What to Buy (and What Not to Buy) in October


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When it comes to shopping, October is an odd month sitting smack in the middle of the back-to-school frenzy and the holiday extravaganza. But there are plenty of October deals to be had. The best buys range from leftover items from previous months to goods discounted in advance of the big shopping days to come. And don't forget, October concludes with Halloween.

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Unless you thought way ahead and bought a costume and decorations last November, when prices were at their lowest, be on the lookout for bargains this month. The closer the holiday, the bigger the deals, as retailers try to clear the shelves by Halloween. There is a time constraint, however -- you won't find many costume choices and sizes if you wait too long. The best time to buy is mid-month, when the selection is still decent and prices have started dropping.

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Much like the month of October, denim is in a down time between back-to-school shopping and the holiday season. Retailers want to sell off back-to-school denim and make room for the winter trends that will appear on gift lists, so keep your eye out for October deals on jeans.

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Apple's new iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X were announced Sept. 12. That means now is the time to buy a 7S or 7S Plus at a discount. Along with the release of a new iPhone comes a slew of new cases, headphones, and other accessories. If you have an older model iPhone, you can get accessories for less as retailers look to move them out.

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October is prime time for striking a deal on a new car that happens to be stamped with last year's date. Auto dealers are eager to make room on their lots for 2018 models.

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This is most likely the last month when shoppers will see patio furniture, yard tools, and summer-themed decor in stores until next spring. Add air conditioners to the list of October deals and get ready for next summer now, for less.

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With summer hikes and campouts now a memory, camping gear will go on sale this month. Find cheap and discounted sleeping bags, tents, and other camping equipment.

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Prices on cruises and vacations typically take a dip in October, the shoulder month between summer vacations and holiday travel. With school is back in session, many destinations aren't very crowded but still enjoy balmy and temperate weather. This year, however, vacation options -- especially in Florida and the Caribbean -- will be likely be limited in the wake of hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Jose.

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October is when the fall bounty begins coming in and some warm-weather plants produce their final yields. Look for cheap apples, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cranberries, grapes, honeydew melon, kale, leeks, lettuce, oranges, pears, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, and yams. If there's an apple orchard nearby, picking your own may be cheaper and make for a fun weekend outing, not to mention nutritious and budget-friendly meals.

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September and October used to be the prime time to buy big appliances, because this is when new models are introduced. In recent years, however, big appliance deals have been popping up in November, especially around Black Friday, so hold off a few weeks before hitting the stores.

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Deals on pots, pans, and small kitchen appliances are also more enticing next month, so don't bother searching right now. Better to wait for Black Friday sales and other holiday discounts.