August is full of summer activities and back to school preparations, but it lacks any major holidays. That doesn’t mean this month will lack in deals and sales, though. The main focus is back-to-school deals but before doing any shopping this month, check if your state and/or city is offering any tax-free shopping days to help with back-to-school shopping.
August discounts and bargains in the food department
Items used for packing school lunches will go on sale this month, like juice boxes, individual snack bags, and sliced cheese. You should also see cereal, yogurt, chips, granola bars, peanut butter, jelly, lunch meat, soda and bottled water on sale. If the discounts are great enough and you have the extra cash, try to stock up on a few months’ worth, especially if the food is shelf stable (no refrigeration required).
It’s also a good time of year for adding these foods to your food storage pantry. Peanut butter, jelly, and many other shelf-stable foods store very well, long-term. Some of them may need to be repackaged for the longest shelf life. Here are instructions for doing that.
Food container items will also go on sale, such as lunch bags and boxes, small coolers, cold packs and food storage containers. Even if you don’t have kids going off to school, these are good to have on hand for emergency evacuations.
Produce in season is avocado, cherries, sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, melon, pears, bell peppers, plums, squashes, eggplant, figs, onions, and berries. If you see any good deals on any produce items, think about whether you can dehydrate, freeze or can them for future use.
TIP: If you make fruit pies for the holidays, consider canning your own pie filling now with fresh produce ahead of those busy holiday times.
Household bargains to watch for
There are all sorts of August discounts and bargains for summer gear to make room for fall (I’ve already seen long-sleeved shirts and Halloween items on store shelves!). You should find swimsuits, sunscreen, flip-flops, sunglasses and summer clothing on sale. With young kids in the house, buying a size or two ahead of time will likely save you money next summer.
Air conditioners go on sale in August, if you are looking to replace an older or broken system. Dehumidifiers should also be on sale this month (consider grabbing one of these if your food storage is in a humid environment to protect your investment).
School supplies – just about all of them – will go on sale at some time in August. These are good items to shop around for with weekly ads. Read the fine print as some stores will have items on sale for a penny, but there’s a minimum dollar amount purchase in order to get that sale price. (If you own a business, think of the back-to-school sales as office supply sales.)
Along with the typical school supplies, some household supplies like tissues, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes are on sale because teachers request those items on their supply lists. Take advantage of these sales to stock up on cleaning supplies and items to use for entertaining, emergency kits, or for teaching children (keeping markers or crayons and a notebook in the car or emergency shelter can help give children something calming to do). This is also the time to gather materials to make an emergency binder.
TIP: A big enough emergency might require you to homeschool for a time. Having some basic school supplies would come in handy under those circumstances.
Kids clothing is also on sale as parents look to buy clothes for school. Underwear, undershirts, and socks also go on sale. Look for the sizes your children will need next year and make sure bug-out bags and emergency supplies have the correct sizes and outfits for this season and even the next.
Office furniture, dorm room furniture, storage items, pillows, and linens will be on sale as students start heading to college. If you’re not heading out to school, see if any there are any items you could add to your shelter area or bug-out bags.
Camcorders should be on sale in July, along with computers and tablets, as stores get ready for a surge in back-to-school sales. New computers start coming out in the summer so older models start getting discounted. If you do start looking for back-to-school deals, check with manufacturers about student discounts before buying computers, tablets, and laptops. Computer games also tend to go on sale during the summer.
Outside the home
August is the best time to stock up on gardening supplies. Think ahead to next year’s garden or even your fall or winter gardens and stock up on fertilizers, perennials, fountains and décor, gloves, hats, boots, hoses, and sprinklers. See if you can find any seeds to stock up on as well.
Outdoor patio furniture goes on sale in August, along with lawn mowers. Outdoor toys and playsets will start to go on sale, too.
Grilling utensils and grills are on sale in August. Propane and charcoal grills are a great alternative cooking method if the power goes out – just make sure to have enough propane and charcoal on hand.
