No Kids? Why You Should Be Back-to-School Shopping Anyway

By Raechel Conover,

Frugal shoppers take note: Back-to-school ads and deals may be aimed at parents and students, but anyone can take advantage of all the discounts. Here's how to make back-to-school sales work for you even if you don't have school-age children at home.

Expect to find deals on laptops, smartphones, and ereaders.Expect to find deals on laptops, smartphones, and ereaders.

What to Buy at Back-to-School Sales:

Before you decide what to buy, take note of the current hot back-to-school items to get a sense of what's available on sale. Often so-called "back-to-school sales" also include items that have nothing to do with school. Try not to let a sale tempt you into an impulse buy, however. It's always best to take some time to comparison shop -- especially for big-ticket items.

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Electronics. "Tech items are very hot this year," according to Trae Bodge, senior editor of The RetailMeNot Insider. "Now, more than ever, kids need laptops for school and want the latest smartphone." That means there will be many back-to-school sales on such devices. If you're ready for a smartphone upgrade or a new laptop, this is an ideal time to start looking.

Clothing and Shoes. Clothes are always a hot commodity for back-to-school, and they're typically on sale regardless of age or size. Even parents of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers can cash in on fall wardrobes for their children. Now is a great time to buy denim for all ages, according to The Bargainist, with places such as Old Navy and Gap rolling out back-to-school sales. The same is true for casual shoe retailers such as Famous Footwear. Target recently ran a "buy one, get one 50 percent off" sale on both denim and shoes for men and women as well as children.

Related: Best kids' clothing stores

Office Supplies. Naturally, paper, folders, notebooks, dividers, writing utensils, ink, and the like will be promoted in back-to-school sales. If you have a home office or a small business, now is the time to stock up. Less obvious items such as day planners and desk clocks are often included as well. Look around even if you're not prepping a child for school.

Now's the time to stock up on office supplies.Now's the time to stock up on office supplies.

When to Shop Back-to-School Sales:

For parents seeking specific items, the prime time to shop is July and August. If you don't have kids and don't need something in time for the start of school, however, you can be flexible and hold out for better deals on what's left in stock after class is back in session. "Discounts may become deeper in September, but the selection will be limited," says Bodge. That's a problem for parents working their way down checklists from teachers, but others can afford to wait and see what's available at a discount.

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As an added bonus, look for many retailers to throw in freebies with back-to-school purchases. Old Navy recently gave out free backpacks with $50 purchases. Read the fine print to avoid disappointment, however, as some freebies (such as a $100 gift card from Apple) are reserved for students only.

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