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The best -- and worst -- things to buy in July

If you're looking for clothes, grills or computers, now's the time to buy. But if you're thinking about a mattress or an e-reader, it might pay to sleep on it.

By MSN Money Partner Jun 28, 2013 11:40AM

This post comes from Lindsay Sakraida at partner site Dealnews.

MSN money partnerJuly is a particularly important month to know whether you're spending wisely, since a number of sales will appear to be better than they actually are. Protect your wallet by checking the Dealnews buying guide for everything you need to know to shop smart in July.

Image: Couple on vacation (© Getty Images)Shop Independence Day sales for in-season items

The Fourth of July is an excellent time to score a discount on summer items while they're still in-season, which means you can finally find a deal on a grill during the holiday weekend; gas grills in particular experienced above-average discounts last year.

Summer clothing will also see strong price cuts, with stores taking up to 62% off on average. Also be on the lookout for extra coupons that slash up to an additional 50% off sale prices.

That said, keep in mind that the prices will only continue to drop as the season progresses; patio furniture, for example, saw better discounts in August last year.

Wait until Labor Day for bedding sales

The one "usual suspect" for holiday weekend sales that we actually recommend skipping in July is bedding; for the past three years, Labor Day sales have taken much stronger discounts on these items than Independence Day promotions.

Tablets are hot

July is primed to be an excellent month for Android tablet deals, as we've recently seen an influx of high-quality discounts. In fact, the number of Editors' Choice deals on tablets quadrupled in the month of May, and the stream of sales has held strong through June.

While it tapered off slightly last month, there was still double the number of Editors' Choice deals than normal. Slate shoppers should look for sales from retailers such as Staples, Lenovo, Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart. And if you're open to a refurbished or used model, then both Android tablets and iPads are fair game; keep an eye on CowBoom and eBay for these top-notch used deals.

Mixed messages on Apple devices

As far as Apple buying advice goes, it's an interesting month. The tech giant debuted a "new" 16GB iPod Touch as well as an update to its MacBook Air. We're recommending that consumers hold off on buying the Touch though until about September, when reseller deals should knock $39 off the retail price, dropping it to $190.

As far as the MacBook Air is concerned, normally we would advise shoppers to skip the latest generation laptop from Apple and look for a deal on the very similar previous generation. However, the updates to the MacBook Air this year are actually quite substantial, offering a better value for your money than last year's Ivy Bridge model. That said, you can still get a small discount of about $49 if you wait up to two months for a reseller deal.

Put down the Nook

The Barnes & Noble Nook has been in a bit of a tailspin; last month, the bookseller announced that it would stop supporting its Nook desktop app, and this week it declared defeat for the Nook color tablet.

And while B&N says it will continue to sell its e-book readers (with an as-yet-unnamed new manufacturer), consumers should proceed with caution; as it stands, B&N e-books are playable on only Nooks or devices with the Nook app; if the readers and apps are discontinued and no longer supported, your extensive media collection will be playable for as long as your Nook holds out.

You can obviously convert the e-books to other formats, but this is technically illegal for any DRM-protected files, which will likely be the case for the majority of newer books. For that reason, shoppers might want to reconsider buying a new Nook or B&N e-book. If you've already invested in the technology, here are some ways to protect your eBook library in case the Nook gets canned entirely.

Laptops poised to hit new lows

Although July typically conjures up images of barbecues and picnics, you should also expect to be bombarded with laptop deals this month. Last month Intel introduced its newest processor, Haswell, which offers improved battery life and better graphics performance than the previous 2012 Ivy Bridge generation. As a result, July will see a flood of deals on "older" Ivy Bridge-based laptops, many of which are still very capable machines. Combined with back-to-school sales, consumers can expect to see some killer laptop deals this month.

For that reason, we recommend looking at Ivy Bridge systems in order to get the most savings. These systems pack sufficient power for the average user and deals for mainstream Ivy Bridge laptops (those with a15" screen, Core i5 CPU, and minimum 4GB RAM) are currently at the second-lowest price they've been all year: $323. (The all-time low has been $299.) In the coming weeks, we expect to see deals at or below $299.

Although we don't have much data on Haswell-based notebooks, deals in June ranged from $735 to $841 for mainstream 15" systems. The difference here is that the Haswell laptops are all packing Core i7 quad-core processors and built with slightly better specs. So you're definitely paying a premium over the Ivy Bridge systems. However, if Haswell's improved battery life isn't much of a selling point to you, stick with the Ivy Bridge laptops.

September is a sweet time to buy a desktop

Normally we turn our attention to laptops, but if you're still carrying a flame for a desktop personal computer, then it's good to keep in mind that this category too will benefit from deals on Ivy Bridge-equipped models. However, our records show that the best time to buy a PC will be in September for mainstream dual-core systems, and November for higher-end quad-based models. And if you're not particular about your computation needs, also take note of the fact that, so far in 2013, the average price of a dual-core desktop PC has been $100 less than the average price of a dual-core 15" laptop, at $248.

2013 TVs already 40% off, 2012 models see bigger cuts

The holidays are traditionally the best time of year to score deals on HDTVs, but this year we've noticed aggressive deals on many of 2013's latest sets. In fact, diligent bargain hunters can save up to 40% off a new 2013 TV. This includes models from name-brand companies like Samsung, Panasonic and LG. Although prices vary by size and manufacturer, LG is currently seeing the biggest discounts with deals on every size TV.

Alternatively, shoppers can also look to 2012 models for greater savings. For instance, name-brand 55" 3D LCD TVs have remained comfortably under $800 for most of 2013 with current lows at $720. If a 55" TV is too big for your needs, we're also seeing all-time lows on 46" to 47" LCD HDTVs. In fact, name-brand 46" to 47" LCDs are currently tied with our best Black Friday mention ($398) while off-brand 46" to 47" TVs have also plummeted to a new low of $311. But while both new and older TVs are hitting great prices, keep in mind that if you can wait until the winter, you'll likely score even bigger savings.


More from Dealnews:

Jun 28, 2013 10:03PM
I cannot say what is best for anyone else to buy at any time of the year.  I don't know what they need.  As I see it, that is a decision each should make for him/herself.  For me, the best thing for me to buy in July is a watermelon. Split it down the middle, sprinkle a little salt on it and I can eat the whole darn thing!!!  Half of it....They go down in price after the fourth of July, so I might wait a day or two.
Jul 1, 2013 9:29AM
i don't buy anything heading into the christmas season, which actually starts around september-october.  no TV's, no computers, no IPADs, etc
Jun 30, 2014 6:01PM
Best buy in July and August....that would be some type of cold drink with lots of ice! ummmmm good
Jun 28, 2013 11:21PM
Am I the only person in America who is home on Friday night??  Hey, Ya'll!!! Is anybody out there????  Oh, heck!  I'm going to bed....  I ain't got no money to spend in July anyway.  And, I'm just about out of kerosene.  Gotta wash my feet and git to bed before the lamp goes out.
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