Now is the time to get your back-to-school shopping done. Not only are major retailers like Walmart, Amazon, and Target hosting huge sales on everything you need to get ready for the school year, but many states have sales tax holidays — meaning you won't have to pay sales tax on items that qualify.
The dates and rules for each state's sales tax holiday vary, so check out our state-by-state roundup for all the details on how to shop tax free this August.
And the smartest move of all for checking off your back-to-school shopping list is to combine tax-free shopping with the biggest discounts. Here are the best back-to-school sales happening right now.
Even if you missed Amazon Prime Day’s deals on back-to-school stuff, the e-commerce heavyweight has a lot more to offer via its exhaustive back-to-school landing page (which also includes plenty dorm-friendly deals). A couple of the better deals we spotted: A year’s worth (three dozen!) of black Sharpie permanent markers for just $14.51, compared to a list price of $50.49, and AmazonBasics Twin XL bed-in-a-bag sets for just $38.99.
Apple doesn't run very many deals, so when they do, it's worth taking note: You can score Beats Solo3 Wireless or Powerbeats3 Wireless in-ear headphones if you buy an eligible Mac desktop or laptop model, a $299.95 discount. We’re partial to the super-skinny MacBook Air, which starts at $849. Or, you can snag a pair of free Powerbeats Wireless in-ear headphones if you buy an iPad Pro (which has a starting price of $629), a savings of $199.95.
JCPenney is promoting a slew of deals on kids’ clothes, including $10 off school uniform purchases of $50 or more. The retailer also is running an online-only sale of 25% off purchases of $100 or more with the promo code 7BIGSALE. That would bring the price of these already on-sale Arizona jeans for boys down to just $8.49. At that price, you might as well buy two pairs, for when turns up with a weird stain or a can’t-fix-that-one tear.
Kohl's has free shipping on orders of $75 or more, and $10 in Kohl's Cash for every $50 you spend now through August 12. You can score some deals on name brands your teen or preteen will appreciate, like 25% off gym gear from Under Armour, or these slip-on boys’ Vans skater sneakers in the brand’s iconic checkered pattern in black or red and white, for just $33.99 (down from $44.99).
The department store brand has a big assortment of back-to-school gear, with a landing page that covers everything from sheets to staplers in addition to shirts and shoes. Stock up for your school- or college-aged kid (or freshen up what’s in your office!), and get free shipping for orders of $49 and up, plus an extra 10% - 20% off with the promo code WKND.
In addition to the usual grab-bag of discounts on school clothes and the like, Sears is running a big promo of up to 40% off name-brand athletic shoes. That means you can score deals like these girls’ Reebok running shoes for just $26.32, a serious discount off the regular price of $49.99.
Naturally, Target is promoting deals on clothes, backpacks and school supplies, with a big selection of sale stuff from the new brands the big-box retailer rolled out in recent months, like these kids’ Cat & Jack T-shirts with fun graphic prints for just $5, a discount of 17%. You can also pick up a haul of ridiculously cheap school supplies like stacks of 100 index cards for just 49 cents.
Like most of the other big store chains, Walmart has all sort of deals on kids’ clothes, shoes, and school uniforms — and it has a super-big selection of backpacks on sale, including character-licensed bags from Marvel, Disney and so on. Score either Spider-Man or Frozen backpack-lunchbox combos for just $11.99 or $12.99, respectively, each down from $18.88.
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