October can be a great time to stock up on a wide variety of items at deep discounts. It is the shoulder season between the start of school and Thanksgiving, and stores must make room for the upcoming holidays. Big-ticket items such as electronics won't go on sale until the November to January holiday season, but you can still pick up some deals now. Here are five things that are often a steal in stores in October.

Outdoor and Garden Supplies
You may have already put away your lawnmower and gardening tools for the year. However, your local hardware stores would rather get rid of them than store them. October is a time to find great deals on outdoor products from fertilizers to spades to mulch. The National Gardening Association estimates that Americans spend just over $350 per year on lawn and garden activities, so it can take a chunk out of your budget. Be careful purchasing vegetable and fruit seeds on clearance. Some seeds lose their viability in a short amount of time, and you may not have as much luck with them next April. To keep them longer, store seeds in the freezer until spring. Leaf blowers, mowers and other large outdoor machines are also often on sale at this time of year.

School Uniforms
If you are in a school district with uniforms, you likely know that they don't appear on the store floor after October. It can be distressing if you have a child with a winter growth spurt and are unable to find clothing that meets the school's rules. By the time October rolls around, most stores want to clear out their school uniforms. You may not see school uniforms in the stores until late next summer. School clothes average over $246 per family, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Also, uniforms can be more expensive than regular clothing.

You should buy uniform pieces that are a size or two larger than your children are right now so that they will have clothes when they outgrow their current ones. Even if your kids dress in regular clothes for school, you will likely find sweaters, jeans and other fall/winter clothing on the clearance racks as stores begin stocking holiday clothing and spring wear.

Back-to-School Supplies
Along with school uniforms, most school supplies are also cleared out of stores in October to make room for Halloween and Thanksgiving goods. Pens, pencils, paper, binders and all sorts of school supplies are often cheapest in October. The NRF estimates that families will spend $95.44 on average on school supplies every year. Buying on clearance can save a substantial amount of money. You may not need any more school supplies after you stocked up in August but you will again at some point. School supplies don't go bad. If the deals are great but you already have too many school supplies, consider buying and donating them to your child's school or a local children's charity.

Halloween Costumes
The best values to be had on Halloween costumes happen on November 1, along with everything else related to the holiday. However, costumes are often marked down in the week leading up to Halloween. The variety of costumes available at this time is often wider than it is after the fact. A recent NRF survey found that the average expected spending per person on Halloween costumes this year is $28.65. With clearance prices offering 50% off or more, you can save substantially by buying close to the holiday. If you're buying for kids for next year rather than this year, keep their projected growth in mind.

Pumpkins
How many pumpkins or winter squash can you possibly handle? As Halloween gets closer, stores are looking to unload their inventory of this large, bulky fruit. You can buy pumpkins and roast them in the oven whole or store them in a root cellar. Roasted pumpkin can be scraped out of its skin and frozen in quart-size freezer bags for use in pumpkin pie, muffins, cookies and soups for the whole year. Pumpkins are perishable and retailers want to get rid of them before they expire. According to the USDA, the average price of a pumpkin is $4.80 in 2012. After Halloween, they are often cleared out for less than $1. If it appears that your local retailer still has plenty of pumpkins on Halloween evening, talk to the store manager about purchasing the rest the next day.

The Bottom Line
October can be a great time to score store deals as they transition between seasons. Stocking up on items that you know you will need in the near future makes sense and keeps money in your wallet.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    The Best Stocks to Buy for Less than $10 before Year End

    Learn about the best stocks to buy under $10. These stocks are speculative but have considerable upside given their valuation and market conditions.
  2. Investing Basics

    10 Companies That Yuppies Love

    Learn about 10 companies loved by the modern Yuppie, including how this demographic's impressive buying power has boosted these companies' earnings.
  3. Stock Analysis

    Is the Apple Watch a Real Threat to Fitbit?

    Examine the potential for marketplace competition between Fitbit and the Apple Watch in the rapidly growing consumer wearables industry.
  4. Investing News

    How 'Honesty' Could Pay off for Jessica Alba

    Is it possible that Jessica Alba is one of the savviest businesswomen on the planet?
  5. Insurance

    How to Shop for Home Insurance

    Tips for getting the best protection for your place and possessions.
  6. Personal Finance

    Sending Money: MoneyGram vs. Western Union

    Comparing the differences between the services – and the fees.
  7. Stock Analysis

    3 Stocks to Protect Your Portfolio from Inflation

    Discover three stocks to protect portfolios against inflation. The best companies to protect against inflation are those with pricing power.
  8. Economics

    Understanding Forward Integration

    Forward integration happens when a business takes over functions that were originally performed by its partners farther down the supply chain.
  9. Markets

    Should You Be a Bull or a Bear Right Now?

    Ask a bull: If the economy is truly improving, where's all the consumer spending?
  10. Stock Analysis

    What’s Uber Worth?

    Value projections for Uber have been all over the map, but the most important projection doesn't come in the form of numbers.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Duty Free

    Goods that international travelers can purchase without paying ...
  2. Linked Transfer Account

    Accounts held by an individual at a financial institution that ...
  3. Negative Option Deals

    A dubious business practice that involves supplying a typically ...
  4. G.19 Report

    A monthly statistical report from the U.S. Federal Reserve that ...
  5. Drip Pricing

    A pricing technique in which only part of a product or service’s ...
  6. Behavioral Modeling

    Using available and relevant consumer and business spending data ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. Are Social Security payments included in the US GDP calculation?

    Social Security payments are not included in the U.S. definition of the gross domestic product (GDP). Transfer Payments For ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does the trust maker transfer funds into a revocable trust?

    Once a revocable trust is created, a trust maker transfers funds or property into the trust by including them in a list with ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What economic indicators are important to consider when investing in the retail sector?

    The unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rank as two of the most important economic indicators to consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How do changes in interest rates affect the spending habits in the economy?

    Changes in interest rates can have different effects on consumer spending habits depending on a number of factors, including ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!