Stock Up on Savings at Summer’s End

If you’re a savvy shopper, you know that August doesn’t just signal the end of summer and the beginning of a new traditional-calendar school year, but a complete change in inventory for major retailers as well. Back-to-school savings might be targeted towards the needs of children, but everyone can take advantage of these amazing markdowns.

For an even bigger savings, shop during North Carolina’s tax-free weekend, traditionally in early August, when clothing, shoes, school supplies, computer equipment and even sporting equipment can be bought tax-free (certain conditions apply).

You can stretch your budget further by stocking up on the following items during these end-of-summer sales for savings you will enjoy the whole year.

Clothing and shoes – The start of the regular school year always means the end of retailers selling summer apparel. Even if the temperature outside shows no signs of dropping, retailers are desperate to unload any piece of clothing that looks like it could be worn during warmer months.

So don’t just shop for your child’s back-to-school wardrobe, but for your entire family, as well. Not only will you find remarkable savings on clothing and shoes, but essentials such as socks and underwear will also be on sale.

Paper, pens and office supplies – Back-to-school savings events are the best time of the year to purchase items for your home office. For instance, during these seasonal sales, packs of lined paper are usually sold for 25 cents while the same pack of paper can cost $2 during the rest of the year. Pens, paperclips, binders, mailing labels and envelopes will all be marked down to their lowest price of the year.

Computers – If you’ve been looking to upgrade computer equipment, or you just want to add accessories, this is one of the best times to get amazing deals on computers and software. And if you shop during the tax-free weekend, you can save a bundle on computers included in the exemption.

Coolers – Traditionally considered a summer item, coolers can be put to good use any time of the year. Put one in the back of your car to store perishable items after a trip to the grocery store or stock one full of food for your next family vacation. Every family should have at least one cooler to use during an extended power failure for cold food that would otherwise rot in the refrigerator or freezer.

Storage containers – Back-to-school time is one of the best times to buy storage containers when the selection is plentiful and the prices are cheap. Retailers target students heading off to college, but you’ll want to stock up on containers for toys, blankets, clothing, family mementos and other objects that become clutter when not properly stored.

Sheets – Now is a great time to purchase sheets, comforters and bedding sets when new merchandise is unveiled for college students decorating their dorm rooms. Most of it will be on sale.

Beach accessories and sporting equipment – North Carolinians can enjoy hot-weather outdoor activities for a few more months, so take note of the lawn games, beach balls and swimming apparel that go on clearance in August. Buy a badminton set or a sand pail for the kids to play with instead of watching TV.

Better yet, stock up on unique items for winter holiday presents. A croquet set is a fun gift for the person who has everything, and kids will be delighted with a collection of outdoor toys for the family winter vacation to a warmer climate.

Pots and plants – Gardening supplies always go on sale at the beginning of the school year, but gardeners can enjoy plants indoors all year-round. Stock up on pots, soil and fertilizer to cultivate a green thumb throughout the year. Or buy extra potted plants to give as gifts for birthdays, housewarmings and hostess presents in the upcoming weeks.

Outdoor furniture – Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy time in your backyard. Patio dining sets, benches and weatherproof lamps are all on sale, perfect to enjoy during the autumn months. Stock up on barbecue accessories, too, if you want to enjoy grilled meals all year; it’s tough to find charcoal briquettes in the middle of February.

Kimberly Button is a freelance journalist and author of The Disney Queue Line Survival Guidebook.

Categories: Finance, Money