While some of us are getting pumped for afternoons at the pumpkin patch or the return of “Stranger Things” (#JusticeForBarb), here’s another reason to love October: It’s a good time to strike on these money-saving deals. And we’re talking way beyond Halloween candy or PSLs (although, if these are on your list, by all means … ). Here’s what to pick up this month, plus what you can skip.
What to Buy in October
1. A Starter Home: According to Trulia, the inventory for starter homes (homes valued in the lower third of the market) increases by about 7% in the fall compared with the spring. In fact, 70 of the largest 100 metros see a starter-home inventory peak beginning in October. More supply leads to lower listing prices — a drop of about 4.8% in the winter versus summer.
This could be good news if you live in San Jose, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; San Francisco or Phoenix — these markets see the biggest increase in inventory during the non-peak homebuying season (fall and winter) compared with peak season (spring and summer). Areas with the largest dip in prices include Wichita, Kansas; Seattle; San Jose, California; Oakland, California; and Denver.
2. Holiday Airfare: Here’s where it pays to be that person dreaming of tinsel before the leaves start changing. Stats from Hipmunk show booking by October 30 for Thanksgiving flights can save the average traveler up to 24% off peak prices. And booking Christmas travel by the end of the month can yield 31% in savings. After Halloween, prices for flights continue to inch up every day.
To save even further, research prices on one-way tickets across multiple carriers, and review costs to fly in and out of different airports, recommends consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch. “The more flexible you are on departure and return dates and airport choices,” she says, “the better prices you will find.”
3. Denim (and Other Fall Duds): Back-to-school styles will be on clearance through October’s mid-season sales, especially where denim is concerned. Look for discounts of up to 30% off on jeans. “Other fall clothing is also a good buy,” Woroch says. “Especially around Columbus Day weekend when many retailers offer additional coupons on top of reduced merchandise.”
4. All Things Outdoors: Nurture your green thumb, upgrade your patio for one last fall cookout, or prepare for your next camping adventure with savings in the gardening and outdoor essentials department. Check your favorite home improvement stores for discounts on houseplants, gardening supplies, grills and patio furniture as they clear inventory to make way for winter items. Camping gear will also see a price slash, so you can replace your old equipment (and maybe squeeze in one last adventure) before temps drop.
What to Skip in October
1. Tech, Electronics and Small Appliances: Now that we’re basically in the home stretch to holiday madness, any major purchases involving TVs, phones, tablets, laptops, gaming systems and any other kind of tech should wait until Black Friday. The annual holiday kickoff comes earlier and gets bigger and more competitive among retailers every year, so shoppers can save hundreds on planned purchases by waiting until late November. The same goes for small appliances, from blenders to vacuums, which are typically offered up as doorbuster deals.
2. Diamond Rings: Between family Christmas dinner and toasting to the New Year, December marks the most popular time to get engaged, according to The Knot. But love comes at a price, and jewelers mark up engagement rings by October when ring shoppers begin their search.
“The best time to buy a diamond is in the middle of summer when no big holidays or major celebrations take place,” Woroch says. “Jewelry retailers often lower their prices in July — some by as much as 30% off — to maintain sales during the downtime.” Translation: For the best deal, better plan that summer or fall proposal for next year.
3. Winter Clothes: Super-early birds may think they’re getting a deal by scooping up any coats, gloves or boots leftover in store inventories from winter 2016, but they’d be jumping the gun on both selection and savings. “The best deals on winter merchandise is in January during post-Christmas sales,” Woroch says. “If you can’t hold off that long, look for big savings during Black Friday weekend both in stores and online.” Until then, all the more room in your closet to expand your denim collection, right?