This year, back-to-school prep feels a bit different than previous years. Many school districts are opening up with safety precautions in place, which means that it’s time to get ready for returning to classrooms. Even if your kids are still learning online, families need to get new school supplies, children’s clothing, electronics and more to start the school year off right. (See if your state is offering a back-to-school tax-free shopping weekend this year).
According to consulting firm KPMG, the average spend per child on back-to-school items is $268 for the 2021 school year, up 9% from last year. But if we’re doing the entire math equation, the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates families will spend a total of $849 on school supplies. That’s why we’re here to help you save and maximize your dollar!
Featured Deal: Get up to 60% off back-to-college essentials at Amazon
College move-in day is right around the corner! Whether they’re heading to the dorms or setting up a virtual classroom, it’s time to stock up on new college and living essentials.
Right now, Amazon is offering A+ deals on all back-to-college gear, including tech, dorm room essentials and apparel. Shop up to 60% off on everything from smart TVs and wireless headphones to blue light glasses and coffee makers.
Parent & Teacher Resources for the 2021 Back-to-School Year
To get some insights into what school supply lists even look like this year, we reached out to TeacherLists, a great free resource that empowers parents and teachers to easily share and access school supply lists. “As the season has gone along, we are now seeing more supply lists specifically for kids who will be learning from home,” says Dyanne Griffin of TeacherLists. “The items on the lists are mostly the same as a traditional list for students heading back to a classroom, but we are seeing some differences.”
Here are some of the ways Dyanne says the back-to-school lists schools and districts are sharing have changed this year:
- Schools and districts are publishing lists for students in the classroom as well as students learning remotely. Here is an example of one district’s lists.
- The most-popular items continue to be notebooks, pocket folders, crayons, scissors, glue sticks, markers, filler paper, pencils, colored pencils, dry erase markers, highlighters, erasers, pens and sticky notes. But TeacherLists is seeing more requests for these items because students can’t share supplies. “Whereas before they may have had a bucket of dry erase markers a group of students would share, now each child must have their own supplies,” Dyanne says.
- There’s an increase in hygiene and cleaning items to help ensure a healthy classroom. Facial tissues, hand wipes, disinfecting wipes and more PPE products (like face masks) are also popular on the in-school lists.
It’s important to note that the in-school lists are getting more specific. For example, plastic folders are suggested over paper because they are easier to wipe down, and pre-sharpened pencils are recommended, so that the kids don’t need to use the pencil sharpeners.
For the virtual-learning lists, Dyanne says they’re seeing requests for small whiteboards, headphones, earbuds and pencil sharpeners. Check out TeacherLists for more information.
Retailers Offering Back-to-School Deals
To help you easily prepare, I’ve rounded up a list of the best deals on back-to-school shopping from retailers we love.
Academy Sports + Outdoors: Deals on school supplies, backpacks, face masks, tech and more.
Featured deal: They’re offering 25% off backpacks, up to 30% off footwear and up to 25% off styles from Nike, Under Armour and Adidas to get kids ready to hit the hallways in style. Plus, Academy Sports + Outdoors is giving back to teachers and school employees by offering 10% off their entire purchase from August 1 to September 6 both in-store and online.
Amazon: Deals on school supplies, backpacks, face masks, tech and more.
Featured deal: Amazon Prime Student gives college students free two-day shipping on millions of items, referral bonuses, unlimited photo storage, discounts on newly released video games and other special offers. Plus, save $10 when you buy $100 of select items.
American Eagle: Stock up on women’s and men’s tops, bottoms, shoes and accessories.
Featured deal: Get 30% off four+ women’s items, 25% off three men’s items and 20% off two tailgate items with code SALEBRATE
Apple: Deals on accessories and save 20% on AppleCare+.
Bed Bath & Beyond: Deals on college decor, pillows, bedding, storage, kitchen appliances and college essentials.
Featured deal: Get 20% off one item in-store or 20% off everything with their College Savings Pass through September 30, plus throw pillows from $20 and bedding from $60
Best Buy: Deals on laptops, tablets, headphones and more electronics for students. Their 3-day Black Friday in July Sale that kicks off on July 23.
Featured deal: Save $100 off MacBook laptops, $200 off select iPad Pro models and $250 off MacBook Pros for students
BJ’s: Deals on electronics, furniture, clothing, food, campus basics, laundry supplies and more.
