Subscribe

Looking to save money on school supplies? It's all in the timing

Need a sweater? Wait until later in the fall. Backpacks? Hold off until late September, if you can.

  • close
    In this Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015, file photo, Tori Smith, center, director of the Southwest Branch of the Boys and Girls Club in Wichita Falls, Texas, and employees of Academy Sports and Outdoors help several club members pick out new backpacks for school.
    Torin Halsey/Wichita Falls Times Record New/AP
    View Caption
  • About video ads
    View Caption
of

The start of the school year is just around the corner, and you haven't shopped yet?

Don't fret. To get the best deals, it's all in the timing.

Need sweater? Wait until later in the fall. Backpacks? Hold off until late September, if you can.

"I think it is knowing and planning ahead of time. What am I going to need in the next six months?" said Kristin Cook, managing editor of Ben's Bargains, an online deal site that put together a list of the worst things to buy right now for the back-to-school season.

Of course, some discounters have consistently low prices. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which pushes everyday low prices, has launched extra discounts for the back-to-school shopping period. Earlier this month, it launched thousands of new price cuts, including on the 10 most-searched items online so an assortment of $12.88 backpacks are now $7.

And you should take advantage of limited free shipping offers. Target Corp. is temporarily waiving the minimum purchase order of $25 for free shipping on all items until Saturday. However, oversized handling fees may still apply.

There are also other gimmicks. J.C. Penney, which operates 800 stores nationwide, is offering $10 haircuts for kids for grades kindergarten through sixth until Aug. 31.

You can also take advantage of tax-free back-to-school shopping. Seventeen states have such sales tax "holidays."

"Arm yourself with information," said Traci Gregorski, vice president of marketing for research firm Market Track, which tracks promotions at various retailers. "Lots can be found on websites, apps and circulars."

Here are the best times to buy the following types of items:

SCHOOL SUPPLIES:

Start shopping now for pens, notebooks and other supplies.

Staples brought back its "Less List," which offers basics like one-subject notebooks for 25 cents and two-pocket folders for 15 cents, as well as a 24-pack Crayola crayons for 50 cents.

Wal-Mart rolled back prices on all three Texas Instrument calculators to $88. These graphing calculators are for high school and above and are normally $96 to $125.

Target is testing a new way to shop for supplies online called School List Assist, which is an online hub that offers a selection of the most common supplies for grades kindergarten through eighth grade.

For those stores with high spending thresholds for free shipping, just go to the store, said Benjamin K. Glaser, features editor at DealNews, because you'll just spend more trying to meet that $50 minimum.

CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES

Now is a good time to stock up on summer clothing, taking advantage of clearance sales. Gap's Old Navy, for example, is offering up to 60 percent off on summer tops. Macy's is highlighting light-weight casual dresses for teens that are $29.99 and under.

But it's best to wait to buy jeans, boots, sweaters and until well after school starts.

Gregorksi monitored circulars at 13 stores including J.C. Penney, Macy's, Sears, Target and Wal-Mart the past two years.

"The key takeaway here is that the best chance to get a deal on these fall clothing items is in October," said Gregorski. "Not only are there more products on promotion, but the deals are as good and often better than the back-to-school months."

If you can hold off on buying boots a little longer than that, just take advantage of the Black Friday sales, Cook says.

COMPUTERS AND SMART PHONES:

Hold off on upgrading Apple iPhone and Apple iPad because Apple typically announces new launches later in the fall.

But Glaser notes late August is the best time to buy a laptop before Black Friday sales hit. Right now, the average discounts for laptops are 15 percent, but you can get 25 percent off by the end of the month, he said.

"Laptops are making a comeback, especially the sub-$200 models, due to the influence of Google's Chromebook," Cook says. "In fact, sub-$150 models are popping up as of late and should continue through the end of the year."

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK