Labor Day may be the unofficial send-off to summer (excuse me while I go cry) but it's also a long weekend filled with some pretty great shopping deals — and that I can get on board with.
But as with most sales, it's important to be sure you're getting an actual deal and not getting stuck in a seasonal trap. Here's how to find the deepest discounts fast, so you can get back to frosé-sipping with your family.
What to Buy
1. Summer Clothes
You may be eager to trade in your sundresses and shorts for jeans, sweaters and boots, but the deepest discounts will be on summer clothes, shoes and swimwear — up to 60% to 75% off, says consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. Keep in mind, we still have some warm weeks ahead, so consider buying your kids' back-to-school clothes from the summer clearance racks, and plan for next spring and summer while you're at it.
Not sure where to start? Gap is offering up to 50% off everything in its online store, plus an extra 20% off your purchase through September 2, while sister-store and fam favorite Old Navy has 40% off its online store and kids' jeans starting at $10. You can also find up to 40% off select items at Nordstrom starting Friday through September 10.
2. Patio Furniture and Grills
Like summer apparel, you may want to plan for next year and nab your outdoor furnishings for cheap now. Outdoor furniture like tables, chairs and patio umbrellas can be found for up to 75% off, according to Kendal Perez, savings expert with CouponSherpa. Check out retailers like Wayfair and Overstock, which both boast up to 70% off. Target is also offering up to 30% off their patio furniture, with an extra 15% off until September 4.
Of course, what's the point of having beautiful patio furniture if you don't have a barbecue for people to enjoy it? Since they're larger-ticket items, you won't see the same savings on grills, but Perez estimates prices may be slashed up to 20%, like these grills and smokers from Lowe's.
When you think of Labor Day, you probably don't think of mattresses, but a lot of retailers will be offering sales, says Woroch, up to 40% to 60% off. Both Sleep Number and Macy's have significant discounts on their inventory and Casper is offering $100 off through September 5.
Woroch recommends going to a store to try different models, but comparison shop for both in-store and online prices to negotiate a better deal.
4. Travel and Cars
Holiday weekends usually translate to car sales, but you'll have even more bargaining power this weekend because 2018 models are hitting lots, explains Woroch. With this influx of inventory, dealers are looking to move out the old to make room for the new, which could mean big savings for you. Be on the lookout for several cars of the same make and model, advises Woroch, as dealers will be more likely to let them go for less. And pay attention to financing offers.
With summer vacations winding down and holiday travel not ramping up for a couple of months, this is also a good time to snag a cheap flight or hotel, especially if you have a flexible schedule and can choose dates based on the biggest discount. You can save up to 50%, plus an additional 8% on rooms through Hotels.com.
Tips for Additional Savings
1. Go Early
While the weekend is still a couple days away, sales have already begun at many retailers. Perez advises starting your shopping as early as possible so you don't have to shop among the crowds come Labor Day proper.
Of course, if that's not a possibility, Woroch suggests at least going early Saturday morning, before the masses descend and the aisles turn into chaos. Not only will you have a more relaxed experience overall, but you'll also be less likely to mistakenly check out with any full-priced items that were misplaced in the sale racks.
2. Compare Prices
Both Perez and Woroch can't stress this one enough. Sites like flipp.com will let you browse weekly ads to see what's on sale before you get to the store, while the ShopSavvy app can be used while you're shopping to get instant price comparisons.
Perez also recommends checking Amazon's prices, not only to see if they have the best price, but also because stores like Target and BestBuy will match Amazon's prices.
3. Stack Deals
Many stores are offering additional coupons on top of their store-wide sales, so be sure to research these beforehand to make sure you're maxing out your savings. And if your preferred retailer doesn't have a coupon but a similar store does, ask if they'll match it — it's more likely to happen than you may think, says Woroch.
4. Know When to Wait
There may be sale signs everywhere you turn, but it'll pay to skip some items this weekend. Fall clothes, for instance, will see much greater discounts come October and November, says Woroch, and hold out until Black Friday and Cyber Monday for electronics, from phones to TVs to laptops.
You'll also want to wait on fall seasonal decor, as well as Halloween costumes. The biggest savings for these will be right after Halloween, so start thinking about what you want to be next year.