Money Smarts: Fall’s Best Buys

Timing is everything when it comes to landing deals. Here, what to watch for on sale this season.

Autumn isn’t just shoulder season for travellers. Savvy shoppers are out to take advantage of seasonal sales between the summer and holiday shopping seasons. After all, retailers don’t want to store items until next year, or have to account for them in their annual inventory. It’s also time to move out old items and make way for new fashions and models.

Here are some of fall’s top deals according to author Mark Di Vincenzo on


Fruits and vegetables. Last chance to stock up before prices go up! Luckily, there’s still lots of fresh fare available, and many great ways to serve it or preserve it. Many foods like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, spinach and Asian vegetables are still in season through the end of October. Many varieties continue well into November — like apples, pears, garlic, squash, onions, parsnips and potatoes. Lucky British Columbians can find seasonal produce on the shelves well into the winter too. (Check with your local growers’ association for more information.)

And don’t forget the wine! The growing season is almost over for grapes, but Canada’s wine growing regions are gearing up for fall festivals to launch their new vintages.

Cookware. Getting ready for holiday feasts? Sales on pots and pans are common ahead of the busy entertaining season. Not only are retailers offering up the items that people are looking for, they’re trying to entice people who are already in the store to start their holiday shopping too.

Alternatively, you can wait for spring when retailers offer promotions for wedding and graduation season.

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Toys. No, it’s not too early to start Christmas shopping. Fall is when new toys hit the stores, and not long afterward the competition starts to heat up. Watch for stores to launch sales to keep in line with their competitors. (Also, if you’re looking to get the hottest toys this year, it’s a good idea to shop early!)

Clothing. Back to school is over, and fall fashions will soon give way to winter. Many clothing retailers are still trying to clear out summer stock at clearance prices, and you can also find discounts on fall pieces that will carry you well into the winter season. One particularly hot item to buy in the fall is a good pair of jeans.

Swimwear. We’ve said good-bye to summer and the pools are closed up, but it’s not quite time for those tropical escapes. Whether you’re a year-round swimmer, planning a sunny getaway or gearing up for next year, fall is the best time to find discounts on swimsuits. (And with fewer shoppers in the stores, it may also be a good time to get some expert help finding the right fit.)

Wedding gowns. Know someone who is about to tie the knot? Wedding season may be over, but the dresses are still hanging around the shops. Fall is the ideal time to find a bargain with end-of-year sales coming up. The stores will also be quieter — which means more attention for the bride-to-be, and more opportunity to talk down prices. Brides shopping in December will also get in ahead of those Christmas and New Year’s engagements.

Electronics. Looking for the latest tech toys? Black Friday (Nov. 25, 2016) deals beckon in the U.S. — and in recent years, more Canadian stores are joining the tradition to get shoppers to stay closer to home.

Charcoal grills. Most people shop for a new grill with the intention of using it for the summer. It’s not surprising that after Labour Day, prices start to drop and continue to go down as December approaches. Retailers don’t want to store these items for the year or count them in their annual inventory.

Lawn mowers. Admittedly, the majority of Canadians don’t have much to mow when the snow flies. If you don’t mind waiting until spring to use your new equipment, help stores make room for snow shovels and snow blowers by taking a lawnmower off their hands (for a discount, of course).

Like grills, patio furniture and other seasonal items, stores would rather sell to you at a discount than to clearance outlets at a loss.

New vehicles. Just in case the new car deals weren’t already tempting enough, next year’s models are showing up in show rooms. Further into the season, dealers will be getting more anxious to move old inventory. A word of warning: the longer you wait, the fewer the choices you’ll have for colours and options. If you’re feeling daring, wait until December for a deal on less popular colours — like orange and purple cars.

RVers take note too — dealers would rather the vehicles sit in your driveway for the winter than on their lot.