Personal Finance

Labor Day's best shopping deals

Key Points
  • This weekend is a great time to score some of the best shopping deals of the year.
  • Expect discounts of about 50 percent off as retailers make room for fall merchandise.
  • Here's what to shop for and what to skip.
Fall bargains

Forget barbeques at the beach, this Labor Day is a great time to score some of the best shopping deals of the year.

More than half of all Americans plan to make Labor Day-related purchases this year, particularly on clothing, electronics and school supplies, according to a recent report by WalletHub. And rightfully so — this year's promotions will rival or beat Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, said Carson Yarbrough, a shopping and savings expert at

Expect discounts of about 50 percent off, on average, on a wide range of gear as retailers make room for fall merchandise, she said. From engagement rings to lingerie and even mattresses, some of this year's deals are surprisingly sexy for shoppers looking to beat the heat.

Here are the highlights of what to shop for and what to skip:

What to buy

Pop the question. Engagement rings are discounted more heavily in September than at any other time of the year, according to Jill Gonzalez, senior analyst at WalletHub. (This diamond infinity ring from Sears is marked down 81 percent to $720.)

Look for lingerie. Macy's is having a Labor Day sale on select intimate apparel, including underwear, with half off in store and online from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4.

Don't sleep on it. Prices for mattresses typically fall in the spring, however Labor Day bed sales are heating up. Specialty mattresses retailer 1800Mattress is already advertising prices as low as $89.99, according to Phillip Dengler, co-owner of holiday shopping site

Think big ticket. It may not be as alluring, but big-box stores are pushing serious sales on large appliances leading up to Labor Day, with 40 percent off at Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears and Best Buy, Dengler said. (Although the real rock bottom prices come on Black Friday.)

Backyard love. Labor Day sales on grills and accessories are typically the best prices of the year, according to Lauren Greutman, a savings expert at the shopping app Flipp. Markdowns will be around 25 percent, and some retailers may knock off up to 75 percent on certain models. Patio furniture, in particular, hits an all-time low in September with discounts up to 75 percent, she said.

What to skip

Smartphones aren't smart. With Apple's big iPhone 8 event planned for Sept. 12, this is not the time to jump the gun on a new smartphone. "We typically won't see deals on new models until closer to November," said Greutman.

Don't toy with games. While stores are sure to have discounts on Xbox and PlayStations, bargain hunters are better off waiting on those types of electronics, which are right in Black Friday's wheelhouse. The same goes for toys, which see major price reductions immediately ahead of the holidays.

Forget fall clothes. It's tempting to stock up on back-to-school attire, but those fall fashions will be hawked at much better prices starting as soon as October, and then be significantly less expensive come January, so it's best to wait until then to reinvigorate your wardrobe. However, if you are bikini shopping, now is the best time, Dengler said.

Of course, for those who plan to spend Labor Day weekend kicking back with a beer (or two), there's also the risk of shopping under the influence — which could cost you.