Featured deal: Buy 2 Box-Top food products and earn $5
Blush Mark: This retailer offers affordable fashion for women, such as tops, dresses, two-piece sets, shoes, rompers and more.
Featured Deal: From August 2 to August 8, shop Blush Mark’s Back-to-School sale with styles up 80% off and free standard shipping with code Back2S
Carter’s: Deals on children’s clothes, shoes, school supplies, fun backpacks and more.
Featured deal: Free shipping on orders of $35+ and $6+ doorbusters of tops, shorts and skirts
codeSpark: codeSpark is a great way to keep kids learning and playing at the same time whether they’re going back to school in person or continuing on a remote schooling path. Kids can play alongside schoolmates and friends, share creations and interact through a words-free interface that’s perfect for all ages.
Featured deal: They are offering 50% off their annual membership with code BACKTOSCHOOL59 and $80 off their lifetime access plan with code BACKTOSCHOOL99
The Container Store: Shop everything you need to get the home, or dorm room, organized, like shoe storage, carts, baskets and more storage.
Featured deal: College students and parents to sign up for a 15% off exclusive offer, good until August 15
Cricut: The sale offers deals on the Cricut Joy and Cricut Maker – both of which are must-haves for students, teachers, and parents alike.
Featured deal: From August 8 through Saturday, August 14, you can get the Cricut Joy on sale for $139 (originally $179) and the Cricut Maker is on sale for $279 (originally $399). The deal is available at retailers nationwide, including Cricut.com, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Michael’s and JOANN’s.
Essentia: They are the world’s only natural memory foam mattress that are all certified in their organic factory. They’ve been rated the top foam mattress by consumer reports 6 years in a row!
Featured deal: During Essentia’s Back-to-School Sale you can get $200 off for every $1,000 spent. You can also get their Back-to-school bundle which includes 25% off toppers and one free latex cloud pillow.
GNC: Get ready for school with their latest health products including protein powders, smart bars, workout powder and superfruit gummies.
Featured deal: From August 12 through August 14, GNC will offer 25% off a single item with no exclusions valid in-store and at GNC.com
Heathmade: Founded by Heath, a four year old, Heathmade created alcohol-free hand sanitizers, lotions bars, lip balms and more made of healthy ingredients like aloe vera gel, witch hazel, essentials oils and vitamin E oil.
Featured deal: Get free shipping on all orders of $35+
HP: They’re offering deep discounts on laptops, monitors, printers and more tech.
Joolz: Joolz is the stroller brand that is a parent-approved award-winning brand that is recognized across the globe for superior safety, functionality, and style.
Featured deal: Get 20% off all Joolz starting Wednesday, Sept 1 through Wednesday, Sept 15
JCPenny: Deals on face masks for kids, clothing, backpacks, school uniforms, dorm essentials, school supplies, shoes and more.
Featured deal: Get up to 40% off Kids’ Thereabouts clothing and shoes and an extra 25% off Back-to-School clothes
Kmart: Deals on kids’ shoes, school uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, electronics, headphones and more.
Featured deal: Save on tablets and iPads for at-home learning
Kohl’s: Deals on kids’ clothing, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes, school uniforms and more.
Featured deal: Kids uniforms and backpack starting at 25% off, denim starting at $17.99, tees starting at $7.99 and activewear sets from $29.99.
Lenovo: Deals on affordable high-quality audio, noise cancelling and wireless products.
Featured deal: Take up to 76% off PCs and tech doorbusters on August 9. Plus, teachers and students get an extra 10% off!
Macy’s: Deals on kids’ clothing, backpacks, shoes, bedding, school uniforms, beauty, college essentials and more.
Featured Deal: Use coupon code BTS on select items to enjoy up to an extra 10%, 15%, 20%, or 50% off already discounted prices.
Madewell: Take 15% off sitewide for college students and teachers.
Featured Deal: Get 30% off select sale items with code SALEONSALE
Minted: They offer back-to-school essentials for their return to school, from notebooks and calendars to pencils and decor.
Featured Deal: From August 10 through August 16, get 15% off on Back to School Essentials with code BTS2021. Plus, get 15% off from August 17 through August 23 with code BACKTOSCHOOL
Nike: Shop sneakers, athleisure, clothing and more.
