Let’s face it—aside from the extra time off of work and the opportunity to spend the long weekend with family, one of the greatest perks of Labor Day is the great sales. From big box retailers to exclusive boutiques and electronics shops, stores everywhere will be offering rock-bottom prices to entice folks to break out the cash this Labor Day weekend. And while we’re all for a great discount (hello, Clearance!), we also know that not every deal is what it seems. So before heading out to the mall, follow these tips from shopping expert Andrea Woroch to ensure that you’re making smart purchases and not wasting your hard-earned money
Buy: Summer Clothes
Stock up on summer clearance clothing like tank tops, shorts and t-shirts. Not only will your kids get use from these threads through the first few weeks of school with the warm weather, but they can be layered in the winter to stay warm. Use Labor Day coupons from sites like Coupon Sherpa to save even more at your favorite stores.
Skip: Sweaters and Denim
There are a few weeks left before the weather really cools down, so fall clothing like sweaters, jeans and jackets aren’t a necessity right now. The best time to buy such cool-weather apparel is in October. For anything that you need to replace or update now, check out gently-used options at used clothing outlets like thredUp.com.
Since sneakers are a back-to-school necessity, take advantage of Labor Day Sales this weekend at a nearby outlet center. You’ll find deeper discounts on already reduced prices at stores like Adidas Outlet and Nike Outlet, or check out Famous Footwear where you can score a coupon for an additional 15% off your purchase.
Whether your child needs boots for rainy weather or simply to stay on trend with other classmates, now is not a good time to buy them. Generally, the best deals come in November when retailers begin pushing sales for Christmas holiday shoppers.
Buy: Outdoor Essentials
Grab end-of-season sales of 40 to 60% off outdoor entertaining goods like grills and umbrellas. You can even scoop up deals on camping goods for your family to use next summer.
Skip: Halloween Costumes
Retailers are already pushing Halloween, with costumes and decor lining store shelves. Don’t be fooled by sale prices on such goods this weekend—the best deals for Halloween come just a couple of days before the big event. But, if there’s a specific costume your child wants, don’t wait too long. Look for sales around mid-October at sites like BuyCostumes.com.
The two best times of the year to buy a laptop are during back to school season and Black Friday weekend, and Labor Day represents a chance to save even more on sale prices. Scope out deals at nearby electronic retailers like Best Buy or Target, then compare prices using the RedLaser App as most major stores will price match.
Apple will likely release the newest iPhone on Wednesday, September 9, so hold off until this news is announced before updating or buying a new smartphone. Once the latest device is released, you’ll find huge discounts on old iPhone models, plus additional savings on Android devices competing with Apple to make sales.
Buy: Mattresses and Furniture
Holiday weekends represent big sales on big-ticket items like mattresses, appliances and furniture. If you want to upgrade your children’s bedroom furniture or find a new mattress, now is a good time to do it. Test drive mattress options before the weekend rush and take note of pre-sale prices so you can spot the stand out offers. Get ready to haggle on these more expensive goods and make sure to compare prices at competitors in your area before making the final decision.
Despite what a car dealership’s banner tells you, Labor Day doesn’t promise the biggest discounts on a new vehicle. That’s because the holiday falls at the beginning of the month. Sales associates will be more motivated to bargain with you at the end of the month when they’re trying to meet sales quotas. Better yet, wait for major price reductions on 2015 models in October.
Andrea Woroch is a money-saving expert who transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers by sharing smart spending tips and personal finance advice. For more information, visit www.AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter or Facebook for daily money tips.