What to buy (and skip) in October 2021

RThe seasons in detail can be as predictable as the pumpkin and spice lattes now available in most coffee shops. But, like much of the past year and a half, shopping in October may seem a little different. And that could involve buying Christmas stockings in addition to sweet corn.

Here’s what to buy and skip this month to earn discounts and in some cases ensure fast delivery.

First of all, what about vacation shopping?

While the rest of this article is all about saving money with seasonal deals, these tips are specifically aimed at getting December holiday shopping on time.

“If you absolutely have to get it by a certain date, you may have to sacrifice the best price,” says Patricia Huddleston, professor of retail at Michigan State University.

Why the rush? Supply chain disruptions and shipping delays will likely increase the time between when you buy something and when you actually receive it.

You may have to wait longer than expected to receive products purchased online, for example. Or you may need to research multiple stores or place back orders for items that are out of stock, says Katherine Cullen, senior director of industry and consumer insight at the National Retail Federation.

To avoid stress and delays, Cullen suggests starting your holiday shopping early. She also recommends checking retailers’ websites, apps, and social media accounts. With these tools, she says, you can often determine which items are in stock, as well as which are out of stock but available online or elsewhere.

Buy: Winter coats

At this time of year, Huddleston says you’ll likely see the first sales of coats, hats, and gloves. Retailers know that many shoppers can still enjoy relatively warm weather in October, she points out. These sales are therefore aimed at getting customers who wear sports t-shirts to think about buying parkas.

Skip: Other clothes

While now is the time to upgrade your coat, you’d better skip other types of clothing purchases if you can wait a few months. “Markdowns are best during the holiday season and after Christmas,” says Huddleston.

At this point, she says, most winter clothing, including ups and downs, will be cut back to make room for spring inventory. In case you missed the October sales, Huddleston adds that coats, hats, and boots will likely go back on sale for the same reason. The only exception to the end-of-year sales may be formal wear that might be worn for New Years parties, she says.

Buy: Outdoor furniture and barbecues

Expect deep cuts on summer inventory as retailers are desperate to offload. Specifically, Huddleston recommends researching sales on outdoor furniture and grills.

While you’re already improving your garden, Huddleston suggests checking garden centers early in the month for deals on perennials.

Skip: Electronic

Save big electronics expenses for Black Friday (November 26). This is when you usually see the biggest discounts on TVs, game consoles, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and activity trackers. These savings can total hundreds of dollars.

Of course, keep these vacation shopping tips in mind. If you want a new TV under the tree, you might have to weigh the best price against the risk that it doesn’t arrive on time.

Buy: Halloween gear

The closer Halloween approaches, the bigger the discounts will be on costumes, says Huddleston, as retailers want to get rid of as much of their inventory as possible by October 31. The same goes for Halloween-themed candy, she adds. (For both, she says, “Of course, your best deals will be November 1.”)

Again, consider the potential risk of a delayed schedule and limited stock. If you absolutely need a specific costume by Halloween, the discounts might not be worth the wait until the last minute. If you’re ok with the costumes that are left in stock, take advantage of the scary bargains.

Bonus: Tacos and desserts

In addition to the Halloween candy shelves and shelves, you have two foodie vacations to look forward to. National Taco Day is October 4 and National Dessert Day is October 14.

Over the past few years, many local and national restaurants have offered discounts just for these occasions. Keep an eye out for promotional signage at your taco restaurants, bakeries, and other local eateries. Also check out the offers on these restaurants’ websites, as well as their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Laura McMullen writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @lauraemcmullen.

The article What to buy (and skip) in October 2021 originally appeared on NerdWallet.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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