The 15 best back-to-school deals to snag before fall

Emilee Geist

Shop the best back-to-school deals happening at L.L.Bean, Best Buy, Amazon and more.
Shop the best back-to-school deals happening at L.L.Bean, Best Buy, Amazon and more.

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It’s that time of year again: back-to-school season. While it’s unclear what impact COVID-19 will have on the upcoming year, for many families—especially those on a tight budget—it’s important to start thinking about how to get classroom essentials before the new semester officially arrives. 

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Here’s the good news: You can save a ton of money right now on back-to-school supplies, provided you know where to look. From discounts on the best backpacks to free Apple AirPods (seriously, it’s true!), the best deals for students will help to ensure they have everything they need to get the school year off to a stellar start and help your family save a little extra money, too. Here are the discounts you don’t want to miss.

1. Get a free set of AirPods with select purchases at Apple

You can get a free pair of AirPods right now if you shop at Apple.
You can get a free pair of AirPods right now if you shop at Apple.

Apple is running all kinds of back-to-school deals right now for college students and parents alike, as well as faculty and homeschool teachers. For a limited time, you can get a free pair of AirPods ($159 value) when you buy eligible iPad and MacBook products, including the newest model MacBook Air (prices start at $899) and iMac Pro from $1,049. In addition, you can also save 20% on AppleCare+ if you add it to your Mac or iPad purchase, so this really is a wonderful time to shop and save the brand.

Shop the Apple Back-to-School Promotion

2. Get back-to-school supplies from $10 at Disney

Get Disney products for kids with prices starting as low as $10.
Get Disney products for kids with prices starting as low as $10.

Disney holds a special place in most of our hearts, and for kids especially. Rocking school gear that shows off their favorite princess or Marvel hero can be a wonderful way to get them excited to hit the books each and every day, and right now, the House of Mouse is hosting a major sale on school supplies for the kiddos, with prices starting as low as $7. You can score savings on all kinds of goodies: This Toy Story 4 backpack (once $29.99 and on sale for $20); Star Wars: The Mandalorian lunch box (on sale for $9 from $16.99 for $7.99 in savings); and other items. For the Frozen lover, the Frozen School Collection has tons of too-cute scholastic accessories, including backpacks, pencil cases and more. You can also get free shipping on your order when you spend $75 or more and use the code SHIPMAGIC at checkout for a limited time.

Shop the Disney Back-to-School Sale

3. Shop for back-to-school deals at Nordstrom

Shop and save at Nordstrom on select products for kids, like these Adidas sneakers.
Shop and save at Nordstrom on select products for kids, like these Adidas sneakers.

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is almost here, but you don’t have to wait until Tuesday, August 4 when the sale opens for Icons cardholders (it opens to the general public on Wednesday, August 19) to start saving on great products. You can shop the Nordstrom Made Sale right now to save on top-rated brands, including Caslon, Halogen, and more. You can also shop the Nordstrom school-year deals page to save on everything from shirts to backpacks and pint-sized kicks. These Vans ‘Old Skool’ Skate Sneakers, for instance, have been reduced to $32.48 for a price drop of $32.47, as they’re typically about $65. (Pssst: You can get these same Vans kicks in select sizing in Caribbean Blue for even less if you shop at Nordstrom Rack, where a pair is going for just $19.97.)

Shop for Nordstrom School-Year Deals 

4. Save up to 28% on these stylish backpacks from L.L.Bean

These are two of the best L.L.Bean backpacks available now—and they're on sale.
These are two of the best L.L.Bean backpacks available now—and they’re on sale.

From textbooks to binders, school supplies can be tough to lug around without a resilient backpack. Regardless of whether your kids are headed straight back to the classroom this fall or attending from the couch, the best backpacks will offer plenty of storage while also looking cute. At L.L.Bean, you can save on two of the store’s most versatile selections, the Quad pack and Deluxe book pack. The Quad Pack, which was our pick for the overall best backpack, is on sale for $64.99, so you’ll be saving nearly $25, as it usually goes for $89.95. In our testing of this bag, we had zero complaints and loved it for its roominess and waterproof material. While we haven’t tested the Deluxe, it has more than 200 positive reviews and is on sale in dark plum for $39.99, saving you $10. 

