What to Expect From Back-to-School Sales in 2018

You can get essential school supplies for $1 or less if you shop in-store.
back to school

Summer is winding down, and that means back-to-school season is kicking off. We've even seen early sales, with adidas taking 30% off sale items on July 2. There's no need to fret — you've got plenty of time to find great deals before the school year begins. Read on to see what you can expect from the back-to-school sales in 2018.

Does your state have a tax free weekend? Check our master list to find out when you can maximize your savings!

School Supplies Fall Below $1

Often, the best way to maximize savings on pens, pencils, markers, and notebooks is to opt for in-store pickup. Last year, Walmart offered a 12-pack of colored pencils for only 50 cents, and 20 washable markers for $1 — both via in-store pickup. The retailer also boasted deals on notebooks, dropping them to as little as 25 cents apiece.

The best way to maximize savings on pens, pencils, markers, and notebooks is to opt for in-store pickup.

Shoppers could also take advantage of excellent deals on Amazon. Prime members could pick up a 50-pack of of retractable gel pens for only $8. Unless your kids habitually lose them, such a pack should last a full school year without issue. Amazon also discounted Crayola packs by up to 40%, which earned an Editors' Choice nod from us.

Not interested in Amazon or Walmart? Office Depot and Office Max had great deals as well. Shoppers could snag two 4-packs of pens for only $2. Other school supplies were deeply discounted as well, with select items starting at just 1 cent. The store also took an extra 30% off school supply purchases over $30 via a coupon.

Save Up to 80% on Backpacks

We expect some solid backpack sales that are sure to please even the pickiest kiddos (and parents).

In 2017, you could save 60% off select backpacks and lunchboxes at The Children's Place. Bags started at $10, and lunchboxes came down to $5. Finish Line cut 25% off Nike backpacks and duffels. And for the pop-culture fans, ThinkGeek offered up to a whopping 80% off select backpacks.

Shopping for backpacks at Staples yielded extra savings last year. Consumers could save an additional 25% off select school supplies with the purchase of a qualifying backpack.

Huge Discounts on Clearance Kids' Clothes

Cheap school supplies might be easy to find, but clothing can put a strain on your back-to-school budget.

SEE ALSO: When Is Your State's Tax Free Weekend in 2018?

Last year, Gymboree and The Children's Place each took up to 70% off, making both stores a good place to start. Gymboree even went a step further, taking an extra 20% off clearance items. The Children's Place restricted its 60% to 70% off discount to clearance items only. Target earned our Editors' Choice nod when it dropped kids' jeans to a starting price of just $6.

Shopping for uniforms? Old Navy was the winner in that area with a BOGO free sale. You could buy one uniform apparel item and receive a second one for free.

back to school

Snag BOGO Shoes

If your kids are hard on their footwear, back-to-school sales can offer a prime time to stock up.

In 2017, Sperry took up to 50% off shoes for the preppy crowd. And Shoebacca cut a huge 75% off select shoes during its back-to-school sale. Foot Locker took a modest 33% off, but also knocked 10% off orders over $50. Joe's New Balance Outlet offered anywhere from 30% to 50% off shoes for the whole family, depending on when you shopped.

If you're looking for only kids' shoes, we expect to see deals from Clarks, Carter's, and OshKosh B'Gosh again this year. Last August, Clarks took 25% off kids' styles, while Carter's and OshKosh B'Gosh offered BOGO free children's shoes. Reebok boasted a very similar offer, giving shoppers the chance to buy one pair and get a second for 1 cent.

Take Hundreds Off Back-to-School Laptops

Younger students might not need a laptop, but older scholars should keep an eye out for plentiful deals during back-to-school season.

Last year, Lenovo cut up to 50% off select computers and accessories, while HP knocked up to $550 off.

Last year, Lenovo and HP both had excellent sales on computers and related accessories. Lenovo cut up to 50% off, while HP knocked up to $550 off select models. Amazon also offered up PC savings, discounting select laptops, desktops, and PC gaming accessories during its back-to-school sale.

It's a Great Time to Buy a Tablet

Of the Editors' Choice tablet deals we saw during the back-to-school season last year, about 42% were for refurbished models. Which is to say, if you aren't worried about having a new device, then you could save a bundle. We did see a couple of notable deals taking the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 down to $590 (or less), but that might be more power than your student needs.

We typically recommend waiting until Black Friday to shop for iPads, but last summer's back-to-school deals were notable enough to warrant taking a look in 2018. About 31% of the iPad deals we saw last August were Editors' Choice picks. Even better, a fair amount of those were for the newest iPad and iPad Pro. If you can't wait until the holidays for a new tablet, deals around this time of year can yield surprising savings.

SEE ALSO: What to Expect From Labor Day Sales in 2018

Find Free School Supplies

If your back-to-school budget is nonexistent, don't fret! We'll see at least a few freebies. Last year, Meijer offered up free 70-page notebooks to mPerks members. We also saw a free divider sample offer from Avery. Keep an eye out for other freebies. In the past, we've seen retailers providing free haircuts and even giving away backpacks.

Readers, have you started back-to-school shopping yet? What kinds of deals have you found? Let us know in the comments below!

Senior Staff Writer

Julie joined DealNews in 2015. Her work has been featured on MSN, Business Insider, Lifehacker, The Motley Fool, GoBankingRates, and Moneyish. In her spare time, she enjoys baking sweets, reading thrillers, and listening to an ever-growing list of podcasts.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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