How to Find the Best Back to School Sales

It seems that just as you settle into your summer routine, the school supply signage and setups hit the stores. Every year the back-to-school supply lists seem to get longer, and that doesn't even include all of the new clothes and shoes you have to buy.

Here are eight tips on how to find the best back-to-school sales. (See also: 23 Relaxing Ways to Enjoy Your Kid's First Day at School)

1. Let Other Sites Do the Work for You

You are only one person, so it will take you quite a while to track down the best deals from all local stores. Save yourself some time and sanity and rely on the expertise from other websites. Here are just a few to put on your radar.

  • Passion for Savings: This site puts a lot of effort into collecting and laying out all of the back to school deals each week. There is even a free app that will keep you up to date on the sales.
  • SlickDeals: Just search "back to school" in the SlickDeals search bar for the best and latest deals.
  • Flipp App: The Flipp app has all of your local ads in one place. Flipp will also match up any coupon offers available. If your local Walmart or Target allow price matching of digital ads, the Flipp app will make price matching simple.
  • AFullCup: This savings forum has many postings on deals, coupon matchups, clearance finds, and more for many popular stores.

2. Don't Do All of Your Shopping in One Place

Many parents will make the mistake of hitting up one store for a few loss leaders and then finish up their back-to-school shopping at that same store. School sales generally go on four to six weeks before most schools get back in session. This gives you multiple opportunities to shop just the loss leaders of most stores.

3. Max Out on Discounted Items

If one store has pencil boxes for a penny with a buy limit of four, then buy all four. Save supplies for the middle of the school year. Usually five months into the school year, school supplies could use a refresher. Replacing school items in December or January is a lot costlier, since there are no amazing sales.

You can also donate extra school supplies to teachers, back-to-school drives, and even international charities. Inexpensive art supplies can be given as Christmas gifts or birthday gifts later in the year.

4. Price Match

Walmart and Target will price match most store competitors. Depending on your local Walmart or Target, you might need the store's physical ad to price match. Both stores will only price match items of the same name brand and the same quantity. For example, Walmart will not price match a deal on Target's Up & Up glue nor will they price match a deal on a two pack of Sharpies if Walmart only carries Sharpies in a three pack. Walmart will also not price match rebates.

Price matching at Walmart can help eliminate excessive trips to several stores. If you need a lot of a deal, you can also use Walmart to double or triple your deal. For example, if Staples has Kleenex on sale, and you want to stock up, you can get the maximum deal at Staples, and then price match the deal at Walmart to get even more. Since many cities have more than one Walmart nearby, you can even price match the same deal at a different Walmart.

5. Combine Coupons and Rebates

Check and Target's coupons for coupons on school supplies. You might even be able to combine Target's printable coupons with a Cartwheel offer or gift card offer.

Don't forget to check out rebate apps such as Ibotta and Checkout 51. When the back-to-school sales start, many bigger brands want to boost sales through rebates. (See also:8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop)

6. Back-to-School Sales Are Not Just for Students

Even if you don't have students to shop for, the back-to-school sales are a great time to score deals on household items. Usually printer paper is inexpensive or free after a rebate. Many household cleaners and products are also highly discounted.

7. Don't Forget eBay

While eBay shouldn't be your first stop for pencils and glue, it can be a great way to save on expensive calculators and laptops. A new graphing calculator can cost over $100 in the store, but you can find that same calculator used for $40–$50 on eBay.

8. Hold Out for Clearance

After the back-to-school buying rush is over, stores are quick to put merchandise on clearance to make room for holiday items. Now is your chance to score character items or higher end items at a greater discount. You might even be able to score your child's wardrobe on clearance, since many stores will want to make room for winter gear.

When your child is begging for the Avengers backpack or the Dory lunch box, tell them to wait and hopefully their favorite characters will be discounted a few weeks into September.

Average: 5 (2 votes)
Your rating: None

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to