Featured Deal: Save up to 50% off shoes and apparel for men, women and kids
Office Depot & OfficeMax: Deals on school supplies, teacher resources, laptops, furniture and more.
Featured deal: Save up to 55% off on their best back-to-school essentials
Onzie: Known for their accessible, high-quality garments, Onzie has great clothing options for kids.
Featured deal: From Friday August 6 through Monday, August 16 and get 40% off all kids items, no code needed.
Osmo: This is an award-winning STEAM brand with more than 2.5 million learners worldwide.
Featured deal: From August 8 through August 14, get 25% kids kits, games and other bundles at PlayOsmo.com, 25% off iPad starter kits at Target and 25% off select kits, games and bundles at Amazon.
Old Navy: Deals on kids’ jeans, clothing, shirts, socks and more.
Featured deal: Get 50% off storewide, sale styles from just $8 and 50% off kids sale
Overstock: So many deals on rugs, home decor, furniture, art and more.
Featured Deal: Overstock’s End of Summer Super Sale is kicking off on Tuesday, August 3 and running through August 23. There will be major offerings of up to 70% off across all categories and free shipping on everything. There will also be a major sub-sale on rugs, offering heavy discounts and an extra 25% off select items.
RENPHO’s: Using AI technology, RENPHO products track performance and distill not only feedback, but also generate workout routines tailored to the user – making for a truly personalized workout comparable to one with a personal trainer. RENPHO’s AI-Powered Bike is your one-size-fits-all solution, combining enhanced precision with training courses and technological features native to their complementary RENPHO app, and allowing you to connect your favorite devices and programs as well.
SideTrak: These nifty device instantly doubles your laptop’s screen with their game-changing technology–perfect for college students!
Featured deal: Get a 10% discount on one bundle (a Swivel with protective case) with code ST10. Get the deal on Amazon with code 10SIDETRAK from August 2 to August 15
SOUL: The global leader in affordable high-quality audio, noise cancelling and wireless products.
Featured deal: They are currently offering 15% off all of its products sitewide available now through Labor Day Weekend.
Spongellé: Using patented technology and innovative delivery systems, they dispense a blend of high-quality moisturizers, botanicals, sea minerals, antioxidant and anti-aging ingredients to create multi-use body wash infused buffers.
Featured deal: Get 25% off New Arrivals Collection with code NEWNEW from August 9 until August 13. During their Back-to-School sale, get 30% off sitewide with code BACKTOSCHOOL from August 18 to August 23. Plus, get 25% off their Best Sellers Collection with code BESTSELLER from August 27 to August 31.
Staples: Deals on school supplies starting at 97 cents.
Target: Deals on school supplies, furniture, electronics, clothing, backpacks and more.
The A Method: The A Method was developed by world-renowned dermatologist Tina Alster, M.D. to provide ordinary people the same medical-grade formulations that Hollywood Stars and Top Influencers enjoy every day.
Featured deal: Get 30% off The A Method’s Zit Stopper with code SUBSCRIBER until September 1 and 30% off The A Method’s MASKNE Kit with code CLEARSKIN from August 15 to August 22. Plus, when you spend $150 you’ll get a free Silky Vitamin C Cleanser until September 1.
Walmart: Deals on school supplies for all ages, electronics, face masks for kids, teacher supplies, clothing shoes and more.
Wayfair: Get all your home decor, furniture and everything needed for a comfortable dorm room.
Featured deal: Deals on college essentials as low as $25, with storage containers, bathmats, bedding and decor
Bonus: Back-to-School Food Deals!
Aside from our favorite retailers, many restaurants are offering special food deals and freebies to make sure everyone is well fed heading back into the classroom. Bon appétit!
Macaroni Grill: From Monday, August 2 through Tuesday, August 31, Macaroni Grill fans can nominate a deserving teacher in their life to win a year’s worth of its award-winning Italian cuisine online at MacaroniGrill.com. In addition, throughout the month of August, customers can help support the teachers in their community by purchasing a $10 Teacher’s Meal to any takeout or delivery order when placing it through Macaroni Grill’s website. All donated meals will then be incorporated into a special catered staff meal at a local elementary school during the week of September 7.
Finally, all teachers are invited to enjoy a complimentary order of Macaroni Grill’s crowd pleasing Mom’s Ricotta Meatballs + Spaghetti when they dine at any company-owned restaurant location in the contiguous United States between Monday, August 16 and Friday, August 20 (valid faculty ID required).
