September 2020 might not have as many deals as previous Septembers, but that doesn't mean it'll be a savings wasteland. Labor Day will offer the biggest — though far from the only — shopping opportunity this month. From the best buys of Labor Day sales to Back to School discounts, our September buying guide goes over the top items to check out.
The 7 Best Things to Buy in September
Apparel at Labor Day Sales
Labor Day is routinely a great time to stock up on summer clothing, and this year should prove no different. We're expecting discounts to once again be as high as 75% off in some cases, though stores will offer a wide range of savings.
Look for discounts of up to 75% off at retailers like Belk, Frye, and Gap Factory. While some deals will be more modest — Columbia took 25% off select gear last Labor Day, for instance — many clothing stores will offer up to 50% off, at least. Look to retailers like Hanes, Cole Haan, Backcountry, and American Apparel for these kinds of savings.
Large Appliances on Labor Day
Labor Day is also a good opportunity to upgrade your large appliances. Stores like Home Depot are once again offering up to 40% off. Lowe's has a similar offer, and don't forget about Best Buy. Historically, the electronics retailer has offered special deals, like gift cards worth up to $300 with the purchase of select large appliances.
Labor Day Mattress Deals
Watch for individual deals on mattresses close to Labor Day — last year, we saw queen-size memory foam mattresses for as little as $108. And if that won't suffice, know that there will likely be deals on king-size mattresses, too. Around Labor Day last year, we saw an 8" memory foam mattress for only $187, a deal so good it earned our Staff Pick designation.
But the holiday will bring more than individual deals. Multiple retailers are featuring mattress deals in their Labor Day sales, including Big Lots, JCPenney, and Sam's Club. And Home Depot is also putting mattresses on sale for the holiday. Watch for these furniture sales to offer up to 50% or 60% off, or up to $1,200 off in some cases.
While we've seen a shift lately in the best time to find grill deals, we're still expecting at least a handful of decent discounts in September. Last year, around 30% of the grill and accessory deals we saw in September earned our Staff Pick designation.
Speaking of accessories, this month will probably be a great time to look into items like grill covers, liners, and smoking chips. A Weber 22" cover cost as little as $12 in September 2019, while a bucket liner 6-pack went for $3, and hickory smoking chips, for $2.
As for the grills themselves? Look for electric models to be around $70, while charcoal models will likely be as low as $86. Expect charcoal smokers to cost just over $100, and for hybrid models to fall to around $150.
The beginning of the 2020 school year has been a strange one, with some parents unsure of what to buy for their kids. The National Retail Federation reports that many parents have held off on buying Back to School items, as they haven't received concrete plans regarding their child's school year.
Because of this, we've seen deals on Back to School supplies hanging around more this year than in previous years. While the discounts might get weaker as more time passes, parents should still be able to stock up on traditional supplies, plus items to help their kids comfortably attend school virtually, through September.
Parents can expect to pay less for supplies like Elmer's glue, which we recently saw for 50 cents. Also look for staplers priced at $6, printer paper from $4, and 10-packs of ballpoint pens for $1. Keep an eye on the standard office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot and OfficeMax; discounts could go almost as high as 90% off during school supply sales there. Even if the sales end, stores like Target and Walmart should still have strong savings on traditional school supplies.
While many students are starting off the school year by attending classes virtually, many parents are also still working from home. If you've been holding off on setting up a home office, or need to upgrade some of your items, September is a good time to watch for discounts. Our deal curators expect work-from-home deals to continue to be a strong area for savings during the month.
Unlike school supplies, the main work-from-home deals we've been seeing have been on items like monitors, laptops, and similar products. For instance, lately we've seen deals for 23"-27" monitors for $110 or less. And if you need a new device, know that we've seen new Chromebooks as cheap as $204 recently. Want a larger screen? We've also seen a few offers on 17" laptops from HP and Lenovo for $450 or less; some have received our Staff Pick designation.
In-Season Fruits and Veggies
September will herald the official end of summer, whether you count it as Labor Day or the first day of fall on the 22nd. Either way, there will still be ample opportunities to enjoy in-season produce. Given the recent onion and peach recalls, this seems like a good time to support local farmers, so you know where your produce is coming from.
If farmers markets are being held 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.
And 5 Things to Skip (For Now)
|Item||When to Buy||Why?|
|Older iPhones (Maybe)||Late September (Maybe) or October||The iPhone 12 lineup has been delayed, so don't expect price drops on older iPhones until the latest ones are released.|
|Airfare||Black Friday or Spring 2021||The travel industry is still trying to recover from the pandemic, and plenty of travel restrictions remain. It's best to give those time to be lifted before planning a flight anywhere.|
|TVs||Black Friday||We still expect Black Friday to have the absolute best prices on many electronics, including TVs.|
|Halloween Costumes||October||It might be tempting to buy sooner, but we'll see better deals during the month of October.|
|Broadway Tickets||Black Friday or December||Normally, we see Broadway tickets at half-off prices during September, but this year's season has been postponed until January 2021. Because of that, we're not expecting any deals on show tickets this early, though we might see some in November or December.|
Readers, what will you be shopping for in September? Let us know in the comments below.