September is an exciting month for bargain hunters. Not only does it bring us one step closer to the holiday season — which is the best time of year for many big-ticket items — but this month is also a great time to stock up on a variety of items, thanks to a small overlap in Labor Day, summer clearance, and back-to-school sales. So while the end of summer may be upon us, the best deals of the year are only now just beginning.
Check out our guide below for tips on the best things to buy in September. For more deals every single day of the month, consider signing up for the DealNews Select Newsletter to get the best deals of the day delivered to your inbox.
9 Things to Buy Now
Labor Day Sales on Summer Apparel
Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer. That means all summer-related goods will be at or near their lowest prices of the year, as stores try to clear out summer inventories ahead of the holidays. Expect to see sales from major retailers like Gap, Banana Republic, and Forever 21 offering 50% to 70% off. Last year Amazon discounted a wide range of men's, women's, and children's apparel; though it was a modest 20% off, that might be worth it for Prime members.
Outdoorsy goods were also popular last year. We saw strong discounts from stores like REI, L.L. Bean, Eddie Bauer, and Nautica, and expect the same this year. Also be on the lookout for an influx of deals on designer clothes. Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Calvin Klein (at 6pm) all saw discounts of up to 80% off last year.
September offers the best deals on grills and BBQ-related utensils. Although grills are generally associated with the summer, the less humid autumn weather may actually provide a more ideal climate for your backyard soirees, so rest assured that any investment you make this month can still be put to use in the coming weeks.
SEE ALSO: When is the Best Time to Buy a Grill?
Similar to grills, patio furniture sees some of its lowest prices of the year at the end of outdoor season. We recommended patio furniture purchases last month, too, with August providing six times as many Editors' Choice deals as June and July. And September has twice the percentage of Editors' Choice patio furniture deals as August! Look to Target and Sears for discounts of around 40% off.
Freebies on National Coffee Day
Coffee is one of the most beloved morning beverages, so it's no surprise that it has its own holiday. September 29 is National Coffee Day and to celebrate, food chains across the country will offer free or discounted cups of joe to their customers. Last year, we saw freebies (no purchase required) from Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme, Flying J, Pilot, and LaMar's.
One notable exception: Starbucks did not offer a freebie; instead the chain chose to kick off a charity initiative on Coffee Day last year.
32" TVs, or Big-Screens
September is traditionally a stellar month for deals on 32" 1080p HDTVs. Not only will deals be abundant for this category, but they'll be at the lowest prices of the year. Last year, they hit an astounding $110, though $150 is a more realistic bet. These small screens are perfect for a dorm room or first apartment.
Outside of 32" TVs, the other end of the size spectrum is hot for deals in September. During Labor Day weekend in 2015, a full quarter of the TV deals we listed that were 55" or larger were at an Editors' Choice price. Otherwise, if you can't find a low price on the set you want, we recommend waiting until November for TV purchases.
Mattress deals are generally at their best during the months of April and May, when retailers add stackable coupons to their already-existing sales. However, Labor Day has become a mattress event itself. US-Mattress, Sam's Club, and Sears in particular had noteworthy sales taking 50% off select mattresses with an extra 10% to 40% off via a stackable coupon. That's on par with the best mattress deals we see in April and May.
If you're in the market for a new laptop, make your purchase early in the month to take advantage of lingering back-to-school sales. Last year, 75% of the Editors' Choice laptop deals we saw were in September. Look for deals on 15" laptops with current-generation Intel Skylake processors from Cowboom, Dell Home, Newegg, Lenovo, and more.
For Apple users, we recommend bypassing the Apple Store's back-to-school sale, which this year (like last year) offers a free pair of Beats Solo2 On-Ear headphones to qualifying students. Instead, look for Mac deals at Best Buy, eBay, and Micro Center. There you'll find the 2015 MacBook Air 11" Laptop for around $700, and the 13" for around $750 — a better value than a full-price laptop with headphones.
Many students will head to college for the first time this September, and while it may be too late to apply for new scholarships, there are still many ways you can reduce your college expenses. For instance, these days students can find cheap college textbooks online, by either comparison shopping or using social media to trade/borrow books from other students in their college. The earlier you begin your search, the greater your chances of scoring a deal.
September wouldn't be the same without Apple's fall keynote, where we're expecting the debut of the iPhone 7. Look for sales that discount the previous-generation iPhone — since that's where you'll find the deepest price cuts — rather than the just-released model.
For instance, on the day of the keynote, Apple will shave $100 off the subsidized cost of an iPhone 6s. But it won't stop there. In the weeks that follow, you can expect retailers (such as eBay, Walmart, and Best Buy) to offer iPhone 6s deals with prices around $50 (with a 2-year contract). For unlocked models, you'll find the best deals on eBay where prices for an unlocked iPhone 6 could hit $500 (it's been around $610 all summer). Remember, you can always sell your old iPhone to help offset the cost of a new unlocked model.
3 Things to Wait to Buy
Newly Announced iPhones
While September will be a great month to buy an iPhone 6s, it's not the best time to score a deal on the soon-to-be-announced iPhone 7. We don't expect to see deals on that model until November. And even then, we'll likely only see modest discounts that take $10 off the full price of the phone, or discounts that bundle a free $50 Apple Gift Card with the purchase of an unlocked iPhone 7 at full price.
For those waiting for a new iPad, you might have to wait longer. Fans have expected an iPad Air 3 for over a year, but the introduction of the 10" iPad Pro last spring could suggest an entirely different direction for this product line; there might be no iPad Air 3 at all as Apple shifts focus to the Pro line. If there is an iPad Air 3 coming, it certainly doesn't seem like it will arrive this fall.
That means your best bet for now for iPad deals is still Black Friday. Walmart is definitely a leader in deals on the Apple Tablet, as well as usual suspects like eBay and Micro Center.
Labor Day tends to offer excellent deals on large appliances, with sales that take up to 54% off items such as dishwashers and refrigerators. However, if you can wait until November, Black Friday will offer better sales, with discounts that take up to 75% off the same items. On average, about 35% of Black Friday appliance deals are marked Editors' Choice — only 15% of deals see that distinction throughout the rest of the year.
Readers, what are you looking forward to buying in September? Let us know in the comments below.