How to Avoid Overspending at Back-to-School Sales

Find A+ bargains for the classroom with this simple technique.

The start of a new school year means lots of back-to-school sales. And, of course, plenty of frazzled parents scrambling to buy everything their kids need.

Retailers use this to their advantage by advertising the usual back-to-school shopping events with low prices on classroom essentials. But while these back-to-school sales do offer some solid savings, it’s important to always shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price.

We’ve rounded up some recent back-to-school deals and compared them to deals seen on the Slickdeals forums from around the same timeframe. It’s really not about planning ahead in February for the next school year, but rather checking with Slickdeals for discounts when you’re ready to shop.

Could you have gotten a better deal on back-to-school supplies? Let’s find out.

Category Comparison: Computers & Tablets

Apple MacBook

Back to School SalesAverage Retail Price: $999.99

Back-to-School Deal Price: $899.99 (August)

Price Seen on Slickdeals: $649.99 to $699.99 (June)

Price Difference Between Deals: $200 to $250

Best Buy slashed $100 off the 13.3″ Apple MacBook Air with Intel Core i5, 8GB memory and 128GB flash storage in August, making it a good deal at $899.99.

But we saw this same model on sale for $699.99 (or $649.99 with a unique $50 off coupon) back in June.

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Apple iPad Mini 4 WiFi Tablet

Back to School SalesAverage Retail Price: $399

Back-to-School Deal Price: $337.99 (August)

Price Seen on Slickdeals: $274.99 (August)

Price Difference Between Deals: $63

If you bought the 128GB Apple iPad Mini 4 at Walmart for $337.99, you saved $61 off retail.

But if you’d used our Deal Alerts, you could have snagged this very same tablet for just $275 at Best Buy.

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Category Comparison: Clothing & Footwear

Clothing

Back to School SalesAverage Retail Price: $20 each

Back-to-School Deal Price: 2/$20 (or $10 each) + $8.95 shipping (August)

Price Seen on Slickdeals: 2/$14 (or $7 each) + free shipping (August)

Price Difference Between Deals: $14.95

Our forums are always buzzing about special price breaks at Kohl’s — especially for cardholders.

The store’s graphic tees for juniors have had a typical back-to-school sale price of two for $20 for the last month, but Slickdealers used stackable codes to get these basics for only $7 each (with free shipping to boot).

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Shoes

Back to School SalesAverage Retail Price: $79.99

Back-to-School Deal Price: $39.99-$74.99 (August)

Price Seen on Slickdeals: 2/$25.50 or $12.75 each (June)

Price Difference Between Deals: $27.24-$62.24

New kicks are a back-to-school must, and Foot Locker’s Adidas Pro Model sneakers have been on sale recently for $39.99 to $74.99 (depending on the color).

Slickdealers, however, enjoyed a better bargain through the official Adidas eBay store when these shoes went for only $12.75 a pair in June.

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Category Comparison: Backpacks

Back to School SalesAverage Retail Price: $40

Back-to-School Deal Price: $15.99 (August)

Price Seen on Slickdeals: $7.99 or 2/$15.98 (September)

Price Difference Between Deals: $8 per backpack or $16 for two

Kohl’s $15.99 FILA Argus 2 Mesh Backpack was included in the store’s Epic Deals sale in August, but Slickdealers saw this very same backpack priced at two for $15.98 (or $7.99 each) in early September using stackable coupon codes.

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Category Comparison: Dorm Decor

Sheet Sets

Back to School SalesAverage Retail Price: $40

Back-to-School Deal Price: $16.99 (August)

Price Seen on Slickdeals: $10.49 (August)

Price Difference Between Deals: $6.50

JCPenney’s Home Expression full-size sheet sets have been hovering around $16.99 with coupons over the last couple months, but Slickdealers scored these easy-care designs for $10.49 back in August.

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Bedding Collections

Back to School SalesAverage Retail Price: $130

Back-to-School Deal Price: $39.99 (August)

Price Seen on Slickdeals: $27.99 (June)

Price Difference Between Deals: $12

Macy’s has plenty of cute comforter sets for college-bound teens, many of which were priced around $39.99 with coupon codes in August.

But savvy Slickdealers had the opportunity to buy select 8-pc. styles for only $28 in June.

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How to Use Slickdeals to Save Big Year-Round

These back-to-school comparisons are just one example of how Slickdeals can save you money year-round. Using our site helps you find the best possible prices on pretty much anything and everything your family needs.

Just set a Deal Alert for specific stores and items on your wish list, and we’ll notify you about any relevant offers.

You can also check out our store pages for exclusive coupon codes, or browse our Frontpage Deals and Forums for the hottest discounts. You can even narrow down our deals by category (e.g., Back to School or Office & School Supplies).

Based on the comparisons listed above, back-to-school shoppers potentially saved over $400 total on their purchases just by using Slickdeals!

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Have you fallen victim to subpar back-to-school sales? Share your hits and misses in the comments section below!

Back-to-School Deal GuideImages courtesy of Apple, JCPenney, Walmart, Macy’s, Target, Kohl’s, and Adidas.

Lesley Sheridan

Lesley Sheridan is a freelance fashion and beauty writer who lives for Pinterest boards, animal prints, strappy shoes and coupon codes. Her bookshelves are filled with Kevyn Aucoin makeup guides, and her favorite band is and will always be INXS. A Kentucky girl at heart, she currently resides just outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, with her rescue cats, a boyfriend who wishes he were an astronaut and a dog whose favorite word is “pizza.”

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