Shopping in August? Here are the best deals.

Photo (c) Su Arslanoglu - Getty Images

There are also things you shouldn’t buy – like a new phone

Here comes August, here comes back to school, and here comes shopping sales to take advantage of both.

But what – and where – are those sales and is there anything that’s a bad deal in August? ConsumerAffairs went on a money-saving mission to find out.

What and where to buy…

RJ Jain, CEO and founder at, told ConsumerAffairs that if he were doing the shopping, he’d put Target, Walmart, Staples, and Macy’s at the top of his shopping list. He says all four are planning customized perks and coupons for August, including:

Target, which will have:

  • Free drive-up and order pickup

  • Save 5% plus free shipping on back-to-school items with RedCard 

Walmart will have back-to-school rollbacks if not more. BJ’s Wholesale is going toe to toe with Walmart, too, offering many school essentials at $2 to $3 off list price.

Staples will offer 30% back in rewards on all teacher class packs.

Macy’s has these deals planned on back-to-school items (note: exclusions may apply and some are online-only):

  • Take 30% off on 1 Item, 40% off on 2 Items, 50% off 3+ Items

  • Buy more, save more is the rule of the day for back-to-school: 30% off 1 item, 40% off 2 items, 50% off 3 items! 

  • The same holds true for buying one junior dress -- get 30% off; buy 2  get 40% off; buy 3+ get 50% off (online only!)

Researchers at RetailMeNot told ConsumerAffairs the three biggest discounts in August are pretty much all school-related.

Computers and Electronics – Average discount: 26% off: If parents don’t know this already, every kid has to have a computer (headphones, too, right?). The electronics manufacturers know that, too, but rather than make you sweat it out until Black Friday looking for a good price on a laptop or desktop, Dell, HP, Amazon, and Lenovo are putting the best of what they’ve got on sale now.

In its review of August deals, DealNews says that if 2023 is anything like 2022, consumers can find really good prices on Apple products. Last August, the site’s researchers found offers like up to $300 off select Apple products at B&H Photo Video and electronic "extracurricular" items at Amazon.

One insider tip about Apple, too: Its “refurbished items” store has great deals on its entire line of products including laptops and iPhones. Many, if not most of the items are barely used and all come with some sort of warranty.

Clothing – Average discount: 20% off: August is a bit tricky when it comes to apparel. Prices on summer stuff will be slashed as we head into Labor Day, but the RetailMeNot researchers say stores are already starting to add a few things to the sales racks. You might not find puffer jackets, but there are summer’ish things that could work through early fall like shorts, tees, summer dresses, and sandals. 

DealNews says consumers should watch for notable clothing offers like up to 40% off, plus an extra 40% off summer clearance deals at Clarks, up to 75% off at Levi's, up to 60% off, plus an extra 20% off at Nike, and an extra 60% off at Banana Republic Factory.

Footwear – Average discount: 22% off: Every kid has to have new shoes on the first day of school, right? RetailMeNot’s team says that the best deals will be on sandals and slides, but parents can expect good prices on sneakers and cold weather shoes, too. They suggest checking out Macy’s, Kohl’s, Academy Sports + Outdoors and DSW for the best shoe savings.

What not to buy?

Jain says that while smaller electronics and computers might show up at discounted prices, consumers would be smart to hold off on major appliance or electronics purchases like TVs and speaker systems in August. “Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals are just around the corner, and you can snag bigger savings during those sales events,” he said.

While indoor essentials may show up on sale during August, outdoor items are not priced at great value. Jain suggests that consumers postpone buying outdoor gear like patio furniture or grills until summer comes to a close.

And, whatever you do, hold off on a new phone! “Apple will probably host another big iPhone event in September and announce the latest iterations then,” Julie Ramhold, senior staff writer/consumer analyst at DealNews, said.

“If you want a previous-generation iPhone, know that they tend to drop in price around that time, but if you want the latest iPhones, you're going to be better off waiting until Black Friday for discounts.”

Same thing with Android phones, too, she said. New models won’t hit the streets until October and deals on those won’t show up until Black Friday.

But -- if your child has gone on a hunger strike until you buy them a new phone, AT&T does have some interesting offers on both phones and plans worth considering.  

Stay away from the fakes!

Amazon fraud researchers aren't sleeping a wink these day trying to fight off the tsunami of fake reviews purchased by bad-acting merchants. But there are a few still creeping in and for this 2023 back-to-school season, Fakespot has analyzed Amazon shopping trends and found several product categories it thinks are worthy of a Review Grade of C or worse, making them the most rife with fake reviews:

  • Earbud headphones (63%)
  • Chargers (55%)
  • Sneakers (53%)
  • Smartwatches (51%)
  • Smartphones (47%)
  • Backpacks (46%)

But, overall, the tip-off for fakes is a large price tag. "Shoppers should be most aware when shopping for big-ticket items, which is especially important for ensuring that money is well-spent on quality products," Saoud Khalifah, founder and director of Fakespot at Mozilla, told ConsumerAffairs in an email. 

How do you spot fakes? Read the reviews on the product for one thing. If it's a fake, other consumers will bring say so. Annother option is to use a fake-watching app like Fakespot.

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