By: Brad Wilson | National Content Desk
Back-to-school shopping season has arrived. And, while this year is anything but normal, parents are still gearing up to spend on school supplies, clothing, and electronics. So, what should consumers know before they buy? Here’s my answers to common questions I get from shoppers this time of year.
Q: What items tend to go on sale and when?
A: August is by far the best time of year to buy school supplies. The prices are so good, I recommend anyone in need of things like pencils, pens, and notebooks to stock up. While many parents may think the best place to shop is a big box store like Target or Walmart, office supply stores, pharmacies, and dollar stores can have outstanding deals this time of year.
While we are still seeing options for low-priced laptops and other tech equipment needed for virtual learning, we have seen that there are some inventory issues. My advice? If a laptop is necessary, don’t wait to purchase it. And keep in mind, the high demand for laptops due to virtual learning and increased work-from-home means that retailers are not discounting as heavily as they have in the past.
Q: What items should parents hold off on buying?
A: There are worthwhile back-to-school apparel sales running from late July to early September, but for the best deals, parents may want to hold off making a purchase until the end of September or early October. That’s when retailers start to put the fall season on clearance to make room for winter inventory. However, waiting can be risky, because some styles may be sold out or only available in limited sizes. A good strategy can be to spread the shopping out, and get some things early while waiting for others.
Q: How can you easily find the best sales online?
A: We have a team of expert shoppers at Brad’s Deals who find the best deals from trustworthy retailers and share them every day. We’ve been collecting back to school deals, and new deals are being added all the time.
Q: General advice for parents looking to save this season?
A: Fifty-six percent of parents said that saving money on back-to-school shopping is more important this year than it was last year. Price guarantee policies can be a great way to save even after a purchase is made. Many retailers, including Macy’s and Kohl’s, will refund the difference in price if something you have purchased is on sale for less within a given window of time.
Also, to avoid paying shipping charges on your purchases, keep a running list of straightforward back-to-school items that are sold in many places. That way, if you just need to spend a few dollars more in order to get free shipping, you’ll have a go-to list of things you know you need.
Q: What types of items will likely be the most popular?
A: We asked parents what brands and products their children were most interested in this year. In terms of technology, Apple was the big stand out, though we did see some callouts for Samsung and HP. For apparel and footwear, Nike was a top response for many, but we also saw a high volume of mentions for Under Armour, North Face, Vans, Skechers, and Converse.
Brad is a columnist for the National Content Desk and writes this sponsored content. Have a question for Brad? Email him at AskBrad@BradsDeals.com.