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October’s Best Deals

Good deals on denim, gardening equipment and more in the month of pumpkin spice

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October brings a drop in temperatures and an increase in all things pumpkin spice, and it’s also become the unofficial start of holiday shopping season. Although Black Friday may be more than a month away, a growing number of shoppers have already begun checking items off their holiday gift lists — and some stores are offering deals to entice them.

“October has really become the gateway for holiday shopping season,” says Kristin McGrath, of RetailMeNot, a coupons and deals company.

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September survey by Bankrate found that half of winter-holiday shoppers planned to start their holiday shopping before Oct. 31. A separate survey by Salesforce found that nearly 40 percent of early holiday shoppers cited concerns about rising prices and inflation as the number one reason for them to start early.

That said, while shopping early can help spread out the costs of gifts, the deals in some categories — such as toys and electronics — tend to get better later in the season when retailers lower prices to help clear out their inventory. Kimberly Palmer, a spokesperson for personal finance website NerdWallet, suggests using price-tracking apps or browser extensions to get a sense of whether you’re really getting a good price on an item. Two to try: Amazon Assistant and Honey.

If you’re not quite ready to start playing Santa, here’s a look at some other categories where you’ll find sales this time of year, according to shopping experts, including where to shop and how much you could possibly save.

Denim

Retailers stock up on denim, including jeans and jackets, ahead of back-to-school season and fall shopping. Now that school is in session, they’re ready to move out any apparel items associated with fall to make room for more winter-oriented clothing items.

Where to find deals: Kohl’s, Macy’s, Marshall’s

Potential savings: Up to 40 percent off

Plants and gardening equipment

You’ll find plants, including perennials and fall bulbs that you still have time to plant this year, on sale as local nurseries or the plant departments of big-box stores try to clear out their inventory. Bonus: It’s also a great time to pick up equipment such as lawn mowers and gardening tools at prices far lower than they’ll be at the start of next season.

Where to find deals: Local garden centers, Walmart, Home Depot

Potential savings: Up to 50 percent off

Appliances

If retailers have any appliances left over after the big Labor Day sales, they may be even more motivated to sell those items this month to make room for new models that tend to come out at the start of the year.

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“You’re going to start to see more markdowns or clearance pricing on older models or floor models,” says Brad Godwin, head of partnerships at Shopkick.

Where to find deals: Lowe’s, local appliance stores

Potential savings: Up to 50 percent off

Halloween items

Halloween costumes, decor and candy are close to full price in September, but retailers tend to begin lowering prices as Halloween approaches (and drop them even more starting Nov. 1).

“The discounts just get better as we get closer to Halloween, but you can find deals way before then,” says Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews, a comparison-shopping website.

One caveat: You’ll also have less selection at the end of the month, so if it’s important to you to have a specific, high-demand costume you may want to shop a little earlier.

Where to find deals: Spirit Halloween, Halloween Adventure, Target

Potential savings: 70 percent or more

Beth Braverman is a contributing writer who has covered shopping and personal finance for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in Consumer Reports, CNNMoney.com, CNBC.com, and dozens of other publications.