This post is by Lindsay Sakraida and Louis Ramirez of DealNews.com.
October is a tricky month because we’re so close to November — and the best Black Friday deals — that we can almost taste it. So for many product categories, you’re better off waiting until next month to buy. But don’t overlook October entirely! There are a handful of items that are actually better buys this month, and our October buying guide focuses on those things that you should buy now, while offering some notes about the categories that are better left to Black Friday.
9 deals you should buy in October
If you’re putting off the following purchases because you think that you’ll score a better deal next month, then think again. These items are at their hottest this month.
Since many manufacturers release new car models in September, experts in the industry claim that dealerships will start slashing prices on older models. These discounts start in September, but according to Forbes, they become substantially better in October. As a result, you can save 10% to 20% or more on a 2013 car this month.
Sure, the best time to buy a Halloween costume is on or about Nov. 1, as all seasonal items fall in price once their corresponding holiday has passed. However, who really wants to buy a costume after Halloween? The week before Oct. 31, numerous stores like Target, Meijer, Carter’s and BuyCostumes will offer discounts ranging from the modest (30% to 50% off) and the downright affordable (up to 85% off sales that mostly include accessories).
October is commonly known as the “shoulder season” in the travel industry, and according to Rick Steves, it “combines the advantages of both peak-season and off-season travel … you’ll enjoy decent weather, long-enough daylight, fewer crowds, and a local tourist industry still ready to please and entertain.” Oh, and deals. Booking a trip to a locale that’s experiencing a dip in business, like a summer-heavy destination, will yield excellent discounts since there isn’t an influx of travelers to push up the prices.
You can get great cruise deals in October for the same reason that general travel is well-priced this time of year: The shoulder season signifies a drop in demand. And in addition to super cheap prices — recently we’ve seen two-person Caribbean cruises for less than $300 — travelers can get a discount by opting for a “repositioning cruise” which Newsday explains is a one-way trip that a cruise line runs to sail a ship back to its base location. Couple that with a super cheap one-way flight, and you’ve got a budget-friendly vacation at sea.
According to CNN, October is a slow month for Broadway, so you’re likely to find an abundance of discounted tickets and special promotions; last month, Amtrak offered “buy one, get one free” tickets to its rewards members. Since September is also a slow month, it’s reasonable to expect to see similar deals in October.
Many artists drop new albums in October, and if they maintain the current trend, several will release free track downloads or will offer free album streaming in advance of the record release date. Want to hear it first? Keep an eye on your favorite band’s Facebook page for free tracks or streaming promotions. Also be on the look out for advance copies on Amazon, as the store often offers pre-sales of big-name albums for much cheaper than other stores.
At this point, many parents have already stocked up on the majority of school supplies that their kids will need, so stores will be moving any remaining items to the bargain bins. Target, for example, has a slew of items in its Back-to-School Clearance Sale. This sale is great for anything you forgot to pick up, or if you’re an adult who still gets sentimental at the sight of Trapper Keepers.
While you won’t find particularly good deals on equipment specifically made to endure extreme cold temperatures, October is a great time to shop end-of-season clearance sales from outdoors retailers like REI and Cabela’s. At the moment, REI’s sale discounts mild weather items like open-air coverings, pop-up chairs and mesh tents at 60% to 75% off.
iPhone 5 cases
While the newly-announced iPhone 5S will technically still fit into the older iPhone 5 cases, it features a different type of lens and flash technology that is obstructed by certain older cases. Moreover, any iPhone 5 case that covered the home button will render the fingerprint sensor on the 5S completely useless. Finally, since the iPhone 5 was also discontinued, retailers will be slashing prices on iPhone 5 cases to clear out the stock while they can. And because small accessories like cases aren’t major players on Black Friday, you likely won’t regret buying now.
Wait until Black Friday to buy…
While there are some great deals in October, there’s no denying that November is a month full of stunningly low prices on a variety of electronics and other goods. Below we’ve focused on some of the bigger Black Friday deals that you should plan to buy in November.
Conventional wisdom says to buy large appliances in September and October, because this is when manufacturers like LG, Maytag and Whirlpool debut their new models. However, unlike cars, our archives show that you’ll see at least double the number of Editors’ Choice deals on these items in November because such items will be included in Black Friday sales. There will be more than twice as many deals in November on the whole that discount washers, dryers, vacuums and the like from department and home improvement stores. (Read more about Black Friday appliance deals.)
Cold weather apparel
It’s too early in the fall season to see significant deals on winter wear, and the sharpest discounts on cold weather apparel and accessories won’t come until January. That said, if you can, wait at least until the end of November; during Black Friday clothes sales, a wealth of apparel retailers will offer their best coupon of the year, which may take a full 50% off or more.
There’s no guarantee that the electronics of your dreams will see infamous rock-bottom prices, but across many categories, we see the best prices of the year on electronics in November and especially around Black Friday weekend. Most people are aware that this is a trend for TVs and budget laptops, but digital cameras, media players and home theater components could also see their best prices of the year in just a few short weeks — before they’re replaced by newer models next year. And while Apple Black Friday discounts aren’t exactly “fire sale” caliber, you will find above-average discounts on current and previous generation Apple products from resellers.
If there were ever a month to avoid purchasing a new HDTV, October would be it. Not because of their horrible prices, but because of the buyer’s remorse you’ll feel upon seeing drastically lower prices in November. And while you may think Black Friday TV deals are primarily on bargain bin sets, even premium models will see discounts later in December and January. So regardless of the TV you’re looking for, we highly recommend waiting until November when you’ll see numerous Editors’ Choice-level TV deals every day.
That said, we understand not everyone can wait an extra month. In that case, we recommend going where the deals are, and that’s with 55″ 3D TVs and 46″ to 47″ TVs. For the past two months, deals on the former have hit $700, which is the second-best price of the year for this category. Look for deals on brands like Samsung and LG, many of which come with built-in WiFi and Smart TV support. Alternatively, 47″ LCD HDTVs hit a new low last month coming in at $298, setting a new, record low price for this category.
Once again, you will find better laptop deals in November. However, even more so than a TV, waiting to buy a laptop may just not be realistic. In that case, look out for quad-core systems, which dropped to the same price as dual-core laptops last month for the first time: 15″ quad-core AMD machines hit an all-time low of $250, the same as dual-core. Now that the two categories have crossed paths economically, we think it’s likely that you’ll see more $250-range quad-core machines in the future, specifically on Black Friday.
If you prefer to remain loyal to Intel, 15″ Core i7 Haswell laptops saw the biggest price cuts last month, falling 20% from their August low. At $550, these laptops pack a serious amount of power for your money. However, the average user will still benefit from a Core i3- or Core i5-based Ivy Bridge machine, which came in at $230 and $400, respectively.
For more price trend information, check out our consumer shopping research page.