Kids mourn the month of back-to-school, but parents rejoice for many reasons, not the least of which is tax-free weekends. Tax-free weekends are happening in many states, and if you're looking for great deals in August, you can't do better than scoring a great deal and getting it tax-free. Here are the deals to grab: (Reducing the amount you spend is the easiest way to make your money grow. See 5 Money-Saving Shopping Tips.)
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Computers, Phones and Things Technological
College-bound students no longer find the simple notebook adequate. Students of any level find supplies like three-ring binders rather quaint in favor of laptops, notebooks and the like. Some tech-related deals are exclusively for said students, and without proof of your student status, you're out of luck (Apple's $100 gift card, for example, or Microsoft's Xbox giveaway).
However, many other deals can be yours whether you're a student or not. Peruse the shelves of mega-electronics stores and you'll see discounts on phones, laptops, desktop computers, software and accessories.
Major retailers such as Walmart, Target, Homegoods, and Bed, Bath and Beyond usually serve up big end-of-summer sales on anything and everything a college student might want to tote off to make a dorm room feel like home. You can find discounts on kitchen basics and dishes, sheets and towels, and low-key furnishings such as end tables, futons, and computer desks.
Don't expect to score luxury goods in these discounts. Retailers are aiming at college students, most of whom won't have a large budget for high-thread-count sheets or designer serving platters. If you're looking for a nice deal on some basic home inventory, August is a good month to go shopping.
The dog days of summer aren't when most of us want to tackle a big landscaping project or design a new flower bed. Spring is when we get planting fever, and it's also when we pay a premium to buy our fresh little seedlings and perky perennials. Wait until August, though, and you can find some major mark-downs on retailers trying to move the rest of their green inventory.
August is also a good time to look for deals on the actual work of landscaping. Many landscapers and professional lawn care companies find it a slow time: dryer, hotter weather in some areas means less mowing and trimming work. The spring fervor is gone, and most areas aren't into the leaf season yet. If you don't find the deals advertised, call your favorite lawn care or landscaping company and ask.
Vacations in the Caribbean
Farnoosh Torabi of CBS's MoneyWatch says that "trips to Jamaica, Bahamas and Bermuda are also on sale, with hurricane season under way this month." If you do take advantage of lower rates to visit a Caribbean destination on the cheap, Torabi recommends putting a little of your savings into travel insurance.
According to Torabi, another August deal can help you out with trips a little closer to home: hotels experience less business travel, so hotel stays can be discounted. If you've been wanting to take a little weekend getaway or even just a night away from home in your own city, August could be a great month to do so. The start of school means fewer folks out on school nights and less travel for most families, so many attractions will have smaller crowds.
All Things Summer
Since August signals the official beginning of the school season, it also signals the official end of summer vacation, never mind if temperatures still hover up near the top of the thermostat. Retailers will be marking down summer staples, from kiddie pools and sidewalk chalk to beach towels, bug spray, and patio furniture.
You can take advantage of the discounts to stock up for next summer (you can never have too many tiki torches!) or get that new set of furniture for the deck while the price is low.
The Bottom Line
Whatever you plan to buy, it pays to do a bit of comparison shopping. Pre-shop on the internet to compare prices and make sure you're getting the best deal before you buy. A bright sticker doesn't always mean a lower price. (Shopping from the comfort of your couch has major benefits, and some unpleasant side effects. Check out Shopping Online: Convenience, Bargains And A Few Scams.)