What to buy (and skip) in September

Apple iPhone
September is a good time to buy an iPhone because Apple is expected to shortly announce the iPhone 8, which means old models will be discounted. Or spring for the latest technology.
(Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press)

September brings a new school year, a new season — and new sales. Before you embark on fall shopping, consult this guide on what you should buy as the days grow shorter and what you should leave on the shelf.

Buy: Mattresses

September is a solid time to shop for a mattress. In the days leading up to Labor Day on Sept. 4, you’ll start to see significant discounts, which is ideal given that you’ll have plenty of time to test out the various models over the long weekend. Last year, Sleep Train offered up to $400 off select Beautyrest and Posturepedic mattresses and up to $300 off Tempur-Pedic mattresses.

While you’re scoping out Labor Day mattress sales, visit the rest of the home department. Furniture and appliances will also be discounted over the holiday weekend.

Skip: TVs

There are two excellent times to buy a TV. One is in late November when Black Friday deals begin to roll out (last year Best Buy had a 55-inch Sharp LED 1080p smart TV for $249.99), and the other is in late January or early February, ahead of the Super Bowl. Because of this, we suggest waiting to do your TV shopping to maximize your savings.


Buy: iPhones

Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 8 this month, which means two things. First, there will be a new phone, so if you like the latest and greatest, hold off on buying until then. Second, retailers probably will discount last year’s models. If you’re still using an older version of the phone, this might be the perfect month to upgrade to last year’s 7 or 7 Plus model.

If the savings are anything like they were last year, Apple will reduce the subsidized cost of the older phone by $100. Shortly thereafter, it’s likely that other retailers such as Best Buy and Target will offer their own deals.

Skip: Halloween costumes

It’s that time of the year when retailers pull out their most outrageous holiday displays way too early. Right now, stores are pushing Halloween costumes and fall decor. Your best bet on savings is to shop for decorations and candy after Halloween is over, so if you can wear last year’s costume again this year, go that route.

Buy: Plane tickets

Don’t limit yourself to items you can place in a shopping cart: There are plenty of other areas where you can save money, including holiday airfare. According to the Holiday Cheap Flights Report 2017 from online travel agency, fares for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s flights are expected to increase the longer you wait. If you can book soon, do it.


Bonus: Coffee

Sept. 29 is National Coffee Day. Play it right and you can treat yourself to your favorite cup of joe for free in honor of the caffeine-centric day. Last year, major players in the coffee industry such as Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Krispy Kreme offered freebies.

Looking ahead: Columbus Day

If you miss out on Labor Day sales, you’ll still have a shot at discounted clothing, home decor and appliances. Oct. 9 is Columbus Day (or Indigenous Peoples Day in Los Angeles and some other cities), and department stores use the holiday as yet another reason to offer sales. In 2016, some retailers took up to 30% off select appliances.

Courtney Jespersen is a writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website.

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