Ready or not, back-to-school shopping is right around the corner, ready to fill our carts with school supplies, fun outfits, and the tech gear needed to start a new year off on the right foot. Even though the first day of class still seems so far away, many of the best back-to-school specials have already begun. In fact, you may not know it but the BTS shopping season is actually a whopping eight weeks long, starting in late June and ending the first week of September… so it’s technically in full swing already!
In the spirit of the annual school shopping season–and to help you prepare your budget in advance–we’ve compiled a variety of deals and coupons that shouldn’t be missed. No matter how lengthy your supply list may be, you’re sure to get everything you need and save some money in the process.
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PC or Mac
We live in a technology-centered world now. When I was growing up, we looked forward to the one or two days a month that we were allowed to work on the computer at school. Now, kids work on computers daily, and are expected to practice or complete their homework on a computer at home. This makes a reliable computer a true necessity for today’s students.
Whether you’re a PC family or a Mac one, you can score some great deals this summer before school begins. Apple offers discounts to both students and educators, saving hundreds of dollars on devices like the MacBook Air (a deal at only $999) and iPad Air (from only $479).
If you prefer a PC, you can check out all of the available back-to-school deals from Microsoft. For instance, if you’re really on a budget (or don’t want to spend $1,000 on a device that your child might break), check out the Dell Inspiron 14. It’s a laptop and tablet in one, and is available for BTS for only $399.
Fire HD Tablet Deal
If a tablet is more your style and you enjoy a smart device with Alexa capability, Amazon is a great place to start your search. There, you can snag a Fire HD device for as low as $49.99 (for the 7” version) or get the top-of-the-line Fire HD 10 for only $149.99.
With the Fire HD, you can browse the internet, check email, stream shows and movies, and more wirelessly. Models are available with up to 32GB of memory, which is more than enough for your day-to-day use, and are all Alexa-enabled.
If your desk needs a bit of an upgrade, you’re in luck. Logitech is offering a number of great discounts on select computer accessories, such as a wireless keyboard with a matching mouse. I personally use their wireless mouse/keyboard combination for my kids’ home computer and would highly recommend it to anyone in need of either.
One of Logitech’s best back-to-school bundles includes a multi-device Bluetooth keyboard (meaning you can use it to type on your laptop, tablet, or even smartphone!) and kid-friendly mouse. The set is only $55.98 for a limited time.
Whether walking to class, exercising after school, or quietly enjoying music while finishing homework, a pair of good headphones is a must for students today (especially high school or college-age ones). Luckily, there are options for any budget and need.
My personal favorite go-to wireless earbuds are from Jaybird Sport. They are excellent whether I’m watching Netflix, listening to music while I write, or running a few miles before starting my day. They hold up to serious abuse (and many styles are even 100% waterproof), making them a great choice for older student/athletes or those who don’t always take the best care of their belongings.
Looking for something for a younger child? Check out Puro Sound-Limiting Headphones, ideal for young listeners. They eliminate the worry of too-loud music or sounds and the hearing damage it can cause.
The optional cord (they’re Bluetooth-enabled) is also detachable and choke-free/stumble-free. Plus, the materials are all non-toxic. These are available for only $59.99 for back-to-school.
From now until the end of August, Staples is discounting many of their school supplies for parents and students. When shopping online, you’ll see red circular stickers showing the full discount available (as high as 95% for some supplies). From binders to markers to Microsoft Surface Pro tablets, I’m willing to bet you can find something necessary for the 2019 school year. For an added discount, you can shop Staples.com specific product line.
Their BTS sale prices were first listed a few weeks ago, so you can expect the prices to drop even further throughout August. If you purchase an item and the price drops within two weeks, bring your receipt back to Staples for a price adjustment. Find a cheaper advertised price elsewhere? Staples will not only match it, they’ll give you an extra 10% off!
Barnes and Noble
I can remember it like it was yesterday–Going to my first round of college courses each semester, learning which textbooks I needed, then trying to be as cheap as possible in buying them. I always ended up at the school bookstore for the last few and dreaded buying new books in plastic wrap because the ones I always seemed to need were $150 or more.
Today’s college students have it much easier, thanks to companies like Barnes and Noble. That’s because B&N is kind enough to offer a wide variety of used textbooks that are discounted up to 80% off. Even their new textbooks are offered at a discount of up to 40% off list price, saving you a ton.
This is less of a sale or promotion and more of a hack. When I was in college, though, I easily spent upwards of $500 a semester on books–which killed my budget each time. Luckily, there were a few ways to get my hands on the materials I needed without buying the books new. One of those, was buying secondhand outside of the school’s bookstore.
Sites like UsedTextbooks.net are book price aggregators, searching the web for the best prices on new and used copies of the books you need. You can also find used books on Amazon, clicking the “new and used offers from ____” link under the item’s retail price.
Lastly, look into digital copies of your books, which are also available for rent in many cases. Through sites like Amazon or Chegg.com, you can rent an online version of your book for the semester and pay as little as 10% of the retail price.
No, you won’t be able to resell that book at the end of the semester, but it will save your budget in the process. Plus, if you have a professor who demands you purchase a certain textbook only to completely ignore it all semester, you can turn in your digital copy early–or at least walk away knowing that you saved a lot more money than your classmates.
If you’re looking to furnish your student’s dorm room or even add educational tech to the home, Best Buy is a great place to start. Not only do they typically have back-to-school sales each August that include big deals on small appliances and electronics, but they also cater to the college crowd.
If you’re a college student, for instance, you can sign up for Student Deals. These exclusive promotions require signing up for an account in order to access the deals. Once you do, however, you’ll be able to purchase a variety of appliances, accessories, and electronics at discounts ranging from 10%-60% off.
If you’re not familiar with Best Buy, they also offer a rewards program called My Best Buy. Points are earned on store purchases for every dollar spent. Depending on your status level (basic, elite, eliteplus), you can qualify for perks like free 2-day shipping, extended returns, and more. All service levels include year-round perks, like set-up from the Geek Squad and a 24/7 customer service line (dedicated lines for higher status).
No matter what your back-to-school list looks like this year, there’s one rule that rings true across the board: don’t buy anything at full-price. With all of the sales, promotions, and price matching that goes on through the beginning of September, you are sure to be able to find incredible deals on everything you need, from computers and televisions to crayons and composition notebooks.
Be sure to utilize price matching offers and even price adjustments (if a sale hits the weekend after you shop), and keep in mind that exciting new promotions will be added each week. Also check into your state’s tax-free shopping weekends to save even more on your necessary purchase.
Remember to use a cash-back credit card to earn money while you spend. Here’s our list of best cash-back cards. Also, if you have teen heading off to college, check out our best starter credit cards to help them build their credit and take a look at our guide to graduating college with amazing credit.
While you’re planning for back-to-school, though, don’t forget to enjoy your weeks of summer. It’ll be over before you know it!