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Best Things to Buy in October — and 5 Things to Skip

Written by Amy Boyington | October 1, 2021

When you think of saving money and shopping sales, October probably isn't the first month to cross your mind. While it is somewhat of an outlier when it comes to shopping for holiday discounts, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any savings in store. Here are some unique deals you can expect to find in October, along with a few items you should hold off on a little longer.

The Best Things to Buy in October

Beauty Products

Beauty Products

Makeup, hair, and skincare products all seem to have great deals in October, including some of your favorite beauty brands, including MAC Cosmetics, L'Oreal, and Estée Lauder. Keep an eye out for department stores like Kohl's and Macy's to start dropping prices in early to mid-October, with BOGO and other sales to stock up your beauty supplies. Check out Dermstore, too, for price drops on hair styling tools, skincare serums, cosmetics, and more.

Halloween Goodies

Halloween Goodies

We know — waiting until the last minute to buy decorations and supplies for an upcoming holiday isn't everyone's cup of tea. But we promise, if you can wait until October to start buying all your Halloween essentials, like candy, costumes, and ghoulish decorations, your bank account will thank you. Expect to see prices drop on Halloween stock as soon as October hits and definitely by mid-month. This is when stores are already planning their holiday inventory and displays and begin clearing out their Halloween items as quickly as possible.

If you really want to shop smart, wait until the very end of October to buy costumes and decorations for next year. This is when all the biggest discounts hit the shelves. Also, shop online for Halloween goodies for 80% or more off regular prices!

Pool Equipment

Pool Equipment

Unless you have an indoor pool or live in a warmer climate, you're probably not swimming too much in October. As pools close down for the season, the discounts rise on pool gear. Check out Home Depot and Lowe's for quick-set pools, above-ground pools, pool cleaners and tools, heaters, pumps, and more. Now is also a great time to grab pool toys and floaties to accessorize your pool for next year.

Backpacks

Backpacks

The kids have been in school for a while now, so you'll no longer see full prices on school essentials like pencils, lunch bags, and binders. Backpacks are one of the first things to see a dip in pricing, as most families buy new ones before the start of the school year to stay prepared. But, you can start a new tradition. Hold off on buying backpacks for the kids until October, and you'll find the best deals. Plus, if you look for quality bags, like those from JanSport, you can expect them to last well into October of next year when you do your next backpack shopping trip. JanSport even lets you check out with Klarna when you shop online to split your total into interest-free payments.

Shoes

Shoes

Another result of a drop in back-to-school shopping is the decline in shoe prices in early October. But don't expect to find much savings on fall or winter boots just yet because those are just hitting the shelves. Instead, look for discounts on athletic sneakers, dress shoes, sandals, and other shoes fit for warm weather. The Ariat clearance section is an excellent place to start looking for sales on loafers, sneakers, and other shoes for men, women, and kids, and Boden usually offers some deep discounts on its summer stock this time of year.

Home Goods

Home Goods

Home goods, including garden items, tools, appliances, and outdoor decor, should all start seeing lower prices in October. Pay close attention to outdoor stuff, including plants, outdoor furniture, and lawn care items. But with Columbus Day falling in mid-October, you can expect to see sales of 25% off or more on several home goods categories at top retailers, like RST Brands, Kirkland's, and Build.com.

5 Things to Skip in October

1. Home Services and Renovations

The spring and summer seasons keep home renovation companies busy, busy, busy. Although new contracts usually die down in the fall, many companies still have leftover projects they need to wrap up by October. So, consider waiting until November to take care of any non-emergency projects in your home or office space. This is usually the time of year that things wind down for contractors, leaving them looking for more work — and potentially open to offering some discounts.

2. Gift Cards

It's tough to find sales on gift cards, as they typically hold the same value as you pay for them. Selling them for less could make stores lose money. Still, gift card promotions do happen occasionally, but you're much likelier to find them in December after Black Friday comes and goes. Why? Gift cards are popular sellers before and during the holiday shopping season, but their sales slow down a bit by December. This is when stores might offer deals like lower-priced or free gift cards with your purchase, especially if you use a store credit card.

3. Bath and Bedding Items

Most home goods might be excellent buys in October, but skip the bath and bedding items for now. These are some of the most common items to go on sale for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which happen in November. Count on Belk to offer up to 80% off in clearance on bedding sets, bath towels, and more.

4. Wedding Dresses

October is a busy month for weddings, so it's best to shop before or after the month for your dream gown. Starting in November, wedding dress shops will begin to discount their current stock to make room for the busy wedding season coming up in spring. Wedding favors and decor will be lower-priced then too.

5. Activewear

Add to the list yet another item that's best to wait to buy when Black Friday sales hit: activewear. From joggers and leggings to tank tops and hoodies, leisure and activewear see rock-bottom prices in November and into December, when fewer people are stocking up for outdoor and gym activities. Check out Athleta for women's activewear reduced to incredible prices of 70% off or more.

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