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

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

Sergio Flores | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Labor Day deals are already underway, with deep discounts on summer clothing, appliances and outdoor furniture.

Sales have already started,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com.

For cash-strapped consumers, this could be a great time to get a deal. The three-day holiday weekend usually marks a strong surge in sales, making it a good time to stock up – and in 2022, retailers are marking things up a bit more.

Even so, it pays to examine the offers.

“It seems like a pretty good deal initially, but remember the starting prices are a lot higher in many cases,” thanks to inflation, Ramhold said.

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Seasonal supplies are the most unmarked

To get the most out of Labor Day sales, stick to seasonal items, such as summer clothing, patio furniture and grills, Ramhold advised.

Clothing retailers need to make room for new merchandise, so expect deals of up to 50% off at the Gap and Lands’ End.

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

“Grill can be ridiculously cheap,” she said. Last year, Lowe’s offered a three-burner propane gas grill, which typically cost $300 or more, for $99. And with a few more weeks of warm weather, it’s a good time for an upgrade, Ramhold added.

Appliances, which have been in short supply due to supply chain constraints, are still hard to come by, but refrigerators, dishwashers, stoves 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 keeping an eye on Best Buy to offer big savings as well, Ramhold added. “Last year, there were Labor Day discounts on all major brands, including Samsung, LG, GE and Whirlpool, among others.”

Back-to-school supplies, which have been a major source of tension this year, are also demarcated. Most schools are back in session, so retailers need to empty that inventory, Ramhold said.

“Now is definitely a good time to look for discounts on backpacks and lunch boxes,” she advised. In fact, “this will probably be the best chance you have of getting a deal on these items.”

Finally, mattresses may be one of the best purchases of all Labor Day this year. “If you’re on the hunt for a new bed, now’s a great time to shop around,” Ramhold said, before many retailers wrapped up the exercise.

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

How to stack the savings for Labor Day sales

In addition to buying at the best price, take advantage of sales tax exemptions, credit card rewards or cashback bonuses, said Beverly Harzog, consumer credit analyst at US News & World Report.

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

Additionally, there are cashback cards that offer 2% on all purchases or up to 5% on specific categories or additional rewards on certain purchases, such as 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 on online purchases from retailers like Macy’s, Target, and Walmart.

What not to buy on Labor Day

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

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

Alternatively, if you wait until Black Friday, “by far the deals will be much better” on electronics, Ramhold advised.

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

Likewise, TVs could be included in some Labor Day sales, but better deals are probably on the horizon. “There may be a diamond in the rough,” Ramhold said, but if not, Amazon plans to hold a “Prime Fall deal event” and that means much better deals, like a Fire TV for only $90nearly half the retail price.

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