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Heidi Jenkins of BECU breaks down the best places to buy everything from winter coats to portable air conditioning units.

July’s Best Sales: How to Make the Most of Them

Should your credit/debit card cool off during the hot days of July? Absolutely not! A frugal shopper’s work is never done. July is heating up with great deals you can shop in addition to the traditional back-to-school sales. Check out the best savings this coming month has to offer:

Amazon Prime Day

There’s no need to ride out the sales draught between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day: Amazon’s “Prime Day” is becoming a major event on our frugal-watch calendar, and will most likely occur the second week of July. Being that Amazon is in our own backyard, it’s likely that most of us are also Prime members and can take advantage of the annual event.

Expect: Deals all day long on items big or small.

Know Before You Shop: You must be a Prime member to access the deals. Critics of Prime Day grouse that the savings are on mundane, less flashy goods.

Buy: Gifts or household items you intend to purchase anyway. I used last year’s Prime Day to nab multiple baby items that came together beautifully for a friend’s shower gift.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Let’s face it: Growing up in the Northwest, most of us have shopped the store’s anniversary sale, spoken of by Nordstrom die-hards in hushed, reverent tones. Don’t be fooled by thinking it’s merely for parents to pick up quality, on-trend clothing before the school year – it is a great sale, period. This year’s must-have boots? Done and done.

Expect: Sales prices on fall merchandise fresh off the delivery truck.

Know Before You Shop: Some of the best deals are snapped up by Nordstrom Rewards members, who receive premium sale access. Tip: You can become a Nordstrom Rewards member by connecting your checking account to a Nordstrom debit card, allowing you to earn rewards and spend only cash.

Buy: Warm clothing you can’t wait until January to buy, including boots, winter coats, and sweaters.

Fourth of July Winter Clothing Blowout

While not the biggest shopping weekend of the year – Black Friday, Memorial Day and Labor Day are leaps and bounds ahead in terms of great buys – Independence Day is a perfectly positioned holiday for retailers to unload the last of their winter goods.

Expect: Get up to 80% off on your next ski coat.

Know Before You Shop: Rare is the shopper who will discover their preferred color, brand, size and price. Be prepared to purchase the less-popular color or second-favorite brand. Skip the summer togs – the best deals for swimsuits and shorts are waiting for you in August.

Buy: Clothing and gear for the whole fam: You’re now close enough to the winter season that you should be able to estimate any child/junior sizing.

Air Conditioners

We all remember the exact minute we glowered at a high-powered fan and decided its measly output just wasn’t cutting it. If you think you need to hold out until fall hits to buy a portable air conditioner, think again: lists July as a great time to buy.

Expect: Minor to moderate discounts.

Know Before You Shop: Be prepared to do a bit of digging – it’s not unusual for stores to sell out and not stock up again, especially in this region. Seek out various retailers and eventually you’ll find a store that overbought and is now underselling its merchandise.

Buy: An item that will easily fit your space. Be sure to check reviews on its cooling capacity and ask yourself whether the expense justifies the result.

Remember this frugal shopper’s number one rule – just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need it! Better yet, save those extra dollars for the next time an ice cream truck swings by.

Want more money-saving tips? Check out articles, self-guided courses or sign up for a free webinar.