Though Labor Day is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, not everything is a great deal despite retailer efforts to convince consumers otherwise. Follow this guide to avoid overspending during this highly promotional holiday weekend.
Know what to buy – and what to skip. In general, end-of-season products offer the best values during Labor Day weekend, with discounts ranging from 25 percent to 80 percent on summer apparel, shoes and accessories, outdoor furnishings, tools, cooking appliances and more. Shop these items carefully since deep discounts can lead to overspending on products you didn't intend to purchase. Top deals include 30 percent off everything from Last Call by Neiman Marcus, plus up to 75 percent off closeout through Sept. 7. Pottery Barn is offering up to 60 percent off outdoor furniture and umbrellas. Zulily is offering up to 75 percent off back-to-school items.
New cars are another popular Labor Day purchase because 2017 models debut in autumn, and dealerships are eager to move 2016 inventory. Shoppers can expect zero percent interest financing offers for qualified buyers and thousands of dollars in total cash allowances (or rebates). For example, Nissan is promoting its 2016 Altima for up to $3,500 off the manufacturer's suggested retail price, plus zero percent financing for 72 months and no monthly payments for the first 90 days. Meanwhile, GMC is offering up to 16 percent off the MSRP of select 2016 vehicles including Sierra, Yukon and Acadia, with savings adding up to $8,428 in some cases. To ensure that you don't get taken for a ride on the purchase of a new car, do your research and plan to negotiate with salespeople.
Compare store ads. Comparing offers between retailers is key to saving money on your Labor Day purchases. Use Retale or Flipp to view digital versions of store circulars online or through your mobile device. You can quickly thumb through deals and note who has the best offer on your desired product. A comparison shopping app like ShopSavvy is also helpful in comparing prices between local competitors and online retailers based on the barcode of the product you're considering. If you find a product you're eyeing is priced for less at another store or online retailer, ask a sales associate or manager to match the better offer. You'll likely be able to get it for even less without the hassle of running around town.
Seek out coupons. Like other holiday weekends, retailers offer additional savings on Labor Day sales and clearance items in the form of coupons. Missing out on these offers means paying up to 40 percent more than necessary in some cases, so don't skip this important step. Download a coupon app for instant access to in-store deals or visit your favorite coupon website and print offers ahead of time. Many stores are already advertising coupons good through Labor Day weekend. Through Sept. 5, for example, Ikea has a printable coupon for $20 off $150 purchases. OshKosh B'gosh is offering 25 percent off purchases of $40 or more. JCPenney shoppers can take $10 off a $25 purchase.
Online shoppers should also search from promo codes before checkout to reduce the cost of their orders. Tiny Prints, an online stationery provider, is promoting free shipping and 30 percent off everything through Sept. 6. Kohl's is offering an extra 20 percent off baby and toddler gear and clothing through mid-September. Some retailers, including Kohl's and Victoria's Secret, accept more than one promo code per order, so stack deals when you can for the biggest savings.
Consumers should also search social media for coupons since many brands will promote top offers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as they compete for consumer dollars during this important holiday weekend.
Earn cash back. Finding discounts is one way to save money while shopping this weekend. Another method is to earn cash back while you pick up groceries for your Labor Day barbecue or treat yourself to a pair of shoes online. Apps, such as Ibotta and Checkout 51, offer cash back on grocery purchases, with savings including 75 cents back on Weber BBQ sauce, $2 back on two packages of Viva bath tissue and $2 back on Jose Cuervo Especial tequila. Ibotta also offers cash back to popular retailers, including $5 back on $30 purchases at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, $5 back on $40 purchases from PetSmart and $5 back on $60 purchases from Famous Footwear.
Online shoppers can also earn cash back on their Labor Day purchases using Ebates, a site which offers quarterly payments to users who shop through their portal. Cash back rates vary depending on the retailer – but range from 1 percent cash back from Walmart to 7 percent cash back from Travelocity. Combine these cash back offers with coupons and sales for the deepest discounts.
Finally, shoppers who prefer travel miles to cash back can shop through their airline's rewards program shopping portals to receive points for online purchases. Shoppers can still receive Labor Day discounts while adding to airline miles to offset the cost of an upcoming trip.