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What's on Sale in July?

By Dana Dratch Columns

What's on sale in July?

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Want to get out and enjoy the summer?

July is the month to do it in style. And at a discount.

Pretty much everything you need to give a great summer party -- from the grilling supplies and patio furniture to watermelon -- is discounted this month.

If you're a guest, rather than a host, you can find a good deal on a pair of shorts, T-shirt or swimsuit for the occasion.

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July also has a little something for every kind of bargain hunter, from baseball tickets and team jerseys to jewelry. Not to mention some juicy prices on peaches, cherries and strawberries.

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Looking to stretch your summer dollars? Here are a few dozen discounts you'll see this month.

Spring clothes and swimsuits

Remember those shorts, tanks and T-shirts that the stores brought out at the start of spring? Whatever's left is at a deep discount in July.

For retailers, "July is all about clearance," says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. "You'll see stuff 50% to 75% off."

Also look for sneakers, beach towels or anything that screams "warm weather."

Plan to hit the pool? Swimsuits for all age ranges will be 60% to 70% off, Butler says.

Retailers want to make room for fall and winter merchandise, and that means everything related to spring and summer has to go, Butler says. "The whole month of July is about getting rid of the spring goods and making room for back-to-school and fall receipts."

Baseball tickets

July is a great time to score a deal on baseball tickets and team gear.

As teams are eliminated from pennant races, their paraphernalia and tickets will be discounted, says Jon Wertheim, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and co-author of "Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won."

On T-shirts, jerseys and caps, look for cuts in the 20% to 30% range, he says.

When your team is knocked out of contention, one small consolation is that you can catch a game for a lot less, Wertheim says. "By July and August, you will see tickets for a number of teams -- and not even the worst tickets -- for under $10," he says.

Patio furniture, BBQ grills and perennials

Want to spruce up your patio? Add a little color to your deck? Upgrade the grill?

You're in luck.

Retailers mark down outdoor goods in July, looking to move them out the door. And a lot of the items that relate to outdoor living and grilling will be 50% off or better this month, says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. "What retailers want to do is sell off all that product in July and August," he says.

Look for 50% to 70% off things like outdoor dinnerware, beach towels and other al fresco decor.

July can also be a great time to pick up perennial plants.

That's because garden centers are looking to move those plants they got in spring, "and they tend to mark them down very aggressively," says Butler.

"They want to get rid of them because they can't afford to carry them to September, but you can still plant them in the summer months," he says. "I buy a lot of perennials knowing that I will plant them this year and they'll do really well next year."

Just how much you'll save will vary by store and region, he says.

Seasonal gardening tools are marked down, too.

Back-to-school supplies

July is time for back-to-school shopping again.

And while it's not good news for the kids, it's great news for your wallet. "School supplies will be loaded in to big-box stores and office supply stores by the end of the first week in July," says Hillary Mendelsohn, author of "thepurplebook" series of shopping guides and founder of "So you will not only have your pick of the selection, but the best prices as well."

Buy supplies in larger quantities, and you can save up to 30%, she says.

You might see bargains on desktop computers, she says. Stores are trying to move this year's models to make room for new models coming in for fall.

Sidewalk sales and jewelry

If you like sidewalk sales, circle July 4 on your calendar.

"A lot of retailers will do sidewalk sales," says says Daniel Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation. "It's just a day when a lot of buyers are out looking for a deal."

You're liable to see on sale whatever the retailer is looking to move. "You might even see some Christmas and fall goods" from last year, he says. "Usually, it's a one-day event," he says, and savings vary.

Yearning for a July sparkler of a different variety?

This is "one of the slowest months of the year for online jewelry sales, so if there is something you've been longing for -- or you are superorganized and are already thinking about holiday gifts -- you can actually find fine jewelry up to 50% off," says Hillary Mendelsohn, author of "thepurplebook" series of shopping guides and founder of She adds that the best bargains will be online.

Tomatoes, melons, corn on sale in July

Who doesn't love a ripe, red summer tomato sliced thick with just a little salt?

July, August and September are when field (as opposed to hothouse), tomatoes start popping up everywhere," says James Parker, facility team leader for the global produce-buying office of Whole Foods Market. "There are more varieties, and the quality is much better because they are vine-ripened and produced close to where you live."

Start looking for them in mid to late July, he says. While the prices will be about the same as last month, you'll likely find larger cartons, along with better-quality fruit, he says.

Summer melons are good values in July, too. Look for your best prices after the July Fourth holiday -- and especially toward the end of the month when July heat means "the sugar content becomes incredible," says Parker.

Peaches, berries and cherries

Strawberry production peaks in July, which means the prices are some of the best you'll see all year. (Shortcake, anyone?)

If you like to buy and freeze your own, this is the month for you, says James Parker, facility team leader for the global produce-buying office of Whole Foods Market. Depending on where you buy and whether you choose conventional or organic, you could see prices of anywhere from $4 a pound to $2 a pound.

Blueberries will be only slightly higher in price than strawberries. However, because some of the northern states start harvesting blueberries in July, "there may be spot opportunities, depending on where you live," Parker says.

Peaches and cherries are a great buy this month, too. "July generally tends to be the time to really buy peaches," Parker says. "Historically, we see $2 to $2.50 a pound becoming the norm, and some specials dropping well below that."

With cherries, shoppers will see "$4 or less per pound as the norm," Parker says. Fruit from the Pacific Northwest rolls in in July. And while harder-to-grow yellow Rainiers are a little more expensive, red Bings will be 50 cents a pound to a $1 a pound cheaper in July, he says.