Labor Day deals are already underway, with big discounts on summer clothing, appliances and outdoor furniture.
“Sales have already started,” said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews.com.
For cash-strapped consumers, this could be a very good time to score a deal. The three-day holiday weekend generally marks a big sales push, making it a good time to stock up — and in 2022, retailers are marking things down a little more.
Even so, it pays to scrutinize the offers.
“It seems like a really great deal up front, but remember that starting prices are a lot higher in many cases,” thanks to inflation, Ramhold said.
Seasonal supplies are marked down the most
To make the most of Labor Day sales, stick to seasonal items, such as summer clothing, patio furniture and grills, Ramhold advised.
Clothing retailers must make room for new merchandise, so expect deals up to 50% off at the Gap and Lands’ End.
Target and Wayfair will be slashing prices on outdoor furniture, along with Lowe’s and Home Depot. “Look for discounts to be as high as 80%,” Ramhold noted.
“Grills can be ridiculously cheap,” she said. Last year, Lowe’s offered a three-burner propane gas grill, which usually cost $300 or more, for $99. And with a few more weeks of warm weather, it’s a good time for an upgrade, Ramhold added.
Appliances, which have been in short supply due to supply chain constraints, are still hard to come by, but refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges and washers and dryers are almost all on sale.
Home Depot is taking up to 63% off major appliances, even more than last year, and keep an eye out for Best Buy to offer significant savings, as well, Ramhold added. “Last year, it had Labor Day discounts on all the big brands, including Samsung, LG, GE and Whirlpool, among others.”
Back-to-school supplies, which have been a significant source of strain this year, are also marked down. Most schools are back in session, so retailers need to clear out that inventory, Ramhold said.
“It’s definitely a good time to look for discounts on backpacks and lunchboxes,” she advised. In fact, “this is probably going to be the best chance you have to get a deal on those items.”
Lastly, mattresses may be one of the best buy of all over Labor Day this year. “If you are in the market for a new bed, it’s a great time to shop,” Ramhold said, before many retailers wrap up the fiscal year.
Look for discounts up to 40% or even more at stores like Macy’s or bonus accessories such as free pillows or bedding. “Between mattresses retailers and department stores, you should have a fair amount to choose from,” she said, and “expect to save hundreds.”
How to stack savings for Labor Day sales
In addition to shopping for the best price, take advantage of sales tax holidays, credit card rewards or cash-back bonuses, said Beverly Harzog, a consumer finance analyst at U.S. News & World Report.
A few states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee have sales tax holidays that overlap with Labor Day sales.
Plus, there are cash-back cards that offer 2% on all purchases or as much as 5% back on specific categories or extra rewards on some purchases, such as gas, groceries, dining and travel. (Here are some tips on how to choose a cash-back credit card.)
Then use a cash-back site such as CouponCabin.com to earn money back on online purchases from retailers like Macy’s, Target and Walmart.
What not to buy over Labor Day
It pays to wait if you are in the market for a new smartphone, television or fall and winter apparel, Ramhold said.
Apple is expected to unveil the next iPhone lineup in September, and Google may release its latest Pixel phone in October, which should correspond with discounts on older models.
Alternatively, if you hold off until Black Friday, “hands down, the deals are going to be way better” on electronics, Ramhold advised.
The same goes for fall clothing. It may be included in some current sales, but “the discounts will be modest at best,” she said, and “you likely won’t need those items for a month or more.”
Similarly, TVs could be included in some Labor Day sales, but better deals are likely on the horizon. “There may be a diamond in the rough,” Ramhold said, but otherwise, Amazon is planning to hold a “Prime Fall” deal event and that means much better deals, such as a Fire TV for only $90, nearly half off the retail price.