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What To Buy In August: School Supplies, Laptops, Outdoor Gear, And More

It's the last full month of summer, and though the days are getting shorter, the sales are getting bigger. Consumers can look forward to discounts on Back to School supplies, backpacks, and laptops, in addition to sales on summer furniture and gear as retailers start stocking up for fall.

We've compiled a list of the best deals out there, along with some tips from retail experts.

A business man uses a laptop displayed at main office of Samsung Electronics in Seoul
REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won REUTERS

School Supplies

"Parents will find basic school supplies including pens, pencils, notebooks, and more — for just a few cents in some cases," said Kendal Perez, savings expert for CouponSherpa.com. "Last year, I found pocket folders, spiral notebooks and hole-punched folders from Walmart for $0.17 each; composition notebooks, colored pencils and glue sticks for $0.50 each; and loose-leaf paper, paper towels, dividers, highlighters, pencil pouches and 1" binders for less than $1 each and expect similar deals from Staples and Office Depot/Office Max this August."

Through RetailMeNot, shoppers can save up to 15 percent off select school supplies at Target through August 30. A Kmart spokesperson said that from August 7-13, you can find more than a dozen school supplies — including packs of Elmer's glue sticks and Crayola crayons and colored pencils — for under a dollar. A Staples spokesperson said that it is currently hosting "season-long lowest prices on back-to-school essentials such as composition books, two-pocket folders, pens, scissors, crayons and technology like calculators, USB drives, ear buds, batteries and more." The spokesperson also confirmed that through August 13, Staples shoppers can take 25 percent off school supplies with the purchase of a backpack.

Backpacks and Laptop Bags

"If you're in the market for a new backpack for [school or] work, or a discounted laptop bag, there's no better time to find a deal than in August," said Brent Shelton, online shopping expert at Fatwallet. Sara Skirboll, shopping & trends expert at RetailMeNot added that shoppers can expect to find "deals up to 25 percent off on backpacks at various retailers," and recommends looking for promo codes, rebates, and discounted gift cards to pile on the savings.

At Adorama check out the Case Logic CPL-108 DSLR Camera and iPad/Netbook Backpack, slashed from $64.99 to $24.95, plus free shipping. Over at Kmart, find deals on trendy backpacks like the Pokemon All Over Print backpack, marked down from $19.99 to $15.99. A Kmart spokesperson added that from August 7-13, backpacks and back-to-school lunch kits will be marked down by 25 percent. Amazon is currently selling the Travel School Ultra Lightweight Backpack Laptop Waterproof Men Women Girls Boys for just $16.99, down from $49.98. Courtney Jespersen, retail expert at NerdWallet, noted that L.L. Bean is offering 25 percent off a deluxe bookpack or 10 percent off an original bookpack, along with free shipping through August 29, while eBags is touting up to 25 percent off backpacks throughout the month.

Laptops

"A new [Back to School] survey from FatWallet reports that parents rank August as the best time to find deals for their kids' school needs,"said Shelton. "Especially on student laptops, where parents rank August deals better than Black Friday."

Prices on laptops can fluctuate drastically from one day to the next, so Shelton recommends monitoring prices by setting up alerts at various deal sites, so that you'll be notified when a hot new deal pops up.

Best Buy is hosting an array of deals aimed at college students, including $150 off select Surface devices and $100 off select MacBooks, and the Lenovo - Ideapad 100s 11.6" Laptop - Intel Atom - 2GB Memory - 32GB eMMC Flash Storage - Red for $149.99, down from $199.99, with free shipping on either. eBay is selling the ASUS X540 15.6" Ultra Slim Full HD Notebook w/ Intel i5-5200U for $399.99, down from $599.99.

Obama and first lady join Girl Scouts for singalong during camp-out on South Lawn of White House in Washington
President Barack Obama (back C) and first lady Michelle Obama join Girl Scouts for a singalong June 30, 2015. It was not your average Girl Scout campout. There were tents, but instead of the backwoods, they were pitched on the South Lawn of the most famous address in America, the White House. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst REUTERS

Outdoor Furniture and Gear

"Retailers' focus is already shifting to fall, [so] savvy shoppers can use the end of summer to get major price breaks on outdoor products, including patio furniture, camping gear and more," said Jespersen. "You may not get much use out of the items this year, but these end-of-season sales are a good opportunity to buy things you'll want for next year."

A Kmart spokesperson said that effective August 7-13 the Sportcraft 27'x9' Event tent will be marked down from $149.99 to $119.99, and that the Sportcraft 12'x12' instant canopy will be on sale for $59.99, reduced from $109.99. Also eBay has the DuroMax 4000 Watt Gas Powered RV Camping Generator for $299.99 (was $499.99) with free shipping, and Bass Pro Shops has the Frigate Offshore Angler Boat Bag for $9.97 (was $19.99) with free in-store pickup.

Wine and Frozen Treats

After all that back-to-school and summer clearance shopping, you deserve a nice glass of wine.

"You can expect to see discounts on last year's wine to make way for the new harvest, so now is a great time to stock up," said Skirboll. Through August 31, via RetailMeNot, you can save 10 percent on your first order of $75 or more of products from wine.com.

If you're looking for booze-free refreshments, keep in mind that there are a few frozen treat holidays on the horizon.

"August 6 is National Root Beer Float Day and A&W is giving away free root beer floats from 2pm to close and participating locations," said Perez. "August 8 is National Frozen Custard Day and Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is offering a single cone or dish for $1, plus they donate half the proceeds to your choice of two kids charities," said Perez. "Last year, select Rita's Italian Ice locations offered a free kid's cone with any large treat purchase from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on August 8."