Labor Day weekend, which signals the last days of barbecues and summer festivities, also marks one of the biggest retail sales events of the year. With Black Friday the next major shopping holiday a few months away, deal hunters will want to act over the long Labor Day weekend to snag some of 2013's best deals.
But don't be fooled by big neon signs boasting 30 percent off merchandise. Not all store items are discounted to hyper-competitive prices this holiday, and steering clear of sales can be hard if shoppers aren't aware of what not to buy on Labor Day.
To maximize your spending budget and avoid wasting money on lackluster deals, here are the top three things to leave on retail shelves this Labor Day weekend.
Retailers such as Best Buy, Fry's Electronics and NewEgg.com have already advertised 30 to 65 percent off select electronics in celebration of Labor Day. However, experienced electronics enthusiasts know the best discounts on gadgets occur on the infamous Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving.
Sure, 65 percent isn't anything to scoff at, but with a greater variety of goods marked down as low as 80 percent off during the November holiday frenzy, exercising control for a couple more months will lead to greater savings on the most sought after electronics.
2. Winter Wear
Department stores such as Macy's, Nordstrom, and Kohl's will debut their cold weather frocks over Labor Day weekend with sale signs sprawled throughout stores.
What some shoppers fail to realize is that winter wear purchases can burn a hole in their wallet fast, as this kind of inventory is often fresh off the delivery truck.
"Warm clothing is not a smart purchase to make over Labor Day weekend. These items just recently arrived in stores, so the prices have not been reduced yet," says Jon Lal founder, of BeFrugal.com. He suggests waiting to buy winter clothes when they go on sale – "after they've been on the shelves for awhile."
So just how long should you wait in order to take advantage of fall and winter attire? Well, the next biggest sales event isn't until Thanksgiving weekend when annual discounts and deals are at their peak, giving you sufficient time to pad your savings.
3. Holiday Airfare
Labor Day weekend is the precursor to the shopping season that takes place November through December. Similarly, it's an indication to holiday travelers that they'll need to soon scope out deals on airfare for winter celebrations.
However, you shouldn't shop for your plane ticket just yet. September isn't the best time to buy a Thanksgiving weekend flight across the country. Rather, some of the lowest prices on flights during the holidays are offered in October, according to DealNews.com. Holding off on booking your holiday flight can mean hundreds of dollars shaved off your traveling costs.
Julie Sturgeon, president of Indianapolis on the Cheap, also warns against booking a cruise over Labor Day weekend and suggests waiting until the following month. "Marketing pushes are all scheduled for October, so at the very least you could get on-board credits that the cruise lines won't pass out if you buy before their sales," she says.
The Bottom Line: While Labor Day weekend is rising as a leading holiday sale contender, certain items are not priced low enough to merit a purchase on Sept. 2.
Jennifer Calonia writes for GoBankingRates.com, a source for the CD rates, savings account rates, personal finance news and more.