Labor Day sales will be plentiful - and early


Grilling out goes easy on the pocketbook – except for those darn chicken wings

If you’re hoping for a good Labor Day holiday, you can uncross your fingers when it comes to shopping deals because those will be in full swing.

ConsumerAffairs has checked in at the online and in-store retail level and at grocery stores looking for bargains and here’s what we found. Spoiler alert: One shopping expert says the better deals may happen before the weekend ever makes landfall.

Labor Day bargains

The good folks at RetailMeNot say that there are some heavy hitters already lined up for shopping deals this weekend. In their way of thinking, the best ONLINE sales and deals include:

Wayfair: Up to 70% Off Labor Day Clearance Sale

Amazon: Up to 60% off of Amazon's top deals of the day 

Cabela's: Up to 40% off each order. 

LEGO: Online cash back

Macy's: Up to 65% off furniture, mattresses, rugs 

Rack Room Shoes: $15 Off $99 with promo code “DEAL15”

Columbia Sportswear: 25% off sitewide

Walmart: Up to 50% off

As far as in-store deals, it likes what it sees fromForever 21, Office Depot, and J. Crew Factory’s researchers have uncovered some deals of their own, including:

  • Mattress sales
  • Home decor and furniture sales from Ashley, IKEA, Crate & Barrel, and others
  • Tech deals like Dell’s up to 50% off your purchase of a laptop or desktop computer. Samsung is focusing on big ticket items like appliances and TVs, but shoppers can also take advantage of trade-in credit deals on Samsung electronics (smartphones, smartwatches, earbuds). Example: up to $750 instant credit when you purchase the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Insider tips

Vipin Porwal, CEO and consumer savings expert at Smarty, a popular cash back portal, says that the smartest shoppers will actually hit the stores before the actual Labor Day weekend with add-on savings courtesy of promo codes and cashback rewards.

 “Those in the market to upgrade their sports and outdoor items will want to hit pre-Labor Day sales early as the most popular brands and options hitting summer clearance will sell out quickly, including summer active apparel, swimwear and outdoor sporting gear and equipment,” he told ConsumerAffairs.

He cautions that there are things you should resist buying this weekend. “Those looking for colder weather clothing should hold off for just a bit when the fall fashion sales kick in in late September and October, especially when shopping for jeans, jackets, boots and denim when bigger savings and selection are promoted more heavily.”

Your kid buggin’ you about a phone?

Before we move on from the sales deals, one last one: phone plans. If you have bought everything on your student’s must-have list for back to school but are holding out on a phone plan, you’re not alone.

After fielding a study about tech “musts” and how parents are dealing with the situation, Cricket Wireless found a hole it could fill and save budget-minded parents some money.

The company is launching three new online-only, multi-month unlimited plans that it says will save customers up to $300 a year or $30/per month on a single line when – and this is important – they pay in advance.

Here’s quick snapshot of what Cricket is offering:

  • Three months of unlimited voice and data when customers pay $120 in advance, giving them a total of $45 in savings.

  • Six months of unlimited voice and data when customers pay $210 in advance, giving them a total of $120 in savings.

  • 12 Months of unlimited voice and data when customers pay $360 in advance, giving them a total of $300 in savings.

Not wanting to be left behind, MintMobile has gone deal crazy, too. It has plans ranging from 25% off to 50% off with the capper being its unlimited Talk & Text plan -- nationwide coverage, 40GB of 5G and 4G LTE Data, free calls to Mexico and Canada, 10GB Mobile Hotspot, WiFi Calling & Text. But like Cricket, you have to buy the deal in advance – $45 for 3 months of service. After that, though, the prices go up depending on what length of service you can commit to and prepay for.

Grilling out? You’ll save some money there, too

Labor Day weekend is usually the last big grilling day of the year – something not lost on meat producers, for sure. The latest Urner Barry Retail Rundown says that grocery shoppers should be aware of what’s going on with these meat essentials:

Beef: Choice cutouts are currently down about 6.5% from their summer peak but are nearly 16% above a year ago. Ground beef has been averaging around $5.72 discounted, a 5.9% year-over-year increase. Tenderloin last checked in at $19.17 per pound, $1.80 higher than the same week in 2022. 

Pork: “Meanwhile, wholesale pork prices trended well below year-ago levels throughout 2023 so far and have also drifted lower since the year-to-date high hit in mid-July,” said Urner Barry’s Courtney Shum. Shum says grocers have gotten aggressive with pork prices, so brats and chops are looking like a better bank for the BBQ buck than beef products are. 

For example, center-cut pork loin averaged 10 cents per pound lower than a year ago; shoulder roasts were at $2.08 per pound last week, slightly below Labor Day weekend in 2022; and fresh bacon averaged $5.91 discounted, down 11.9% from last year.

Chicken: What’s coming out of the hen house is a mixed bag, however. Because we’re headed into football season, wing prices are up because demand is up, but fresh chicken breasts are about 50 cents per pound lower than a year ago, and legs and thighs should be found for under $3 a pound.

Seafood: Shum didn’t offer any price points but did say that seafood continues to dominate ad space with 27.5% of total retail buying opportunities, so you should expect some good deals there, too.

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