McAlister’s Deli: Make the first week back to school a little tastier this year with the perfect after school snack at McAlister’s: a free Auntie Anne’s Kids Mini Pretzel Dogs meal with the purchase of an adult meal. From August 6 to August 8, customers can receive a Free Kids Pretzel Dog meal (3ct), at participating McAlister’s Deli locations, with the purchase of an adult entree in store or online/in app using promo code PRETZELDOG21. The limited-time kids mini pretzel dogs feature Auntie Anne’s sweet pretzel dough, wrapped around a delicious bite-sized hot dog, and baked to a golden perfection. Promotion available at participating McAlister’s Deli locations only.
McDonalds: The Saweetie Meal is officially here! Starting today, not only will McDonalds fans be able to enjoy Saweetie’s unique signature order – a Big Mac, 4-piece Chicken McNuggets, World Famous Fries, a Sprite, Tangy BBQ Sauce and “Saweetie ‘N Sour” sauce – at restaurants nationwide, they can also enter a “Saweetstakes” to get in on the collab and win Saweetie-style.
Here are all the details:
- We’re giving fans the chance to win two limited-edition handbags – one for them, and one for their best friend – from one of Saweetie’s favorite bag designers, Brandon Blackwood, AND a five-day trip to Las Vegas for two to see her perform. Starting today, just download the McDonald’s app and order The Saweetie Meal to enter.
- Today also marks the debut of a brand new McDonald’s TV commercial for the meal, now viewable on YouTube here and airing in primetime television tonight. The spot highlights the many ways Saweetie mixes and matches the meal, with her latest single “Fast Motion” playing in the background.
Metro Diner: Metro Diner is extending their National Fried Chicken & Waffle Day celebrations all month long by offering guests the chance to experience the newest twist on this well-known dish – the Sticky Chicken & Waffles – at a special price of $12.79 every Wednesday throughout the month (originally $15.99).
Moe’s Southwest Grill: Moe’s has you covered this back to school season with free meals for children every Sunday. All Moe’s locations nationwide will offer free meals for children under the age of 12 with the purchase of an adult entrée of $6 or more. At Moe’s Southwest Grill, everyone can always customize their meal to their exact preference, so it’s the perfect place to take the whole family to celebrate back to school and to ensure everyone will have something they love.
MUSH: The cleanest, plant-based ready-to-eat oats brand on the market made with seven wholesome ingredients is the newest addition to SHADOW‘s line of goods. Perfect for breakfast, a snack or post-workout fuel, MUSH was inspired by a healthy, delicious “hack” Co-Founder/CEO Ashley Thompson crafted as a kid: cereal and oatmeal soaked in milk. Nutritious, always cold and rich in flavor, MUSH exists to help people feel, think and do better. Right now, use the code SHADOW at checkout for a special 25% discount on your first purchase.
Noodles & Company: This back-to-school season, Noodles & Company is offering free delivery on Mondays starting August 2 through September 6 to help families transition back to their busy schedules filled with carpool, commuting and practice. Plus, all month long Noodles will be announcing exclusive weekly deals and freebies for all Noodles Rewards members. You can get access to these treats by downloading the Noodles Rewards app.
Quiznos: Quiznos is celebrating its 40th birthday, and Back-to-School, throughout August with a month of great promotions for customers in both the US and Canada.
Here’s the scoop: From August 2 – 6, Toasty Points members in the US and Canada can get a sub for 40% off with the purchase of a full priced sub. From August 14 – 15, US Toasty Points members can get a side of tots for 40¢ with the purchase of an 8” sub, and Canada Toasty Points members can get a bag of chips for 40¢ with the purchase of a 9” sub (excluding the Black Angus Steak sub). On August 18, US Toasty Points members can get any 8” sub for $4.00, and Canada Toasty Points members can get a 6” sub for $4.00 (excluding the Black Angus Steak sub). From August 23 – 27, all customers in the US and Canada can buy a cup of Birthday Cake Donut Holes and get one free.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. This post is in collaboration with Shannon Dwyer, one of our contributors. She is a shopping and trends expert at The Real Deal. This post may contain affiliate links. Photo credit: Shannon Dwyer & RF123