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What not to buy when shopping the sales this Labor Day weekend

CNBC Select has four categories you should wait to buy until Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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The Chase Freedom® is not currently available to new cardholders. Please visit our list of the best cash-back cards for alternative options.

With millions of Americans still social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, Labor Day weekend — the unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season — may look a bit different this year as shoppers head online.

One component that has remained the same, however? The sales. But giddy consumers take note: With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner, it might be better to delay your purchase and wait for a better deal. And this year, they may come sooner than normal.

According to BestBlackFriday.com, retail experts predict an earlier October start to Black Friday sales given that stores are eager to attract more customers as well as worries about shipping delays this holiday season.

To make sure you are getting the most for your money, CNBC Select created a list of four categories to avoid spending money on this Labor Day weekend.

1. Electronics, especially iPhones

Wait until Black Friday to buy a new television or stock up on video games. And certainly don't buy a new iPhone this weekend.

New iPhones are typically announced after Labor Day, but it could be pushed to late September or early October because of the pandemic, deal site Ben's Bargains says. When the latest iPhone is announced, there's usually a price drop on the older models, and customers can take advantage of pre-order steals.

If you really can't wait to make a big-time electronics purchase, such as a tablet or laptop for back-to-school, check first to see if your credit card offers price protection. This feature grants cardholders price-match guarantees for a certain length of time, typically three months from the date of purchase.

Tip: Websites like DealNews and Coupon Sherpa aggregate the best deals so you don't have to do the legwork. If you have Twitter, follow them on social media so you get real-time updates for planning all your purchases.

2. Fall clothing and shoes

This weekend, shoppers should take advantage of end-of-season sales, but steer clear of updating your fall wardrobe.

With autumn only weeks away, stores clear their inventory in anticipation of the new season. This makes Labor Day the perfect time to get good deals on summer staples, such as bathing suits, outdoor grills, patio furniture, air conditioners and lawnmowers. But as far as cold-weather clothing goes, you can score better prices by waiting until Black Friday (or December and early January, if you really want the best deals).

When November comes around, you can save even more on fall clothing if you have a cash-back credit card in your wallet. If you don't have already, consider opening one this weekend so you're prepared. The Citi Double Cash® Card (see rates and fees) comes with no annual fee and offers 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Plus, for a limited time, earn 5% total cash back on hotel, car rentals and attractions booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through 12/31/24. While you need fair to excellent credit to qualify, those with less-than-stellar credit have better approval chances with the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (see rates and fees), which offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases.

3. Anything on Amazon

Amazon's Labor Day sales are surely enticing, especially given most Americans are shopping from home this year.

According to coupon site RetailMeNot, Amazon's "BIG Labor Day sale" offers customers deals up to half off on televisions, laptops, household appliances, clothing and lots more.

But buyers beware: Amazon Prime Day is likely right around the corner. The two-day global shopping event is held exclusively for Prime members every year. Though it typically takes place in July, the pandemic is pushing it to later this year — likely October, RetailMeNot predicts. Promising site-wide discounts, this 48-hour sale is worth waiting for.

Eager shoppers can plan ahead this weekend by signing up for an Amazon Prime membership and perhaps applying for the Amazon Prime Store Card or Prime Visa to earn even more rewards when Prime Day arrives.

4. Purchases through your credit card shopping portals

Credit card shopping portals are a great way to earn bonus points on purchases you would normally make through retailers, like Nike, Walgreens or Home Depot. For example, by using your Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal connected to your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can get rewarded visiting retailers via Shop Through Chase®.

But just like stores, credit card companies tend to offer better deals through their shopping portals as Black Friday approaches. You're better off waiting for these steeper discounts.

And if your credit card offers cash back on rotating bonus categories, like the Chase Freedom®, hold off on spending until you see the fourth quarter categories. Popular holiday retailers will likely be swapped in so you can earn more for your money then.

Information about the Capital One cards, Amazon Prime Store Card, Prime Visa, and Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication. If you purchase something through Select links for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, we may earn a commission.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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