Virginians are in the midst of a back-to-school tax holiday weekend. School and office supplies have been deeply discounted, and fall clothing is taking the place of swimsuits on the racks.
But these aren’t the only bargains to keep an eye out for this time of year.
I spoke to Brett Billick, senior director of Deals2Buy, a website that seeks out the best deals for shoppers, and he provided some insight on what to buy and what to steer clear of as we approach the end of summer.
Even though the new stock of clothing in stores is tempting, Billick recommended shopping for summery pieces like swimsuits and sunglasses.
“1 Sale A Day is a site we typically find good deals on. I think a lot of people who want sunglasses have already bought them, so that’s why you can find good deals on them now,” he said.
Similarly, most summer travel plans have already taken place or been booked, making this a good time to check around for vacation packages and flights.
Deals2Buy has found bargains on packages and flights starting as low as $89 each way. These deals will continue to get better through September. Travelers will be relieved to know it’s also a great time to pick up new luggage. Billick touted eBags for having good prices recently on luggage and other travel accessories.
If you’ve already been on vacation or prefer a staycation, there are plenty of warm days left to enjoy the outdoors, and luckily it’s the perfect time to purchase new patio furniture.
Billick said, “There are a ton of really good outdoor deals right now, patio especially. Home Depot and Walmart are really battling each other with great patio dining sets right now.”
Other products like pools, coolers and camping gear have also been listed recently in the Sports & Outdoors category on Deals2Buy. Some items on the list up were to 70 percent off at the time this column was written.
One surprising item Billick mentioned: wine. He said many wineries are discounting last year’s wines and rolling out bottles from a new harvest. The best way to find these deals is to visit individual wineries, or look for special promotions from wine clubs.
If you want to stick to online shopping, Amazon has also been competitive with the big box stores.
“There’s an Amazon clearance deal that’s up to 60 percent off shoes and bags. That’s one of the deeper ones [discounts] we’re seeing right now,” Billick said.
Additionally, Amazon never charges sales tax and offers free shipping on most orders more than $25.
Amazon, Walmart and Home Depot also have all been aggressive with pricing both in stores and online, Billick explained. There are multiple daily deals, online specials and in-store promotions. Many retailers are trying to lure in shoppers with back-to-school bargains, then entice them with other deals.
So, what products should stay on your wish list for now?
Billick said that outside of a few daily deals or Black Friday in July promotions, Deals2Buy hasn’t seen great prices on televisions and electronics lately.
The best time to purchase these items is generally on Black Friday or during the holiday season. Deals2Buy also recommends shoppers wait until Labor Day weekend sales to purchase new fall clothing, accessories and home goods.
The best advice Billick had to offer was a reminder to shop smart and be patient.
“I think the main thing is to keep checking, because odds are the things that you want will eventually be on sale or clearance,” he said. “It’s about being patient and watching and knowing when you want to step in to buy.”