5. Take 20% off for teachers and students at Anthropologie

Teachers and college students can save big during this special Anthropologie promotion.
Teachers and college students can save big during this special Anthropologie promotion.

Anthropologie is one of our favorite places to shop for all kinds of products, from chic apparel to cute mugs and more. Right now, the retailer is offering a special discount for teachers and college students. Through Wednesday, September 30, they can get 20% off any full-price items. For each purchase, shoppers will need to validate their teacher or student IDs online, which you can do through an easy sign-up service. From there, you’ll receive a unique, one-time code, which you can then use to get some great back-to-school stuff, like the brand’s adorable notebooks, roomy-yet-elegant utility bags, food storage essentials or just regular favorites. 

Shop full-priced pieces at Anthropologie 

6. Save 25% during the Under Armour sale

Shop and save on Under Armour for children during this big sale.
Shop and save on Under Armour for children during this big sale.

Shopping for back-to-school deals for sporty kids? Under Armour makes some of the most highly sought-after athletic wear available, and right now, you can stock up on cute stuff for the little ones and save 25% in the process. Through Sunday, August 9, you can get the 4.4.-star rated boys’ UA MK-1 shorts for $18.99, saving you $6 as they typically go for $25. (Note that you can also get select sizes and colors at Olympia Sports for $14.) For girls, you can snag the UA HeatGear Armour sports bra for $16.99 instead of its usual $22, so you’ll be saving $5.01. You can also shop for deals on backpacks and shoes for the whole family during this major event, plus so much more. 

Shop the Under Armour Sale 

7. Save on the best water bottle we’ve ever tried

We love this Brita water bottle, and right now you can get it for $5 off.
We love this Brita water bottle, and right now you can get it for $5 off.

It’s important to stay hydrated every day, and this is especially true for kids. Keeping a water bottle around—like our all-time favorite, the Brita BB11 stainless-steel filtering water bottle—means having extra incentive to sip throughout the day. Right now, you can get the Brita in on Amazon for $24.99, or $1.31 off its usual $26.99 price. In testing, this water bottle seemed flawless, as it kept water incredibly cold. We also liked that it comes with a filter to keeps odors out and that you can open it with one-hand, which is ideal for students in particular who, more often than not, have their hands full.

Get the 20-Ounce Brita BB11 Premium Filtering Water Bottle With Filter at Amazon for $24.99 (Save $1.31)

8. Less than $25: This durable dry-erase board

Staying on top of assignments never looked so easy.
Staying on top of assignments never looked so easy.

For students who need a little extra help staying on top of their assignments, this dry-erase board from Staples will be very useful—and it’s on sale. Instead of paying $32.20, you’ll pay only $22.93 right now. It comes with a marker tray and a dry-erase marker, and shoppers say it’s not difficult to mount in place. As one reviewer noted: “This was the least expensive dry-erase board I could find online, so my expectations were low, but I am actually SO pleased! The board quality itself is great.” 

Get the Staples Standard Dry-Erase Whiteboard at Staples for $22.93 (Save $9.27)

9. Get huge savings on pens and pencils

Stock up on pens and pencils now, but save money too.
Stock up on pens and pencils now, but save money too.

Even though students increasingly rely on laptops and tablets to get work their done, there’s no underestimating the value of writing things down by hand. This back-to-school season, you can stock up on pens and pencils and save money in the process. There are tons of deals on writing tools, like this 14-pack of Paper Mate InkJoy gel pens (on sale for $12.44 from $19.93 at Walmart), the Paper Mate SharpWriter mechanical pencils (36 count) (on sale for $6.45 from $18.14 on Amazon) and more.

10. Under $30: This handy laptop stand

This adjustable stand has a five-star rating and you can get it for $3 off.
This adjustable stand has a five-star rating and you can get it for $3 off.

Designed to fit most laptops, this adjustable Nulaxy stand makes it easy to work from any area, including a couch or bed. With more than 700 ratings, it has a nearly perfect 4.7-star rating and is on sale right now for just under $30, which is a $3 savings from its regular price. “I was pleasantly surprised to find that the back part of the stand is very tightly and sturdily put together. It takes a little effort to adjust it, but I actually appreciate that feature, because the thing would probably be falling all over the place if it was easy to adjust,” wrote one reviewer.

