Tricks and Treats: What Not to Buy in October

By Dana

What You Should (and Shouldn't) Buy in October

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When it comes to shopping, October is full of tricks and treats.

For true bargainistas (those whose favorite designer is Mark Down), October is the calm before the storm. Deals and discounts are nowhere near as numerous as they'll be in November and December.

Whether you're spending big bucks or pinching your pennies, it pays to know what not to buy in October. Here are seven items that will probably cost you full price in October (and when they could go on sale), along with seven things that can net you some savings right now.

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    From phones and tablets to operating systems, a lot of makers are releasing new models, new machines and new operating systems this month, says Jim Barry, spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association.

    So while this is the time to get brand-new technology, it's not the month to get a discount on the latest in personal electronics, he says.

    "That's the penalty for being an early adopter," says Barry. "You are going to pay top dollar for something new."

    When to expect better deals: In the weeks before Christmas. Look for discounts and deals starting with Black Friday and Cyber Monday, says Andrea Woroch, savings expert with And retailers will discount new electronics throughout the holiday season, she says.

    What is on sale this month: Older models of personal electronics. Manufacturers and retailers tend to drop prices on earlier models when the new stuff hits the stores. So if you don't have to have the latest version, you could save up to 15% to 20% on the gadget of your dreams, Barry says.

    Winter Boots

    "Right now, boots are going to be at their most expensive," says Andrea Woroch, savings expert with "When everyone is thinking about buying boots, that's when prices will be the highest."

    When to expect better deals: At the holidays. You'll start seeing deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, she says. And check for deals in the weeks leading up to Christmas, she adds.

    "In January and February, you'll start seeing anything that didn't sell at the holidays marked down in the clearance section," Woroch says. That's when "retailers are clearing out for spring merchandise."

    What is on sale this month: "Summer sandals, peep-toe pumps and anything that was big for summer," Woroch says. Sizes will be limited, but you can find huge deals -- 60% to 80% off, she says.

    Winter Coats

    In the market for a new winter coat? Buy it in winter, and chances are you'll pay a premium.

    In October, winter coats are already in the stores. But "trench coats, wool coats -- anything that's for cold weather -- will be at its peak price," says Andrea Woroch, savings expert with

    When to expect better deals: Starting in January, retailers not only will be looking "to reduce prices on holiday merchandise that didn't sell, stores will be looking to move winter merchandise to make room for spring and summer goods," Woroch says. As a result, "you can expect big markdowns starting then."

    What is on sale this month: Fall coats, which are lighter weight, "will already be marked down," Woroch says, with savings up to 30%.


    Whether it's a power drill or a hammer, the price on tools generally doesn't fluctuate much throughout the year. But at the holidays, tools are often discounted, says Andrea Woroch, savings expert with So if you're in the market, it can pay to wait.

    When to expect better deals: In November and December. "You start seeing specials as early as mid-November" as retailers start marketing for the holidays, she says.

    What is on sale this month: Gardening supplies and air conditioners.

    Everything from shovels and wheelbarrows to outdoor brooms and gardening gloves gets less expensive as the temperatures drop, Woroch says. While folks who live in warmer climes won't see superdeep discounts, those who live where it gets truly cold outside can save 60% to 70%, she says.

    In October, bargains can be found on portable air conditioners, too, says Sharon Banfield, spokeswoman for "Retailers are really looking to clear their shelves," she says. And consumers who do their research and compare prices from different retailers "can find significant savings in the realm of 40% off the original price," she says.

    Lingerie, Jewelry and Perfume

    Pity the poor woman with an October birthday.

    Price breaks on popular gift items such as jewelry, perfume and lingerie are harder to find in October, because many retailers are waiting to discount them until the start of the holiday shopping season, says Sharon Banfield, spokeswoman with

    So while you can find some deals, they won't be as plentiful as in the weeks to come.

    When to expect better deals: In November and December, Banfield says. "If you wait another four weeks, you can take advantage of holiday sales," she says. That's when you can expect discounts of 25% to 30% on lingerie and jewelry. With perfume, look for discounts in the form of extra products or larger sizes for the same price, she says.

    What is on sale this month: Back-to-school clothes. "Not full-fledged cold-weather apparel, but things like long-sleeved T-shirts, denim products and other remaining back-to-school items," Banfield says. "Retailers want to clear the remaining back-to-school inventory to make room for holiday items."

    How much of a discount you'll get will depend on the store and the inventory. However, because it's valuable retail real estate that stores are trying to clear, shoppers who do their homework should be able to score deals of up to 40% off in many places, Banfield says. For backpacks, another back-to-school staple, look for price cuts of 30% to 40%, she says.