Ask Brad

Ask Brad: 2021 Best Back To School Sales

In this week’s Ask Brad, Brad Wilson from Brad’s Deals gives his predictions on what products to expect deals on for the 2021 back to school shopping season:

Laptops and Tablets

Check to see if there is a specific computer assigned by your child’s school. If not, or if your child is heading off to college, there are a few things to look for in a new laptop. The following tips come from our Deal Editor and Tech Expert, David.

The top 3 things parents should look for in a laptop for their kids:

  1. A good processor is important. We recommend starting with the 9th- or 10th-gen Intel i3 or AMD Ryzen 3. An Intel i5 is better, as is an AMD Ryzen 5.
  2. Nothing below 4GB of RAM (aka memory). Get 8GB if you can. Anything above that is overkill unless the child will be working on heavy graphics programs (which they likely will not be).
  3. For storage, an SSD drive is preferable to the traditional hard drive. While they may be smaller in capacity, they have no moving parts, which makes them faster and less likely to fail or be damaged. Since many things are stored on the cloud these days (such as Google Docs), storage capacity is not as much of a concern as it once was.

I pass on extras such as fingerprint readers or super-slim design factors. These are nice but often add extra to the cost and are not essential. Also, if they won’t need a ton of hard drive storage, don’t spend extra on a larger internal storage drive. 128 to 256GB is probably enough if you are buying a model with a solid-state drive (SSD) as recommended above. Nothing over 1TB if it is a model with a hard drive. We recommend SSDs because they are more durable and less susceptible to hard drive failure.

For a kid’s school laptop expect to pay between the $350 to $600 range. There are a lot of options out there for under $500. Be mindful of checking the specs of a laptop under $350. They are cheap but might have low or older components that may shorten the life of the laptop. If you want a laptop that lasts longer than two years, you don’t want to spend too little.

Take a look at this deal for an Asus VivoBook Touchscreen Laptop for $359 from The Microsoft Store.

Advertiser’s disclosure: If you purchase something through a Brad’s Deals link, the site may earn a commission. Pricing and product availability are accurate as of time of published article. Learn more about how Brad’s Deals works.

Headphones

There are several tech accessories that can make your child’s work area feel a little more like the classroom and make it easier to focus. For instance, a pair of over-ear headphones will not only be more comfortable for your child, they will also drown out outside noise and allow your student to focus. A wireless mouse can be easier than a laptop’s trackpad, an alarm clock is handy for scheduling study times, and a USB drive is great when your kids are working on projects at home and at school. Below are some suggestions based on our tech editors, David and Mike’s, recommendations.

Microsoft Wireless Mouse – $17.99 on Amazon
SanDisk Cruzer 128GB USB Flash Drive – $18.99 at Amazon
Canon Pixma MG3620 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One Printer – $79.99 at Target

Another fantastic tech accessory deal to take advantage of before classes start in September is this one geared for college students, their parents, and educators of all grade levels. These folks can get a free pair of AirPods with the purchase of an eligible Mac, iPad Air, or 2021 iPad Pro from the Apple Store. They’ll also get three months free of Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade, as well as 20% off AppleCare+. Check out the details on Brad’s Deals and make a strong start to the new academic year.

Computer Furniture

If you don’t already have a dedicated space for your kids to complete their homework, you might want to set one up if you can. A desk and computer chair cover the basics and keep in mind that you may likely spend more on the chair than the desk. When shopping for a computer desk chair, look for chairs with adjustable heights and lumbar support to make sure your child is comfortable and able to sit for long periods of time.

Costway Folding Computer Desk – $69.99 at Walmart
AmazonBasics Mesh Office Chair – $50.68 in Black

Traditional Back-to-School Gear

Everyday School Supplies

Back-to-school season is the smartest time to stock up on a year’s worth of school supplies such as crayons and notebooks. That’s because you’ll find that big box stores and office supply retailers offer extremely deep discounts on student essentials during this time. Check out this Staples deal, where hundreds of items are all priced under $1 and shipping is free when you log into your Staples Rewards account.

Clothes and Shoes

When it comes to building your kids’ back-to-school wardrobes, Macy’s, Kohl’s, and JCPenney will be your best bets due to their huge selections in clothing, shoes, and accessories. Retailers are offering sales on name brands this year and kids can stock up on their favorites before heading back to school.

Arizona Kids’ Graphic Tees – $5 at JCPenney
Sonoma Boys’ Fisherman Sandals – $13 at Kohl’s
Bioworld 5pc Backpack Sets – $18 at Macy’s

Back-to-school time also signals the arrival of fall, so don’t forget to check out Gap and Old Navy, two popular destinations for trendy and affordably priced jackets, hoodies, boots, and more as the weather cools down.

School Uniforms

If your child’s school requires a uniform, you’re probably on the hunt for good sales on kids’ polos, blazers, and chinos. Head over to Lands’ End for great quality uniform separates in a variety of school colors.

Backpacks and Lunch Bags

You’ve labeled the supplies, you’ve packed the lunch, now they just need something to carry it all in! We recommend scooping up this deal on Fuel backpacks in eight styles priced at $16 from JCPenney. And for kids who want something as unique as they are, consider getting personalized gear at Gifts for You Now, which has tons of backpacks, lunch boxes, and water bottles in customizable designs.

Whether you’ll be helping your child start their day of learning at home, or sending your kid off on the bus, we hope this guide can help you check back-to-school shopping off your list. I’d also just like to remind all parents that we offer deals on coffee and bulk snacks as well.

Do you have a question for Brad? Send it to askbrad@bradsdeals.com