Or do you? The best strategy may be to wait it out — if you can — and save your shopping splurge after others have run themselves ragged. Here are some tips for the savvy shoppers who can afford to wait a few days before stocking up on the back-to-school items.
Hold off on the computer. The days before the kids head back to school isn’t the best time to buy a new computer — prices drop further during the holiday shopping season, particularly around Black Friday. So if you can, wait to make this purchase. If that’s not an option, look for a bundle deal that includes accessories like a printer, gaming console, or a gift card for future hardware of software purchases. These kinds of promotions are common for students, but be sure to read the fine print as there may be expiration limits.
September means sales. In general, things will get cheaper the longer you wait. Retailers take advantage of the fact that parents don’t want to wait, so specific back-to-school items like backpacks and dorm furniture will be put on clearance racks as soon as school starts. If you’re driving your kid to college — or if he or she will have a car on campus — pick up larger items like the mini fridge when you get there or even a few weeks after. And compare retailers’ prices with those at the college bookstore — it may have some good deals.
Don’t settle. While those advertised back-to-school prices look pretty good, that doesn’t mean you should forsake all your savvy shopping habits. Many retailers let you layer coupons or discount codes on top of a sale, saving you even more. And be sure to check out the web site of retailers for more deals, such as free shipping.
Know what to buy now. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense to wait. If you’ve done your research and know what a good price is on a back-to-school item, take advantage of it when you see it. Even if it involves mailing in a rebate or registering for the discount online, if it can save you money, do it.