Back to school deals

Most kids have another six weeks of summer vacation before school is back in session. But retailers are eager to get them and their parents shopping for supplies a whole lot sooner. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com shares how to navigate the sales.


Watch for sales-tax holidays. If the sale isn't great, wait, especially if your state has a sales-tax holiday coming up. Holidays save as much as 8%, depending on the state. It's not much, but can sweeten a decent deal. On some items, like Apple computers, it's also the only discount you're likely to get.

Hold off on fall clothes. Boots, jeans and coats aren't really on sale yet. Instead, browse summer clearances for items like T-shirts, tank tops and light sweaters, which are wearable through most of fall and work as layers during the winter. It's easy to find sales of 50% off or better.

Use student discounts. If you're in the market for a new computer, student deals are the best offers out there. Apple, HP and Dell all offer cheaper prices for ID-carrying students. Plus, students can get back-to-school bonuses like a free X-box from Dell, or $100 toward textbooks and music from Apple. Most offers are good through September, too, so you can pair them with state sales tax holidays.

Wait on tablets. Back-to-school deals aren't the best, however, if you're a parent shopping for yourself, or your student wants a tablet. Decide.com says prices will be 10% cheaper during the last two weeks of September, if you can wait that long.

Grab office supplies. Even if you don't have a school-bound student, it's a great time of year to stock up on office supplies. We're seeing retailers as diverse as Wal-Mart and Staples offering one-cent notebooks and 25-cent pen packs. Watch the weekly circulars to see which deals are worth snapping up that week.

For more information on back to school savings and other consumer tips click here.

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