At long last, summer is coming to an end (depending on where you live, anyway). Along with crisper nights and the first signs of fall (we hope), September brings Labor Day (Sept. 4 this year) — and the best sales on big-ticket items you’ll find until Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
While Labor Day itself is on Sept. 4, shoppers can expect sales to go live more than a week earlier and run a few days later, leaving them a good chunk of time to shop. That’s a good thing because Labor Day sales often feature big-ticket items, such as grills, furniture, appliances and mattresses — purchases shoppers might need a bit more time to research. Don’t wait too long, though; by the end of the long weekend, selection will dwindle.
In addition to big-ticket buys, Labor Day sales are filled with smaller-ticket steals, like home decor products, small electronics and, of course, clothing. Check out our list of everything to buy on Labor Day and three things to skip.
Labor Day isn’t the only smart time to shop in September. In fact, even if you miss Labor Day deals, September is full of smart buys. To help you take full advantage of the best early-fall savings, we used our internal discount data to calculate average discounts September shoppers can expect in popular categories — and zero in on the Top 5 categories to shop this month.
5 Things to Buy in September
If any of these items are on your shopping list, September is the time to buy.
1. Health and Beauty Products (Average Discount: 24% Off)
Beauty and personal care products are seasonal, and we’re about to switch seasons. Expect to see beauty retailers like Ulta plugging “stock up for fall” deals, including BOGO offers on self-care items, fresh makeup brushes and more. Last year, we saw an “Oh Snap!” fall edition from Sephora. And, last year, the CVS Epic Beauty Event ran Aug. 28 to Sept. 24, offering up to 40% off hundreds of products and bonus points for rewards members.
It’s also a smart move to check out the clearance/sale section at makeup retailers to find deals on summery items. Sephora’s sale section, for example, is usually filled with hot pinks, vibrant eyeshadow palettes and bronzers come September.
So take full advantage and refresh your makeup drawer in time for fall outings and holiday parties.
2. Clothing (Average Discount: 21% Off)
September (Labor Day and beyond) is a great time to shop for warm-weather clothing. Retailers are trying to get any remaining shorts, tees and bathing suits out the door. Many are also overstocked with back-to-school clothing, including jeans, which they’ll also mark down. They need to make room for all those bulky winter items, after all!
To find these end-of-summer clothing deals, simply go to your favorite retailers’ sites and look for “clearance” sales. Or just head straight to the sale or clearance section of the site — that’s where you’ll find all the warm-weather fashions hanging out. In particular, check retailers like Kohl’s and Old Navy, which are known to offer both clearance deals and promo codes this time of year.
Looking for fall clothing? Wait until November to start shopping for it. That said, if you manage to catch Labor Day sales, you’ll find some good deals on fall fashion as well.
3. Travel (Average Discount: 19% Off)
The time between back-to-school and the holidays is a bit of a lull for the travel industry, so those shopping for fall travel in September can generally find some good deals. Expect discounts on cruises, as well as on hotels at top vacation destinations.
As September rolls out, be sure to check travel booking sites, like Expedia and Priceline, for ongoing fall travel discounts as cruises and hotels try to sell off inventory. Note that the best prices will be for travel in the fall — holiday travel fares will likely remain high.
4. Home Furnishing (Average Discount: 18% Off)
Labor Day is a major sale event for home goods, especially big-ticket items like furniture, mattresses and appliances. Be sure to check out Wayfair and Bed Bath & Beyond (now operated by Overstock, so you know they’ll bring the furniture deals).
In particular, pay particular attention to patio furniture. While stock will dwindle after Labor Day, what’s left will be on clearance.
5. Sporting Goods (Average Discount: 17% Off)
Football and tailgating season arrives in September, and retailers will be kicking off deals on everything you need to cheer on your favorite team, from T-shirts, to caps, to drink wear, to camping chairs. Pay close attention to Academy Sports + Outdoors, Dick’s Sporting Goods and NFLShop.com in particular.
In past years, we saw 20% to 50% off fan apparel during September. True, you might find even better clearance deals towards the end of the season, but shopping now gets you the wardrobe and gear you need to enjoy the season ahead.
Not rooting for any team in particular? The Sporting Goods category boasts more than just jerseys. The end of summer is the perfect time to shop for yard games, Pickleball gear and camping equipment — summer related items will all be on sale to make room for hunting season, skiing season and cold weather activities.
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