The Best Time to Find Amazing Back-To-School Deals

By on July 24, 2018

It seems like the school year starts sooner every year. With tax holidays, sales flyers and special promotions to keep track of, it’s tough to make sure you’re saving money when filling up your shopping basket with back-to-school clothes, electronics and more. Be sure to check out the main Ben’s Bargains deal feed updated multiple times daily with the latest back-to-school deals for the new school year.

back-to-school-comparison-shoppingWith nearly two decades of experience under our belt, we have seen countless back-to-school sales and promotions. In order to give you an accurate forecast on when you will be able to get the best deals on back-to-school shopping, we compiled historical data on all back-to-school sales and deals.

Specifically, we looked at the popularity of each deal within our community, the volume of deals within a product category and the average price of those deals. On a monthly basis, our data set included between 4,100 to 4,400 deals. That’s approximately 17,000 deals over the four-month period between July and October.

While we have provided a handy guide below to help figure out when to start shopping for  back-to-school products, here are a few of the highlights:

1. When shopping for back-to-school clothing and shoes, there’s no better month than August. Specifically, prices of apparel deals are about 18 percent lower than September and October. Shoes are discounted at an even larger margin, approximately 30 percent cheaper than waiting until September or October.

2. If you can wait until early October to purchase a new laptop for your student, you will end up saving nearly 10 percent over prices in July and August. Obviously, waiting until the Black Friday shopping period would offer even greater savings, but your student would be without a laptop until the end of November. Keep an eye on Amazon, Newegg, Dell, HP and Lenovo for the best deals.

3. Mid to late September is the best time to purchase mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and eReaders. Many manufacturers introduce new models prior to the fourth quarter, thus previous generation models are heavily discounted. Smartphones are a particularly good buy during September at Best Buy and Amazon, about 15 percent less than other back-to-school shopping months.

4. If you’re outfitting a dorm room or college apartment with home theater gear like televisions, headphones, media players or speakers, September is your best best. However, if you need furniture, kitchen appliances or tools for that first place away from home, it’s best to wait until October in order to save the most money. Of course, your college student will have to get by on cheap Craigslist couches and a handheld can opener until then.

Ben’s Bargains Back-to-School Shopping Guide

(Click to expand)

Ben's Bargains Back-to-School when to buy guide

6 More Back-to-School Shopping Tips

1. Take an inventory of what you already have. There’s no reason to purchase a duplicate of something that you purchased last year, as long as it’s still useful. For example, with computers, look to upgrade your current hardware over purchasing an entirely new laptop or desktop computer. Simply adding an SSD hard drive or more RAM can significantly boost the performance of your computer without breaking the bank. Simple tutorials for both upgrades can be found on YouTube.

Regarding basic school supplies, set up a central location within the home to collect and store all supplies. This will help you see what you have and restock as the school year progresses. Watch for major back-to-school sales at Office Depot, OfficeMax and Staples during the first half of August.

2. Figure out what you shouldn’t buy. Put yourself in the shoes of your student. Do they really need a printer or can they print off their assignments in a computer lab? Do they really need a USB flash drive or can they simply use a service like Dropbox to share data between computers? Are the majority of school assignments going to be submitted digitally? If so, reduce the portion of your budget dedicated to office supplies.

3. Don’t pay sales tax if you don’t have to. Be sure to check out the list of 2018 sales tax holidays to see if your state participates. While mostly offered in Southern states, some states offer huge savings for families. For instance, South Carolina has no cap on back-to-school purchases that qualify for the no sales tax benefit.

4. Team up with other families for bulk purchases. Reach out to other families within your school’s community and talk about purchasing school supplies in bulk. Many times, warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco will offer great deals, but the quantity is too big for the traditional family. Joining forces with another family can cut down the cost even more and allow you to split up the supplies.

5. College students should investigate textbook rentals. Textbook rentals are extremely helpful in order to avoid insane textbook prices at the college bookstore. While the go-to retailer is Amazon for physical textbook rentals, be sure to check out the Google Play store if your student has an Android device and wants to rent a digital textbook. Chegg is also an option.

6. For big ticket items, set up a deal alert. If you are shopping for something expensive like a laptop, let us do the work for you with a deal alert and send you an email notification when something hits your price point. With the 17,000+ deals we publish during the back-to-school period, we can definitely help you save money this year. You can also take a quick look at the main Ben’s Bargains deal feed to see the best deals on any given day.

About Mike Flacy

By day, I'm the Editor-in-Chief for The CheckOut in addition to being the content manager for Steve's Digicams and High-Def Digest. During my free time, I love to write about pop culture, home theater, digital photography, social media, mobile technology and cool gadgets!


  1. Josephine

    January 11, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Hi Mike,

    Usually, the price of school supplies can seem stifling, especially when having multiple children in school with different needs and different price ranges! A college student needs a car to drive to and from college, the high schooler a new wardrobe and laptop, while the middle schooler needs a new phone as he is getting to the age where communication is a must, and the elementary schooler a new backpack and lunchbox! The sooner you start making small purchase, the more economically stable you feel as you don’t have to throw in all of the money at once! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Patrick

    July 23, 2014 at 9:51 am

    With today’s economy, more states should incorporate some tax free back to school items. Especially since it’s becoming more and more common for the schools to supply less in the form of education and supplies. With 3 kids starting to get into school, we are feeling the pain as well.

  3. Erv Dinh

    July 23, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Pretty awesome tips, thanks!

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