You're ready to hit the Labor Day sales. You made your list, you've compared deals and you've got your game face on. But there's one thing you may not know: Sometimes, the smartest way to shop is not to.
Indeed, certain items are actually best bought long after Labor Day sales have come and gone. Before you hit the stores this weekend, do your homework by browsing NerdWallet Shopping's DealFinder to compare prices and avoid "deals" that aren't really deals.
Here are five things that you shouldn't buy this Labor Day:
Labor Day sale ads often tout deals on electronics, but the best time to get a deep discount on this stuff is later in the year, during the Black Friday sales frenzy. If you're looking for televisions, computers, laptops, video game systems, camcorders, GPS navigators or digital cameras, the end-of-year discounts are worth the wait.
Since Labor Day weekend is the unofficial start of fall, stores are rolling out their trendy cool-weather apparel—and often advertising them as being on sale. But fall and winter clothing will not reach its lowest price until later in the season. The higher priority for clothing stores is to get rid of summer clothing, which is quickly losing its usefulness and, in some cases, going out of style. So, at least for this weekend, you're better off buying next year's swimsuit than this year's sweater.
After Labor Day, it's out with the old and in with the new when it comes to summer's must-haves. Prices on patio furniture, outdoor accessories and pool supplies will hit rock bottom later in September. The further away from summer we get, the more desperate stores are to unload summer goods and make room for winter gear, which equals lots of clearances and discounts. If you're thinking of updating your outdoor-living essentials, try to push your purchases as deep into September as possible.
For children's toys, think Christmas: Toys reach their lowest prices in anticipation of the holiday season. For great deals on existing toy models, shop in October or November, when stores are making room for the hottest new toys. If you want one of those buzzy new items, alas; this year's Zhu Zhu Pet or Big Hugs Elmo won't be discounted until late December, when the hype has started to fade. So hold off on toy purchases for a month or two—if the kids in your life can wait.
With the holiday season looming, now would seem a good time to beat the rush and stock up on cookware for your holiday feasting. But if you want the best deal on kitchen appliances and baking essentials, hold off a while longer. November and December are the best months of the year for purchasing cookware. This includes everything from cutlery and bakeware to small appliances.
So go ahead and hit those Labor Day sales—there are plenty of deals to be had. Let this advice be your guide, and remember: Patience can be a shopping virtue.
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