YOUR MONEY: Five things to buy in October

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 10:41 AM CDT
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October is full of surprises in the shopping world. Along with the expected (Halloween and fall merchandise), shoppers might see the very first bits of Black Friday and holiday hype. In fact, we saw some of the first Black Friday deal announcements before Halloween in 2020. So, in addition to stocking up on Halloween candy and fall decor, shoppers should start thinking about October as a time to build their holiday shopping lists.


As an extra bonus for October shoppers this year, RetailMeNot is running a sweepstakes through Oct. 3. Download the Deal Finder browser extension here for a chance to win up to $5,000 in cash. Getting Deal Finder is also just a smart move, because the extension will automatically enter promo codes and cash-back offers, making finding the best deal effortless, this October and beyond.

Ready to get shopping? Our Top 5 buys for October will help you get out ahead of the holiday shopping madness, navigate spooky season and save as much as you can while doing so.

1. Patio Furniture and Decor — With a Fall Twist

By this point in the year, you won’t have the huge selection of patio sets you did around Labor Day. But it’s still worth investigating to see if Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and others have some sets left. If they do, they’ll be discounted by 60% or more. If you can’t find an entire matching set you adore, check out the clearance section for patio end tables and chairs. These options are great for small patios, and they’ll be priced to sell.

Furniture aside, you’ll find a nice selection of fall patio necessities (like fire pits and outdoor throw blankets). The selection will never be better. And, as retailers make room for holiday decor, they’ll price these transitional patio items to sell towards the end of the month.

2. Halloween Decor (At the Very End of the Month)

You’ll need to time this one perfectly. Don’t shop for lawn inflatables, spooky wreaths and other Halloween decor items at the very beginning of the October — that’s when Halloween hype (and prices) will be at their highest. Instead, wait until the last minute (or even Oct. 31 itself) to snap up remaining stock. Retailers will want it out of the way to make way for artificial Christmas trees, so you can expect everything Halloween to be priced low, to get it out the door. Just keep it boxed up and ready for next year.

Halloween candy, meanwhile, is a strategic Nov. 1 buy.

3. Fall Clothing

At the end of October, retailers will start making the transition from fall clothing to bulkier winter coats and sweaters. That means all that stylish fall stuff we kept telling you to wait on is now the smartest buy you can make. Hit up the sales racks for denim jackets, jeans, light-weight hoodies and transitional tops. You can probably still get some use out of these items this season — and transitional fall garb also works excellently for early spring.

Not sure where to shop? Old Navy, Gap and Kohl’s are known for their great selection and generous end-of-season sales.

4. Camping Gear

The change in temperatures will bring sales at outdoor retailers, too. They’ll be stocking up with winter gear, sub-zero sleeping bags, snowshoes, skiing gear and more. And that means fishing gear, lighter-weight clothing, coolers and tents need to go. Save your purchases for next summer — or squeeze in one final camping adventure before the weather gets too cold.

If you can hold off on buying winter gear for now, it’s smart to do so. Retailers like Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Academy Sports + Outdoors are famous for their Black Friday price cuts on tons of gear and clothing.

5. Pre-Black Friday Sale Items

If retailers replay last year’s playbook, shoppers can expect some October Black Friday hype. And an early start is likely this year, considering all the supply chain and shipping issues that are already brewing and threatening the holiday shopping season.

So keep a lookout (we sure will be). Retailers like Walmart, Amazon, Target, Costco and more will likely be dropping all manner of deals to entice early shopping and calling these events “Early Black Friday” sales, “Pre Black Friday Sales” and “Black Friday In October” sales. Keep a close eye on Amazon, as it’s known for early holiday sales. Last year it actually threw its Prime Day sale in October. That’s off the table for this year (Prime Day moved back to the summer in 2021). However, Amazon’s history of early holiday hype makes it a retailer to watch in October and November).

So what will be on sale? While retailers will likely save the most coveted items for Black Friday itself (think gaming bundles and new-model phones), you can expect to see plenty of early Black Friday sales on clothing, toys (which are a smart thing to buy early this year), appliances big and small, wireless earbuds, home decor, holiday decor and smart home tech.

Given the shipping delays you’re likely to face when shopping at high-demand times (like Black Friday and early December) and the risk of items selling out this year (and not being restocked), shopping Black Friday In October sales is going to be an extra smart move. So, if the price on something you want falls, snap it up and feel good about doing so.

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