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Don’t buy these back-to-school items early

Cecilia and Rafa Back to School Fourth GradeIt can pay to get a head start on back-to-school sales if you want to avoid crowds and save money. But sometimes it's better to wait until the rush dies down

Here are seven back-to-school items you should probably wait to buy from


If you're searching for the best deals on jeans, wait for fall. By then, retailers should have lots of denim remaining from back-to-school inventory. Expect to see discounts of up to 75 percent at department stores and discount retailers. Some online retailers also offer free shipping. If you're lucky, you could find buy one, get one deals on jeans from labels such Levi's, American Eagle Outfitters, and Lucky Brand.

Winter clothes

Have you taken a moment to sort through the clothes that's in your children's closets? You may find that they're well-stocked with what they'll need for winter weather. But if not, wait until January to score the best deals on winter clothing.

Extra-curricular supplies

You may already have what your kids need tucked away somewhere in your home, or perhaps the school will provide any specialized equipment. But even if that's not the case, it's much wiser to buy accessories for after-school activities until you know what’s needed.

iPhones and other gadgets

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming. Historically, cell phone providers reduced prices on iPhone deals during these shopping holidays. Last year, Target offered a Black Friday iPhone 7 deal that came with a $250 gift card and cost $0 down.

In addition, "schools are changing their classroom experience to include more technology, including laptops and tablets," Prosper Principal Analyst Pam Goodfellow told the National Retail Federation. There's a possibility that all the technology your student will need is already on campus or in the classroom.


College textbooks often cost more than $200 each and sometimes go as high as $400, according to the Student Public Interest Research Groups. For students heading off to college, it's definitely not in their best interest to buy textbooks ahead of time, unless they're certain they won't be dropping any classes.

As for elementary, middle, and high school students, it's worth having a conversation with the teacher to find out when a kid will need the requested titles in the classroom. Doing so gives you an ample amount of time to search for the best deals.


Once school's back in session, the demand for backpacks drops, and retailers will want to clear extra inventory. Some may argue that the August deals on backpacks are good, but it pays to use last year's backpack if you can and wait until mid-to-late September to take advantage of clearance markdowns.

Lunch Boxes

Similar to backpacks, you won't see lunch boxes selling after the back-to-school rush. And if you can wait until late August or early September, you'll find good deals at both big-box and discount retailers on clearance lunch bags.

Copyright 2017, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist


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