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5 things to buy in August

Finding good deals at this time of year is typically associated with Labor Day.

But sales on many goods often start much earlier. Thanks to back-to-school sales and other seasonal trends, August is actually a good time to find discounts on electronics, clothes and storage bins, even if you aren't sending someone off to a dorm room. Here are five things you might want to buy now:

1. Cars

Dealerships are starting to ramp up their discounts on 2015 models to make room for next year's cars. Those discounts will get bigger as we near the end of the year, but people who shop in August have a good shot at finding a deal while inventory for those cars is still high, says Jessica Caldwell, director of industry analysis for Edmunds, a car shopping website. Discounts tend to grow from an average 8 percent in August to an average 10 percent in December, but people who hold off until then may find that the model or color of car they want has sold out. "It's a waiting game," Caldwell says.

People in the market for a minivan may find even better savings. Discounts on the family-friendly cars are largest now than any other month in the year thanks to back-to-school promotions, according to TrueCar, a car buying website.

The financing options are also better in August. Many dealerships offer zero percent financing and zero money down deals at this time of year to make the purchases more affordable, Caldwell says.

2. Laptops

After Black Friday, August is the best time of year to buy a laptop, says Benjamin Glaser, features editor at DealNews.com. Computers sell at discounts between 8 percent and 25 percent off of their regular prices this month because of back-to-school sales, he says. A 15-inch PC laptop with an Intel processor can go for about $350, according to the site, which compiles sales from online retailers. In a deal targeting college students, Best Buy is offering up to $150 off select laptops.

3. Storage containers

Been meaning to reorganize your closet? Retailers are offering discounts and free shipping on baskets, storage bins and other organizational items targeting the back-to-school crowd. Even if you don't have any college students in your family, you can still take advantage of the deals. The Container Store is offering discounts on book shelves, baskets and hampers. Wal-Mart has some storage items on sale and is offering free shipping on purchases of $35 and up.

4. Grills and patio furniture

It might feel a little late to buy a grill with a few weeks left in the summer. But retailers are just now upping the discounts on grills and other backyard furniture as they try to clear out their inventory before the fall, Glaser says. At Sears and Target, for example, some grills are selling for up to 60 percent off. Some patio furniture is selling at a 75 percent discount. Sales will peak by Labor Day weekend, Glaser says.

5. Flights

If last year is any guide, August may be the best time to find cheap flights for the holidays, studies show. Flights for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve were cheapest in the 33rd week of the year — which this year starts on Aug. 10 — when compared with trips booked the week of the holiday, according to Skyscanner, a flight comparison website. In general, airfare tends to fall throughout the summer and stabilize in the fall, according to the airfare prediction app Hopper. The average round-trip ticket purchased in August is projected to cost $247, down from $276 in June, Hopper says.

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