Here are tips on how to combat inflation with Labor Day deals

Air conditioners for sale during a heat wave in Austin, Texas on Tuesday July 19, 2022.

Sergio Flores | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Labor Day sales are already underway, with big discounts on summer clothing, home appliances and patio furniture.

“The sale has already started,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com.

For defaulting consumers, this could be a very good time to close a deal. The three-day bank holiday weekend generally marks a big sales spurt, making it a good time to stock up – and in 2022, retailers are cutting things down a bit more.

Nevertheless, it is worth checking the offers carefully.

“It seems like a really great deal up front, but keep in mind that in many cases the starting prices are much higher,” Ramhold said, thanks to inflation.

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Seasonal deliveries are the most discounted

To make the most of Labor Day sales, stick to seasonal items like summer clothing, patio furniture and grills, Ramhold advised.

Clothing retailers need to make room for new goods, so expect offers of up to 50% off in the Gap and Lands’ End.

Target and Wayfair will cut outdoor furniture prices along with Lowe’s and Home Depot. “Look for discounts of up to 80%,” noted Ramhold.

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“Grills can be ridiculously cheap,” she said. Last year, Lowe’s offered a three-burner propane grill that typically costs $300 or more for $99. And with a couple of weeks of warm weather, it’s a good time to upgrade, Ramhold added.

Home appliances, which have been in short supply due to supply chain constraints, are still hard to come by, but refrigerators, dishwashers, ranges, and washers and dryers are almost all on sale.

Home Depot is taking up to 63% off major appliances, even more than last year, and is looking to Best Buy to offer significant savings as well, Ramhold added. “Last year there were Labor Day rebates on all major brands including Samsung, LG, GE and Whirlpool among others.”

School supplies, which have been a significant burden this year, will also be reduced. Most schools are back to classes, so retailers are having to clear that stock, Ramhold said.

“It’s definitely a good time to look for discounts on backpacks and lunch boxes,” she advised. In fact, “this is probably your best chance of getting a deal on these items.”

After all, mattresses are perhaps one of the best Labor Day buys this year. “If you’re looking for a new bed, it’s a great time to shop,” Ramhold said, ahead of many retailers closing out the fiscal year.

Look for discounts of up to 40% or even more at stores like Macy’s or bonus goodies like free pillows or linens. “Between mattress retailers and department stores, you should have a pretty good range to choose from,” she said, and “expect to save hundreds.”

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How to stack savings for Labor Day sales

Take advantage not only of shopping at the best price, but also of VAT exemptions, credit card rewards or cash back bonuses, said Beverly Harzog, consumer finance analyst at US News & World Report.

Some states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee, have sales tax holidays that overlap with Labor Day sales.

There are also cash back cards that offer 2% off all purchases or up to 5% on certain categories or extra rewards on some purchases like gas, groceries, meals and travel. (Here are some tips for choosing a cash back credit card.)

Then use a cash back site like CouponCabin.com to earn money back for online purchases at retailers like Macy’s, Target, and Walmart.

What not to buy on Labor Day

It’s worth the wait if you’re in the market for a new smartphone, TV, or fall and winter clothing, Ramhold said.

Apple is expected to unveil the next line of iPhones in September and Google could release its latest Pixel phone in October, which should correspond with discounts on older models.

Alternatively, if you wait until Black Friday, “the deals will no doubt be a lot better,” Ramhold advised.

The same goes for fall clothes. It may be included in some recent sales, but “the discounts will be modest at best,” she said, and “you probably won’t need these items for a month or more.”

Similarly, televisions could be included in some Labor Day sales, but better deals are likely on the horizon. “It could be a diamond in the rough,” Ramhold said, but other than that, Amazon plans to hold a “Prime Fall” deal event, and that means much better deals, like a Fire TV for just $90, nearly half the retail price .

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