It’s the beginning of September, Labor Day weekend, and the unofficial start of fall. And, for some, it means a long holiday weekend. Stores are trying to take advantage of this through special sales and promotions. But how do you know if it’s actually a good deal? Take time to research to see if now is the right time to buy items that aren’t immediate needs. Of course, there are times where we just need to purchase some items, but if you can wait until the timing is right to buy items at their lowest prices, you can save a lot of money. Check out some of your best buys in September.

1. Apple Products

If you haven’t heard, the newest iPhone release is expected soon and rumors are it will be later this month. So if you aren’t someone who must have the newest product (which will cost you big bucks!), hold off a bit, and you can often find really great deals on the current generation iPhones over the next few weeks and months. Other Apple products are expected to see some upgrades, so be sure to keep an eye out for deals for on those as well.

2. In-Season Produce

Besides those Apple products above, don’t forget about real apples. September is a great month for produce. Apple harvest is in full swing, and you’ll find good prices along with great tasting apples. Of course, there are also plenty of sales to be had on the end of summer produce. This week’s grocery ads show some great prices on watermelon, cantaloupe, corn (as low as $.19 each). My own garden full of tomatoes and peppers has been slow to ripen this year, so you’ll certainly still find great produce at farmers markets to can or freeze items to use all year-long to save money later.

3. Summer Items

Many stores have already cleared out much of their summer items, but you still might find some great deals on items like grills, patio furniture and lawn care. This is also a good time to buy bicycles as new models start to arrive, so you’ll see lower prices on older models. You will also likely see an abundance of summer clothing still that stores are drastically reducing to clear the way for winter apparel. Really take advantage of those sales and clearance items by using an additional coupon on items when possible. The end of the season is my favorite time to shop for clothes because I find awesome deals.

4. Travel

Fall is a good time to get nice vacation packages, because it’s in between peak summer travel and holiday travel, so look around for last minute deals now, or plan ahead to travel in September next year. This is also the time to book any holiday travel you plan to do, especially Thanksgiving air travel. If you wait much longer, you’ll see higher prices.

5. Coffee

You’ll need to hold out until the end of the month on this one, but mark your calendars now for this short-term deal. National Coffee Day is Sept. 29. Last year, many chains offered free or discounted cups of coffee. You may also find some good deals in stores to purchase coffee beans or ground coffee around the end of the month.

Ultimately, by planning ahead, stocking up on low-priced goods, and paying attention to the right time to spend money can save you money in the long run. Plus, you’ll have more money in the bank for when those inevitable surprise expenses occur.

Maggie Hensler is a teacher living the frugal life in Davenport with her husband and two boys. Her column runs every Saturday in the Quad-City Times.

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