So you’re not in the market for a protractor. And the last time you needed glue sticks, you also needed permission for field trips. Shop back-to-school sales anyway, because stores discount more than just the items on school supply lists.
Even if you’re not a student, you can take advantage of deals on home goods, clothes, shoes, electronics and, yes, school supplies. (Although you’ve graduated to the term “office supplies.”)
Study up on the bargains below.
This time of year, “there are a lot of sales for college kids and for parents outfitting dorms,” says Annette Economides, who with her husband, Steve, operates MoneySmartFamily.com. And you can scoop those deals on dorm furnishing without having to arm-wrestle for your preferred bunk bed.
Bedding and towels. If you need new bedding and don’t want to wait until Black Friday sales, this is the time to buy it, Economides says. For example, comforters, sheets and duvet covers are on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond. And it’s also a good opportunity to replace your towels cheaply. Kohl’s, for example, is selling some bath towels, hand towels and beach towels for under $10.
Storage and organization supplies. At Target, Kohl’s and other retailers, look for sales on closet helpers, such as shoe organizers, hangers and laundry hampers. Keep an eye out for storage supplies, too. At The Container Store, for example, you’ll find discount storage boxes that double as seats ($29.99) or benches ($59.99) until Aug. 12.
Clothes and accessories
You can find “great deals and promotions” on clothes this time of year, says Katherine Cullen, director of industry and consumer insights for the National Retail Federation. Those back-to-school sales usually include adult sizes, and, as Cullen points out, items like jeans have become more office-appropriate.
Shoes and clothes. You can find sales on jean brands such as Levi’s at J.C. Penney Aug. 9 through Aug. 12. During the same dates, look for shoe sales at both J.C. Penney and Macy’s. At many stores, you’ll come across clearance on summer clothing, too, Economides says.
Backpacks and lunch bags. If you’re still lugging around the same backpack that held textbooks, it may be time for an upgrade. Look for discounts on backpacks, as well as insulated lunch bags, at Office Depot, Macy’s, Kohl’s and other retailers.
Office supplies and electronics
Whether you want a new computer or to refill that cup of No. 2 pencils, you can find discounts on both high- and low-tech office gear.
Electronics. Check out Walmart and Office Depot for deals on computers, laptops and tablets that are available to everyone. Compare costs for the specific item you’re eyeing, and take advantage of these stores’ price-matching policies. You’ll likely find deals on smaller electronics and accessories, too, such as earbuds and earphones, flash drives, portable speakers and more.
Office supplies. Look for sales on notebooks, folders, binders, pens, pencils, highlighters and just about any other office supply at Office Depot, Target and Staples. “This could be a good time to see if you need anything for your home office,” Economides says, because “all the school supplies are on sale for rock-bottom prices.”
Take advantage of these prices, but don’t let them lure you into buying fistfuls of pens you don’t need. Before you go shopping, whether it’s for notebooks or jeans, “always take stock of what you have at home first,” Economides says.
Then make your own school supply list.