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It’s back-to-school time, and even though it’s a new year, one thing remains the same: Parents spend a lot of money on our children at this time of year, so we need all the help from back-to-school discounts and freebies we can get. Some of us might be buying sets of school supplies, and some of us have the pleasure of sending our college-age kids’ to their dorms with some cool school supplies, gadgets, and gear. Regardless of which level of learning your kid is embarking on this fall, some of these discounts will make life just a tiny bit easier.
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HP Instant Ink
Now that back-to-school season is here, the last thing you need to worry about is how you’re going to print all of these schedules, cute first day of school signs, and field trip waivers. Instead of going to print and finding out your printer needs more ink, save time (and money) with HP’s Instant Ink. The service is based on how often you print and has flexible plan options for as low as 99 cents per month. After you choose the plan that’s right for you, your ink or toner will ship monthly. Did we mention the cost also covers shipping? You’ll also love that HP’s cartridges are eco-friendly and crafted from recycled content. Ready to get started? Head to HP now and receive a $10 credit when you sign up (see disclaimers here).
QVC’s Back to School shopping hub is filled to the brim with discounts on everything from tech to toys. Here, you’ll be able to snag a brand new laptop for hundreds off, or grab a backpack that’s within budget. Our eyes are on these stackable storage bins that can help keep your kiddo’s assignments and supplies organized at home.
Target is one of our favorite retailers for all things back to school. You can get everything on your kids’ school supply list (and more) in one spot. Right now, Target has up to 30 percent off on select school supplies. Plus, if you need to snag some new home decor or comfortable loungewear, Target’s got you covered.
Don’t forget to check out Walmart. They now have a $1 section where you can find some great back-to-school deals. The dollar section has notebooks, pencils, and supply boxes for a buck and under. You can also find clothes, too.
Some of us are old enough to remember the days when Amazon was a cool new place on the World Wide Web where you could buy your textbooks for less money than the campus bookstore. It actually still is that place — only now, Amazon offers some free online textbooks as well as others you can rent, for your Kindle or computer. What’s more, with a valid .edu email address, your kids can get a Student Prime Membership for free for the first six months, followed by a 50 percent off discount for an annual membership. Other perks they’ll receive include free deliveries, free streaming of TV shows, movies, and music, free books, and early access to Amazon’s Lightning Deals.
As parents, we already know that we’re going to have to replace our kids’ glasses probably 100 times this school season. Instead of having to spend a ton each time your kid breaks or loses a pair, plan ahead and stock up for less at EyeBuyDirect. Right now, if you buy a pair of glasses, you can get a free pair.
One of the best free tools to help your kids with their studies is Microsoft Office. Students can get a Microsoft 365 membership, which includes Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and more for free, with a valid student email address. Students and parents can also get 10 percent off of Microsoft devices, such as Surface Pros.
Other Deals to Shop
This year, Apple is offering college students discounts of up to $200 off Macs, plus a free pair of Airpods with the purchase of an iPad Air, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, and 20 percent off AppleCare+.
Arts students, rejoice: Adobe offers full-time students and teachers deep discounts on a variety of their products, including over 60 percent off a Creative Cloud membership, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, and more.
Other tech discounts
Looking for more student deals on technology supplies? Lenovo is having a huge sale on laptops and PCs right now, and college students and teachers can get an extra 10 percent off. Samsung gives students, parents, and educators an extra 15 percent off tablets, laptops, smartphones, and more, if they can verify their I.D. at checkout.
It’s never been easier for your child to stay in the know: Major newspaper chains offer discounts on their subscription services for students with a valid school email address. Deals include a student discounted rate for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Parents of younger children can get downloadable, printable workbooks and coloring sheets online from Scholastic. You can find everything from reading and writing resources to parent resources. The publishing company also offers supplemental math lessons for students in grades Pre-K to middle school. Additional resources include games, lesson plans, and activities.
Clothing, Shoes, & Backpacks
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the current back-to-school sales happening at our favorite stores. Old Navy will not be outdone as back-to-school discount headquarters, with kids clothing going for less than $10 an item right now.
Kids of all ages can get discounts on clothing at retailers like J.Crew, Levi’s, and TopShop. Discounts range from 10-20 percent. Have your child bring their student ID to get the discount.
School is stressful no matter where you’re living. The meditation app Headspace recognizes this and offers students annual subscriptions for just $9.99, a steep discount from the usual $69.99.
College students can sign up for free services like UniDays, which offers student discounts on just about anything and everything that they need to function, from food delivery to clothing to magazine and digital subscriptions.
If you’re willing to do the extra work of clipping coupons, you can find a number of great back-to-school coupons at major retailers like Staples, Office Depot, Walmart, and Walgreens. Weekend newspapers also typically have extra coupons for school supplies. Lastly, you can find plenty of coupons online for specific products. While it takes a little bit more work, the discounts may be worth it for individual items.
Some states denote specific weekends in August and September for tax-free back-to-school shopping. Parents can get clothing, computers, books, and school supplies tax-free in their state. Though tax only makes up a small percentage of your overall purchase, those savings can add up over time.
What to do if you’re in a bind
If your back-to-school shopping list becomes more costly than what you had budgeted, it’s best to look for freebies instead of going into debt.
If you’re in a pinch and need more supplies, contact your child’s school. Chances are they purchased extra school supplies for children and parents. Sometimes teachers will set aside part of their classroom budget to buying extra school supplies for their students. Or you may have better luck contacting your school’s district — they often have a program set up that gives donated school supplies away. Backpack drives through charitable organizations like the Kids in Need Foundation usually distribute their supplies through teachers and schools.
For those who want to help others this year, programs like Operation Backpack, which gets school supplies to kids in homeless and domestic violence shelters in New York, requests monetary donations rather than actual supplies.
While this annual shopping spree can be stressful on you and your wallet, the best way to handle your ever-growing to-do list is to make a plan. Setting a budget, doing your research, and hunting for the best deals will keep your shopping as smooth as possible.
Make back-to-school shopping more fun with these supplies.