Your Guide to the Best Memorial Day Sales

Shop online, stick with clothes, and avoid electronics to save the most this weekend.

By SHARE

Memorial Day might be all about the outdoors, but indoors is where you'll find the best sales. Not only are the biggest discounts on clothing, but shoppers can find the top deals through their Internet connections. In fact, experts say many retailers are offering the deepest cuts to online shoppers this year, largely through "stacking coupons," where shoppers can apply discount codes on top of site-wide sales.

[In Pictures: 10 Smart Ways to Improve Your Budget.]

"When you combine those with the sales already going on, that will end up being the largest discount," says Jeff Contray, managing editor of coupon site dealnews.com. But not all shoppers will be saving this weekend; some items, including sought-after grills and patio furniture, will stay pricey until the end of the season. Here's a round-up of the top deals you'll find throughout the holiday weekend:

Apparel: Historically, Memorial Day is one of the best times of the year to update your wardrobe. That's because retailers know the warm weather inspires shoppers to pick up new shorts and tops, and they mark down their items accordingly, says Contray. Many retailers got a head start on that tradition this year, with Gap Outlet emailing additional discounts to customers that can be used on top of site-wide sales earlier in the week. (Gap.com is also offering an online-only sale through Monday, with some items more than half off.) Sears.com is selling swimsuits, shorts, and summer tops for up to 60 percent off.

Neiman Marcus is offering up to 40 percent off regular prices and American Eagle's website features a 30-percent-off code through Monday. Macys.com features a range of discounts throughout the weekend as well, with extra discounts on swimsuits and beach towels. Kohl's will also take 15 percent off storewide in honor of the holiday. Ann Taylor's "$25 and under event," available both online and in stores, features shoes, tops, and shorts, and some styles are eligible for 50-percent-off discounts.

Tools and appliances: Sears, Home Depot, and Lowe's are all featuring discounts on tool sets, with Home Depot offering one cordless set for just $64, which Contray says is even lower than its Black Friday price. Sears is offering 30 percent off Kenmore appliances, 25 percent off Samsung appliances, and a variety of discounts on other brands with the code "memorialday."

E-readers: Amazon and Barnes & Noble continue to try to undercut each other's e-reader prices, which means consumers can snag better and better deals. Since summer is a big time of year for reading—especially lazy beach novels—Memorial Day is a good time to pick an e-reader, as well as new ebooks. (The lowest-priced Kindle is now $114, while the new Nook, which will be available June 10, is $139.)

[In Pictures: 10 Baby Products You Should Never Buy]

Meanwhile, shoppers will benefit by waiting to buy traditional summer items such as grills, patio furniture, and air conditioner units, because prices are higher now than they will be at the end of the season. According to Contray's research, portable air conditioners that sold for $400 at the beginning of last summer dropped to $300 by the end of summer, and he saw the same trend with grills. "If you can wait to update those items you associate with summer until the end of the summer, then it's best to wait," he says. (Home Depot, however, is offering free shipping on grills and patio sets through June 1.)

Something else to skip: electronics. Televisions, computers, and cameras typically fall to their lowest prices around winter holiday sales, such as Black Friday. Early summer is not usually the best time to make those mega-purchases. But Contray adds that a few select retailers, including Newegg and MacMall, will be offering Memorial Day sales. Those desperate for new gadgets can also turn to Pricegrabber.com, which is currently featuring a "Dads and grads" guide that includes deals on smartphones, LED televisions, and audio receivers.

Across almost all categories, the best strategy for shopping success this weekend is to shop online, and to search for any last-minute additional discounts before checking out. With many retailers emailing coupon codes to subscribers that can stack on top of the deals available to everyone, the savviest shoppers will apply not one, but two or more discounts to each purchase. Free shipping might also apply with an extra promotional code; check freeshipping.org for available codes.