Just because retailers are advertising July 4th weekend sales doesn't mean it's your patriotic duty to buy what they're selling.
From a retail perspective, July resembles its position on the calendar: Somewhere in the middle. According to the Census Bureau, when you remove vehicle and auto parts sales from the mix, July's retail sales look fairly similar to those of the other the summer months. Even with Independence Day in the mix, July's numbers don't tend to vary all that much from those of June and August.
Independence Day, as it turns out, doesn't produce a whole lot of retail fireworks. In the last 20 years, binging on fireworks, hot dogs, hamburgers, outdoor furniture, grills, sunscreen and the like has only made July the peak summer shopping month four times: 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2013. It doesn't snap a cold spell like April, it doesn't send kids back to school like September, it isn't as cold and dead as February and it isn't in quite the same holiday spirit as December. On the surface, it's no big deal.
Unless you know what you're looking for. Yes, everyone is out and about, but there are certain items that the summer masses aren't looking for that get a sizable discount for those willing to shop offseason. With help from the folks at Dealnews and LifeHacker.com we found a few excuses for shoppers to duck into air conditioned stores as deals heat up.
Click ahead for 5 things you should definitely consider buying in July.
According to the American Home Furnishings Alliance, August is when all of the new furniture starts showing up in stores. That means furniture retailers spend much of July trying to clear the decks with sales in an effort to move last year's stock.
Granted, this isn't a universal edict. We're talking about couches, loveseats, tables, dressers, bed frames, chairs and the like. Mattress clearance season is in May, while the best deals on office furniture tend to wait until August.
Tablets, laptops and computers in general
With a few notable exceptions -- including Apple's iPad, MacBook and iMac -- most computers get their upgrades around the beginning of summer as chip manufacturers refresh their offerings. That makes July the kickoff of back-to-school season for both parents and students heading off to college next month.
"July is expected to be a hot month for laptop deals, as back-to-school sales continue to roll out," says Lindsay Sakraida of DealNews. "After all, back-to-school season is the second-best time of the year [behind the holiday season] to buy a laptop."
Welcome to wedding season, when scores of couples with registry guns are spending precious weekend hours scanning the labels of items they'll receive from people they'll scarcely remember when writing out thank-you notes and that will likely sit in a drawer or cabinet for the overwhelming majority of the year. Still, the linen and silverware makers love a frazzled wedding guest and will team with retailers to do just about everything in their power to make sure as many items as possible fit into that completely arbitrary $50 spending limit.
If you're single and above the fray or long-married and well-aware of how this works, now is the time to replace that set of nesting bowls that cracked in the dishwasher, those forks that keep getting stuck when you open the drawer and those plastic kitchen utensils that keep finding new ways to melt.
Father's Day is over and the winter holiday shopping season is still roughly five months away. Unless Home Depot or Lowe's can sell you a pallet of drill bits for that bit-snapping construction project you're trying to finish before Labor Day, home and garden retailers are going to need some help moving tools.
Yes, you could wait for all the Black Friday sales, but the warm weather for those outdoor projects is going to be a bit harder to come by after Thanksgiving.
You think we're fools to ask you to book a vacation in mid-summer? You'd be foolish not to.
As the folks at Hopper make clear, booking now for a late-August trip is incredibly wise. Domestic airfares that hover around $400 for July and August weekend dates drop to below $290 from August 18 through August 31, with the best fares available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Why do fares drop at the end of August? Because with college kids heading back to school and younger kids not far behind, this is a terrible time for a family vacation -- especially one that involves a flight.