The 8 Best Things to Buy in September
Take a look at our infographic to see five of the top items to buy in September. Below that, you can read about the discounts to expect on those products, as well as the other best buys of the month.
Apparel at Labor Day Sales
If you're in need of summer clothing items, you can find deep discounts at retailers hosting Labor Day sales. Watch for stores like Target, Clarks, and Tommy Hilfiger to take 20% or 30% off, or even an extra 50% off, while retailers like Hanes will likely knock up to 60% off. Some retailers could also offer much bigger discounts — for instance, last year eBay took up to 95% off a variety of items, including clothing.
Large Appliances on Labor Day
Labor Day sales are also prime opportunities to shop for large appliances, so if you need to upgrade your kitchen or laundry room, keep an eye out for solid September deals. Whether you need a new washer or dryer, or just want to spring for a new refrigerator or stove, you can expect discounts to range between 30% and 40% off.
While Lowe's and Home Depot are obvious places to shop for these items, remember to check other retailers, as well. For instance, Best Buy will likely have similar discounts, and Costco should have a small selection of discounted appliances, too.
Labor Day Mattress Deals
While you're upgrading your summer wardrobe and large appliances, why not treat yourself to a new bed? Mattresses are another big part of Labor Day sales, and you can expect to save at least $200 in many cases. Online mattress retailers like Helix and Layla will likely have their own September sales, and stores like Sam's Club, JCPenney, and furniture chains should have events, as well.
However, what might come as a surprise is that stores like Home Depot can also be good places to shop for a mattress in September. Historically, we've seen them take up to 50% off mattresses and mattress toppers during the month.
With summer winding down, so too will grilling season, which means it's a good time to start looking for deals on these outdoor cookers. Even with many folks getting ready for tailgating every weekend, you'll still be able to find savings on grills and smokers in September. Start hunting around Labor Day, as the holiday sales can include these items, but a solid deal can pop up any time this month. And if you feel like you aren't finding compelling discounts, don't despair — there's a chance we could see more and maybe even better deals come October.
Home improvement stores like Lowe's and Home Depot will be good places to check, but think outside the box, too. You may have luck shopping at stores like Target, and even outdoor stores like Gander Outdoors or Dick's Sporting Goods.
While many regions already have a few weeks of school under their belts by the time September arrives, that doesn't mean it's a bad time to shop for school supplies. In fact, if you've held off at all, September offers one of the last, best chances to check those remaining items off your list.
For one thing, school supplies should really start to see discounts this month. With most parents having completed the bulk of their shopping and fall on the horizon, retailers will likely try to clear out stock to make room for other seasonal items.
You may also find a bigger selection this month. Again, with the bulk of Back to School shopping done, there's a chance that the rush on these items will have slowed. So if you're looking for supplies in a particular style, you may have better luck now. Hunting for a new backpack and lunch box? Not only will you probably have a better chance of finding one you like, you could also snag a sweet discount by waiting.
Previous-Gen iPhones (Maybe)
While Apple delayed the release of the iPhone 12 in 2020, it's expected to return to its typical release schedule this year. That means Apple will likely host a big event in September, with the latest iPhone going on sale shortly thereafter. If you're hoping to upgrade to an older model, September could be a good time to do so. We often see Apple drop prices on its older iPhones when it releases new ones, so as long as you don't want the newest model, you can expect some decent savings.
National Coffee Day Deals
National Coffee Day falls on September 29 every year, and it's on a Wednesday in 2021. With concerns about rising COVID-19 cases in many areas, there's no guarantee we'll see offers, but life is returning to a version of normal in many places. Because of that, we could see some spots offering promotions to celebrate the holiday, especially deals for takeout rather than dining in.
Historically, we've seen places like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin' offer a free cup of coffee for rewards members or with a purchase. Other doughnut shops will likely get in on the action, as well, with offers for free small coffees. Count on many of these promotions being for no-frills brews, unless you're hitting up a convenience store. In that case, you may be able to add flavors at no extra charge. We recommend following your favorite retailers and restaurants on social media or signing up for newsletters, so you'll know if they're planning anything to celebrate this food holiday.
In-Season Fruits and Veggies
September marks the official end of summer, whether you count it as Labor Day or the first day of fall on September 22. Either way, there will still be ample opportunities to enjoy in-season produce.
If farmers markets are happening in your area, look for fruits like apples, cantaloupe, figs, grapes, mangoes, persimmons, pomegranates, and tomatoes, which should be at their peak this month. Searching for fresh veggies? The first tastes of fall will be available, so pick up some ripe acorn squash, beets, butternut squash, cauliflower, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, okra, peppers, pumpkins, spinach, sweet potatoes, and Swiss chard.
Curious about the best produce in season near you? Check out this seasonal food guide, and learn what to look for in your area and when.
What NOT to Buy in September
|Item||Don't Buy||When to Buy||Why?|
|TVs||In September||Black Friday||The best electronics deals, including those for TVs, will come around Black Friday. While there might be some TV discounts during Labor Day sales in September, we're expecting far better ones when November rolls around.|
|Halloween Costumes||In September||October||While costumes may hit the shelves in September, we likely won't see any discounts yet. Hold off until October if you can, and you'll be able to save on every element of your Halloween costume.|
|Halloween Decor||In September||October||Similar to costumes, we'll probably start seeing Halloween decor on shelves in September. But unfortunately, we don't expect to see discounts on these items until October at the earliest, and likely the biggest savings will come closer to the holiday itself. Unless there's something you need right now or are afraid of selling out, hold off on decor purchases.|
|Fall Apparel||In September||November or December||Stores are just beginning to stock fall apparel, so if you're hoping for savings this month, you're out of luck. We may see some discounts creep in during October, but the very best savings should pop up in November and December, when retailers need to make room for winter clothing.|
|Travel||In September||Black Friday||If you want to book a trip, know that the deals in September won't be super noteworthy. You may find an odd discount that stands out, but overall you'll have better luck if you shop sales from the online travel agencies in November.|
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