Pool supplies will be on sale in August, including “pool shock.” (See The Survival Mom’s research on it here.) Beach towels can be useful to have both in the car, in emergency kits, and in an emergency shelter. They can be used to line pet carriers, too, to help keep pets comfortable.
Despite the warm weather, August is the time to look at buying a snow blower.
Sports and Fitness
Camping gear will start going on sale as the camping season winds down. You should find insect repellant, tents, sleeping bags and miscellaneous gear on sale. Camping gear can be a key part of any bug-out plan and should be tested out before an emergency happens. Keeping sleeping bags or an air mattress in an emergency shelter can be handy for when tornado watches happen at night.
TIP: In a pinch, a tent is a decent emergency shelter. They don’t have to cost much, are lightweight, and very transportable.
Fun August events that may serve up more savings
County and state fairs run in the summer and while there are usually admission fees, they can be a source of fun, cheap entertainment. Scout around for local vendors to get food from during the year and see when the 4H auctions are for art, baked goods, and livestock.
See if your area has a local arts group that hosts summer art series with free or discounted concerts or plays.
Some stores and restaurants like to participate in specific special days, so keep an eye out for deals on the following days:
- Ice Cream Sandwich Day
- Watermelon Day
- Book Lover’s Day
- S’mores Day
- Creamsicle Day
- Thriftshop Day
- Trail Mix Day
Activities for Children
Some sporting goods stores may offer classes or seminars on fishing, camping, and shooting during the summer for both adults and children. For example, Bass Pro is offering summer family camps: http://www.basspro.com.
Summer reading programs will wind down in August – make sure to turn in reading cards. Check your local library and local bookstores to see what they offer. For a list of stores, theaters and online programs, visit http://savingdollarsandsense.com/free-summer-reading-programs/.
Check local hardware and craft stores for children’s make-and-take events.
Register at www.kidsbowlfree.com to get children up to 2 free games of bowling a day at your local bowling alley.
Some movie theaters offer discount movies during the summer. Check your local theater for prices and movie listings.
Local pools often offer special days where admission is half price or they have cheaper admission during the last 2-3 hours.
Consider signing up for deal alerts via email from money-saving blog sites. Book eBub sends daily eBook deals based on the type of books you like.
Think ahead to the holidays and start making gift lists so you can look for deals during the next four months. Some people set up a gift closet to have general gift items on hand for when you go over for dinner at someone’s house or for children’s friend’s birthday parties. You can even make a list of all the presents you expect to give during a year and think a year or two ahead. This will save you money so you don’t run out at the last-minute for whatever you can find.
Here are a few Survival Mom articles to give you some ideas for preparing now for the holidays!
- 14 Homemade, Budget-Friendly Christmas Gifts
- The 12 Days of Christmas: A New Craft For Your Kids
- The 12 Days of Christmas: Give the Gift of Preparedness
- The 12 Days of Christmas: Our Favorite Things
- The 12 Days of Christmas: The Gift of Memories
Keep a list of gifts that you would like to purchase for your household for going to garage sales, too. It will help you avoid impulse purchases and stick with what you need. Here’s a list of 21 key things to look for at garage sales.
Use some of the summer downtime to do a preparedness checkup. What disasters could you possibly face in your area and what do you need to have on hand to be prepared for those? Are your 72-hour bags up-to-date? Is your emergency car kit complete?
In the summer, close blinds and curtains to keep the sun out on hot days to reduce cooling costs. If possible, dry clothes outside on a clothesline to avoid running the dryer. Take a different approach to summer meal planning and incorporate meals that are light, such as salads that incorporate fresh ingredients, or that involve cooking outside on the grill or over a fire pit.
By the end of August, you should have $595 saved if you’re following the 52 Weeks Savings Plan (34 weeks). Don’t get discouraged if you’re not there yet. Putting away anything you have extra is an accomplishment in itself. Compare what you have now to what you have when you got started and be proud! Keep focusing every day on the things you can do and enjoy while keeping your long-term goal in sight.
Take advantage of August’s deals and enjoy summer. Come back next month to see what deals September offers to help you save AND prepare!