Falling for Summer Sales

Ahh, the end of summer. It certainly outstayed its welcome in Washington this year. How nice to finally cover up the grill and put away shorts and T-shirts that got smaller and smaller throughout the season (or did I just get bigger?). But one of the best things about this time of year is the sales, whether it be Columbus Day or stores trying to unload summer stock. Here are a few sales going on this week that caught my eye.

Patio furniture and other outdoor items: Fall is the best time to buy summer items if you can stand waiting a whole year to use your new goods. Offenbacher's has patio sets half off and floor models are marked down even further if you can get past knowing that several tushes tried out that "new" lounge chair. Home Depot has patio furniture featured on its Web site for half off and stainless steel grills for 30 percent off, including a snazzy four-burner grill for $200. The store also has a Cub Cadet mower for $229. Sears' appliance outlet in Potomac Mills recently marked down tractors, grills and patio furniture up to 50 percent.

Clothes: Nordstrom has marked down many items at least 50 percent. I found a pair of women's 7 For All Mankind jeans marked down 70 percent for around $50. Mind you, these are jeans that usually go for nearly $200 and are regularly seen on the bods of Cameron Diaz and Eva Mendes. If you can't make it to the store, the Web site ships all orders, no matter the price, for $5. And shipping is free on shoes as long as you buy at least one regularly-priced pair. As far as men's clothes, my husband doesn't usually stop dead in his tracks at the mention of a sale but he did do a double take at Jos. A. Bank's annual suit sale. They're selling simple, all-season suits for $199 until Oct. 21.

Appliances: Sears' appliance outlet, the same one having a sale on grills and patio furniture, marked down refrigerators 40 percent, clothes dryers 50 percent and mattresses are now 75 percent cheaper. Anything in the store with an orange tag is 80 percent off. Not bad if you're in the market for a big ticket item. Just do your homework on the different brands they sell.

Online sales: Any Web site that offers free shipping soon becomes my favorite of the week. L.L. Bean recently started offering free shipping on Internet orders until Dec. 21. And they actually have some good deals like kids' snow boots for under $20, book bags for less than $15 and women's barn coats for around $20.

Are you stockpiling summer goods for next year? Which items did you find that you couldn't pass up? Post your finds in the comments area below.

By Tania Anderson |  October 16, 2007; 9:00 AM ET General Interest
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My favorite is the Old Navy clearance rack. Where $20 t-shirts go to die. For 89 cents.

For that kind of break, I'll wait all summer. I did find that there's a significant quality difference between Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic tees, but the answer is: just buy a handful of them at ON and toss them as needed.

Posted by: rockcreek | October 16, 2007 10:02 AM

I was recently excited by a makeup sale at Victoria's Secret; any two makeup items for $20. So in my case I bought a blush compact (originally $18), and a eyeshadow compact, (also originally $18), the two for only $20. A purchase that should've cost me $36 was basically buy one, get one free.

Posted by: aanderso13 | October 16, 2007 10:24 AM

I'd love to hear about furniture. When is the best time to buy a sofa? Is there in fact a "best time?"

I actually would like to do this before year-end, as my spouse is clergy and we have to use up our "parsonage allowance" (tax benefit). But if it really is better to wait till Jan, I'd like to know that too. Thanks.

Posted by: Loren | October 16, 2007 10:34 AM

Watch those so-called "deals" at Sears. In May, we bought a hot water heater than came with an $80 rebate. Ha! It took more than 4 months and many phone calls to get it. Apparently Sears sends out the checks via bulk mail which, coupled with the fact, that they used an incorrect zip code, resulted in all kinds of delays, errors, etc. Never again.

Posted by: susa | October 16, 2007 12:08 PM

Lands End at Sears: kids shorts, skirts, shirts, and spring jackets are all on sale. I got shorts and matching shirts for under $5 a piece. And very nice hooded half-zip anorak-type jackets for $9.99. This is stuff that is $15-$25 in April!

Posted by: LBH219 | October 16, 2007 2:21 PM

I have an LL Bean Visa card and get free shipping all year round. Well worth it.

Posted by: cab91 | October 16, 2007 3:31 PM

Can someone please tell me how to reach the Nordstrom website? Whenever I type www.nordstrom.com, I get an error message saying that the site is temporarily unavailable.

Posted by: sooz115 | October 16, 2007 6:48 PM

Yo yo yo yo yo, I got some perfectly acceptable men's shortz at Kohl's for 80 percent off three weeks ago! $7.20! Word!

Posted by: Lindemann | October 16, 2007 7:15 PM

In response to "sooz115," check Nordstrom's website on another computer if you do not have a DSL connection. It is a really good site and contains a lot of elements which may take time to load if you have a slow connection. Or, check back again because they could have been updating the site for the next season. I had no trouble getting on from my end.

Posted by: meharbou | October 17, 2007 9:09 AM

Finally! A blog that I can actually use -- my shopping habits are going to follow your suggestions... thanks for this great addition to the Post online! I wouldn't have thought of some of these ideas.... they are super!

Posted by: tbb43 | October 17, 2007 1:54 PM

I am not young, but I seem to have lots of young friends who keep having babies. Any ideas for baby gifts under $30?

Posted by: Maria | October 19, 2007 1:17 PM

I'm already thinking of Christmas gifts. I need one for my mom, perferrably "good taste" most likely it will be an item of clothing, for my dad probably a home deopt gitf card, my brother maybe a video game that takes a long time to defeat but not too complex, and some little gifts for more than 10 friends. I'm wondering about my mom's gift though. Is Tweed a reasonably place to go but not break my budget. Also, cutting downthe people I give presents to isn't an option. Can you check Tweed out for me?

Posted by: Emily | November 3, 2007 10:15 PM

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