The 2021 Back-to-School Discounts & Freebies You NEED to Know

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A whole lot has changed about education in the past year, but one thing remains the same: Parents spend a lot of money on our children at this time of year, so we need all the help from back-to-school discounts and freebies we can get. Some of us might be buying sets of school supplies like these, and some of us have the pleasure of sending our college-age kids’ to their dorms with some cool school supplies, gadgets, and gear. Regardless of which level of learning your kid is embarking on this fall, some of these discounts will make life just a tiny bit easier.

There are a host of back-to-school discounts and deals available for parents and students alike. If you’re on the hunt for savings, here are all the back-to-school freebies families must know about.

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QVC is offering Back-to-School tech deals on their website that you don’t want to miss! From tablets that allow your kids to complete their work on the go to fully-loaded desktops that will help them in their dedicated workstations, they’ve got everything your kid will need. The best part? They’re on sale (and some items are even on clearance) now. The retailer also has deals on phones, carrying cases, these best-selling portable chargers, desks, chairs, printers, and so much more.

Rush Charge S/2 3-in-1 4000mAh Portable Chargers for Android & Apple


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CVS is offering a variety of products and deals for parents looking for a place to shop for back-to-school supplies. From beauty and personal care to vitamins and school supplies (you can never buy too many packs of crayons!), CVS has it all for a bargain. The retailer is also offering a special promotion for shoppers: Head to the CVS Back To School promotion page and when you spend $40, you can also get $10 in ExtraBucks, plus free shipping!

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Some of us are old enough to remember the days when Amazon was a cool new place on the World Wide Web where you could buy your textbooks for less money than the campus bookstore. It actually still is that place — only now Amazon offers some free online textbooks as well as others you can rent, for your Kindle or computer. What’s more, with a valid .edu email address, your kids can get a Student Prime Membership for free for the first six months, followed by a 50 percent off discount for an annual membership. Other perks they’ll receive include free deliveries, free streaming of TV shows, movies, and music, free books, and early access to Amazon’s Lightning Deals.

Microsoft Office

One of the best free tools to help your kids with their studies is Microsoft Office. Students can get a Microsoft 365 membership, which includes Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and more for free, with a valid student email address. Students and parents can also get 10 percent off of Microsoft devices, such as Surface Pros.


This year, Apple is offering college students discounts of up to $200 off Macs, plus a free pair of Airpods with the purchase of an iPad Air, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro, and 20 percent off AppleCare+.


Arts students, rejoice: Adobe offers full-time students and teachers deep discounts on a variety of their products, including over 60 percent off a Creative Cloud membership, which includes Photoshop, Illustrator, and more.

Other tech discounts

Looking for more student deals on technology supplies? Lenovo is having a huge sale on laptops and PCs right now, and college students and teachers can get an extra 10 percent off. Samsung gives students, parents, and educators an extra 15 percent off tablets, laptops, smartphones, and more, if they can verify their I.D. at checkout. Dell offers a number of online deals off of select electronics through August 12.


The retail chain is always running promotions, so just visit its Ready for School landing page to see the latest school supply discounts.

Newspaper subscriptions

It’s never been easier for your child to stay in the know: Major newspaper chains offer discounts on their subscription services for students with a valid school email address. Deals include a student discounted rate for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Printable workbooks

Parents of younger children can get downloadable, printable workbooks and coloring sheets online from Scholastic. You can find everything from reading and writing resources to parent resources. The publishing company also offers supplemental math lessons for students in grades Pre-K to middle school. Additional resources include games, lesson plans, and activities.

Clothing, Shoes, & Backpacks

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the current back-to-school sales happening at our favorite stores. There’s the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale which ends August 8, where you can get a designer back-to-school outfit for a steep discount. Old Navy will not be outdone as back-to-school discount headquarters, with kids clothing going for less than $10 an item right now. The Zappos VIP sale includes backpacks and a number of great kids shoe styles.

Kids of all ages can get discounts on clothing at retailers like J.Crew, Levi’s, and TopShop. Discounts range from 10-20 percent. Have your child bring their student ID to get the discount.

Meditation App

School is stressful no matter where you’re living. The meditation app Headspace recognizes this and offers students annual subscriptions for just $9.99, a steep discount from the usual $69.99.

Everything Else

College students can sign up for free services like UniDays, which offers student discounts on just about anything and everything that they need to function, from food delivery to clothing to magazine and digital subscriptions.


If you’re willing to do the extra work of clipping coupons, you can find a number of great back-to-school coupons at major retailers like Staples, Office Depot, Walmart, and Walgreens. Weekend newspapers also typically have extra coupons for school supplies. Lastly, you can find plenty of coupons online for specific products. While it takes a little bit more work, the discounts may be worth it for individual items.

Shop tax-free

Some states denote specific weekends in August and September for tax-free back-to-school shopping. Parents can get clothing, computers, books, and school supplies tax-free in their state. Though tax only makes up a small percentage of your overall purchase, those savings can add up over time.

What to do if you’re in a bind

If your back-to-school shopping list becomes more costly than what you had budgeted, it’s best to look for freebies instead of going into debt.

If you’re in a pinch and need more supplies, contact your child’s school. Chances are they purchased extra school supplies for children and parents. Sometimes teachers will set aside part of their classroom budget to buying extra school supplies for their students. Or you may have better luck contacting your school’s district — they often have a program set up that gives donated school supplies away. Backpack drives through charitable organizations like the Kids in Need Foundation usually distribute their supplies through teachers and schools.

For those who want to help others this year, programs like Operation Backpack, which gets school supplies to kids in homeless and domestic violence shelters in New York, requests monetary donations rather than actual supplies.

While this annual shopping spree can be stressful on you and your wallet, the best way to handle your ever-growing to-do list is to make a plan. Setting a budget, doing your research, and hunting for the best deals will keep your shopping as smooth as possible.

Make back-to-school shopping more fun with these supplies. 

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