Keep an eye out for these awesome bargains
You’re about to get schooled.
It’s the time of year when parents start back-to-school shopping, and those of us who aren’t parents try to ignore all the back-to-school ads. But experts say you can find great discounted products that are perfect for adults, if you know where to look.
Back-to-school discounts are everywhere, and can come in the form of sales, coupons, buy-one-get-one-free offers, and free add-ons such as gift cards, in addition to discounts. You can often find these sales and apply these offers to things you’ll love even if you don’t have kids — from clothing to technology to office supplies.
Plus, you can shop your state’s tax-free weekend, if it has one. Tax-free weekends, which provide statewide discounts exclusively on clothing and school supplies — everything from notebooks and pens to electronics — that can double as office supplies or a new wardrobe for adults, take place in late July and early August.
Here are the often-discounted back-to-school items you should totally buy for yourself:
According to Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing at DealNews, the back-to-school season is the best time to buy a new laptop. You can expect to save several hundred dollars: Higher-end models are often marked down by 30% or more with an eye towards students entering high school and college. You’re also likely to find laptops that come freebies, like tablets or gaming consoles, during this time. Check out Best Buy’s Student Hub for discounts and special offers on laptops and other electronics. While some deals require a student ID, many are available to all.
However, with certain tech gadgets, such as tablets, you’re better off waiting for Black Friday. Parents aren’t as likely to buy these for school-aged kids, so they’re likely to be marked as part of back-to-school sales, but not likely to have substantially lower prices.
Some young adult clothing won’t work with an older aesthetic, but many jeans are universal. Stores like Gap and Old Navy, which cater to both teenagers and adults, usually mark down all of their jeans (and other generic clothing like t-shirts and sundresses), rather than only teenagers’ sizes. “Jean styles differ between different age groups, but styles for teens can frequently work for some adults,” says Sakraida. “I’ll look for coupons to apply to them that are meant to be for back-to-school.” And a number of stores mark down all of their clothes during the month of August, according to Sara Skirboll, RetailMeNot shopping and trends expert. Macy’s is currently offering $10 cash back when you spend $50 or more online.
Many large shoe stores offer huge discounts and BOGO sales in back-to-school season, and they’ll usually offer discounts on certain models or brands, rather than sizes, says Sakraida. That means adults can easily take advantage of these sales. Check out the huge shoe sales at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Zappos, and Finish Line.
Pens, post-its, staplers, paper clips–you name it, it’s dirt cheap in back-to-school season. Walmart, Staples, Target, and Office Depot often discount these items to a dollar or less. If you’re lucky, you might even catch one of Office Depot’s “Penny Saver” deals, which are exactly what they sound like.
August is a great time to buy linens, Skirboll says, as new dorm-dwellers flood the shops. And there are plenty of plain options that non-college goers will like. Macy’s, Bed Bath and Beyond, Overstock, West Elm, and Amazon all have good back-to-school deals on these items.
Some dorm decor — like picture frames and throw pillows — can pass muster outside a dorm. Check out Ikea for discounts on every household supply or furniture item you can think of–they’re also likely to offer discounts on shipping and assembly.
That said, keep an eye on your spending. Stores often offer appealing back-to-school deals to get people in the door, hoping they’ll spend a lot of money on other products once they’re there. “The idea is to provide something that has such a great, enticing, flashy value to it that you aren’t paying as much attention to everything else you’re buying,” Sakraida says. If you really want to save money, take the bargain, and then get out.
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