Created especially for MomsGetReal from the people at BuyVia

The end of summer can be a mournful time of year for some: students and teachers head back to school, while the rest of us see an end to backyard barbecues, lazy days by the swimming pool, and cocktail parties on the deck. On the other hand, fall also brings an end to 100 degree days, mosquito bites, and parents’ worries about how to pay for babysitting or summer camp for their kids during the months-long vacation.

Another thing fall can bring is savings for consumers savvy enough to take advantage of its many seasonal sales. Having the patience to wait to purchase back-to-school items, Halloween costumes, and Thanksgiving electronics can enable you to take advantage of sharp discounts as stores become anxious to get these season-specific products out of the store in order to make room for the next big thing.

Here are some tips on the top items to purchase during the fall, from a savings point of view.

1. Buy summer items inexpensively:

2871972520_bebec39743Now that summer is over, stores will be left with bicycles and gas grills and even pools that they need to unload in order to make way for more seasonally appropriate items. That makes this a great time to get good deals. This type of shopping is especially sensible for those who plan to travel to warmer areas like Florida or the Southwest for vacation, or even to spend the entire winter there. Similarly, you can stock up on discounted summer clothing items like sundresses and swimsuits and shorts for the future, as well.

2. Buy older versions of big-ticket items once the newer models are released:

Apple often releases new models of big items like the iPhone in September or October — just last week, the release of the iPhone 5S underscores that consumers can now get the iPhone 4S for free with a two-year contract. Likewise, Samsung is currently offering great deals on the Galaxy SIII, now that the fourth generation model is out.

Similarly, new models of cars generally come out in September. Once these heavily-marketed new cars and phones come out, the older versions will drop in price, even though there is rarely a significant difference in quality between them and the newer versions. Generally, the new models simply offer a few extra features or a fancier design. Buying the older model is a good choice to save big while not sacrificing much in terms of actual utility.

3. Plan holidays and vacations in advance:

Once fall starts, it’s a good time to look ahead to holiday travel. Whether you are going to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving or flying college students back home for Christmas, the earlier you book your tickets, the cheaper they (generally) will be. Remember that planes aren’t your only option – look into Amtrak and Greyhound as well. Travel by train or bus often offers more flexibility with regard to dates. Whereas you may pay big bucks to change the day you fly, you can often change the date you take the train or bus for free. No matter what type of transportation you choose, planning ahead will save you money and reduce your stress level.

4. Re-purpose seasonal items or save them for next year:

Once the back-to-school rush is over, most school supplies are steeply discounted. Know which items tend to go right away and which tend to stick around. You can buy the basics in early fall (whatever your child needs right away) and stock up on the rest once they go on sale. You can also buy items that are always needed – paper, folders, notebooks – and save them for next year, while re-purposing other materials for arts and crafts throughout the year.

The same goes for Halloween items. Once the holiday is over, their sales value and price will drop dramatically. Buy and store non-perishable items like decorations, makeup, and even one-size-fits-all costume items like hats and masks, and save them for the next year or two’s holidays. Likewise, although the big draw on Black Friday is the $100 iPad or the newest model of flat-screen TV going for what seems like virtually nothing, there are very few of these items available and most will be gone ten to fifteen minutes after stores open. Take advantage of the next few days when stores try to unload the stock that didn’t go during the big sales.

A little creative thinking can go a long way. What are some strategies you use to save big during the fall?

Norman Fong is Co-Founder of BuyVia, an online and iOS App smart shopping service that lists reputable products from top online stores, at the best price available. By downloading the BuyVia iOS App to their iPhone or iPad, consumers can be alerted to the best deals on the most popular products, anywhere and anytime.