Get the Nulaxy Adjustable Laptop Stand at Amazon for $29.99 (Save $3)

11. 30% off: This budget-friendly fitness tracker 

This Fitbit is great for students—and it's on sale.
This Fitbit is great for students—and it’s on sale.

When it comes to being a successful student, staying on top of coursework is just one part of the equation. Maintaining health and wellness also be essential, and a fitness tracker can help. Right now, you can get the Fitbit Inspire Fitness Tracker—one of the famed brand’s more simplistic models—on sale for $58.94 on Amazon, instead of its regular $69.95. Initially designed for Fitbit’s partnerships and corporate wellness programs, the Inspire is basic compared to our favorite fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge 4 (available for $149 on Amazon), but for kids or anyone in need of a gentle reminder to move, it’s a solid choice.

Get the Fitbit Inspire on Amazon for $58.94 (Save $11.06)

12. $10 off: This 5-star rated bedside shelf 

This bedside shelf has a flawless five-star rating on Amazon
This bedside shelf has a flawless five-star rating on Amazon

When it comes to space for studying, students need all the extra room they can get, and sometimes a desk just isn’t enough. That’s what’s great about the BedShelfie—the cult-favorite bedside shelf that offers extra room for drinks, phone chargers, books and any other thing that the student in your life may desire. Boasting a 4.8-star rating on Amazon and more than 1,900 reviews, this stellar pick drops from its usual $39.99 to $34.99, so you’re saving $5. “I had been searching for a good bed shelf that would fit the design of my bedroom for a while,” wrote one reviewer. “I give it a solid five stars because the quality of the bed shelf is a top notch. Extremely easy to assemble.”

Get the BedShelfie The Original Bedside Shelf at Amazon for $34.99 (Save $5)

13. Less than $1: This classic washable glue for kids

This washable glue is less than $1 right now.
This washable glue is less than $1 right now.

Most of us remember using Elmer’s washable glue, and this arts-and-crafts essential is as much a staple in today’s classrooms as it was back in our formative years. Regardless of whether you’re sending the kids back into the classroom or not, this washable glue is great to have around for all kinds of fun, child-friendly projects. At Target, you can get it for a ridiculously low price—just $0.50. This is almost a dollar off its usual retail value, and when was the last time you could say you bought something this useful for under a buck? 

Get Elmer’s 4 oz Washable School Glue at Target for $0.50 (Save $0.95) 

14. This 40-piece storage container set that’s less than $10 

Pack snacks and more with these Rubbermaid Takealongs.
Pack snacks and more with these Rubbermaid Takealongs.

From brownies to last night’s leftovers, food is easy to store using this 40-piece Rubbermaid TakeAlongs set. When we tested it, we felt that while it wasn’t ideal for long-term food containment, it was great for picnics and made for the perfect size for nonperishable snacks, such as trail mix or popcorn that you’d pack for your little darling’s lunch. Right now, you can save a little over $2 and nab this massive set for less than at Walmart, which is cheaper than the $11.98 price tag at Target. 

Get the Rubbermaid TakeAlongs 40-Piece Set at Walmart for $9.98 (Save $2.01)

15. 18% off: This reading pillow with more than 1,000 reviews

Save 18% on this popular husband pillow.
Save 18% on this popular husband pillow.

Extra pillow support is huge, especially for students who intend to do a lot of late-night studying. With more than 1,000 glowing reviews on Amazon, the ZIRAKI large plush shredded reading pillow is an excellent option that can give the aspiring scholar in your life a much-needed boost. Ordinarily priced at $39.99, it’s currently priced at $32.99, so you’re saving $7. “Fluffed well and works great for bed reading/watching TV etc. My husband sometimes steals it away from me,” wrote one reviewer.

Get the ZIRAKI Large Plush Shredded Reading Pillow at Amazon for $32.99 (Save $7)

The product experts at Reviewed have all your shopping needs covered. Follow Reviewed on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest deals, reviews, and more.

Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

This article originally appeared on Reviewed.com: Back-to-school deals: Get huge savings on backpacks, tablets and more

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