This is the final weekend of Florida’s back-to-school sales tax holiday and it will likely be a busy one for parents. But if you can’t get to all the stores in one shopping spree don’t panic! In fact, Consumer Reports says that may be a good thing.
News4JAX Consumer Investigator Lauren Verno spoke this week to Consumer Reports’ Deals Expert Samantha Gordon. She said August is still a great month for finding sales, thanks to the back-to-school season and Labor Day -- despite rising prices on all kinds of products.
“We absolutely are seeing a price change this year for back-to-school shopping, specifically when it comes to tech products. We’re seeing a big difference because of the microchip shortages, the prices for laptops and tablets are not coming down the way that they used to,” Gordon explained. “So, discounts aren’t as big, sales aren’t as plentiful, but you can still find savings.”
Consumer Reports tracks the prices of many of its top tested products all year long, so it knows exactly when you can buy them at a discount, and Gordon has a message for anyone feeling overwhelmed: You could save more money if you spread out your shopping.
“Don’t try to buy everything on your list all in one shot. It can be tempting to just get it done and get it over with, but if you spread your shopping out over the coming weeks, you’re going to be able take advantage of different sales as they come and go,” she said. “Retailers offer different promotions throughout the next few weeks because different schools are going back at different times and some are already back in session and some will in a few weeks. So, you’re going to see saving opportunities until probably mid to late September at least.”
If you need a computer right away, Consumer Reports found the Apple Mac Mini M1 Chip Computer for $649 (Orig. Price $699) at Amazon. The Mac Mini shows fast speeds in Consumer Reports’ performance tests and scores well in owner satisfaction.
Another item that can go a long way this school year: a tablet. The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 (128GB) Tablet is now $579 (Orig. Price $650) at Amazon.
“If you are looking for something a little more budget-friendly, the Acer ChromeBook Spin. A ChromeBook is a great laptop. They tend to be more affordable, not quite as robust as a traditional laptop in terms of their capabilities, but good for most students. The Chrome Book Spin is $240 at Amazon,” said Gordon.
If you need to strengthen your internet connection and make it more secure, Consumer Reports says you can get a deal on upgrading your router.
We found the Netgear Orbi AC1200 (3-Pack) wireless router system for $128 (Orig. Price $200) on Amazon.
Consumer Reports found it was dropped down to $97 for a period of time.
Consumer Reports says the mesh network scored very good for mid-range and far-range distances in its tests.
“Something I’ve noticed on most shopping lists now for school supplies is headphones. Any good deals there?” Lauren asked Samantha Gordon.
“There are absolutely some great deals on headphones right now,” she said. “Thankfully there are few models that we really like right now including the popular Beats By Dre, Beats Studio3 wireless headphones. These are over-ear, noise-canceling headphones that typically cost $350, and right now in most colors, they are $200 at Best Buy.”
If you’re looking for something a little smaller, Gordon says the true wireless earbud market is flooded with different options.
“One we really like is the Sony WF-SP800N true wireless earbuds. These are great for noise cancelation and sound quality. They are $98 at Best Buy, Amazon and Target right now and they originally cost $200 so you’re seeing good savings there,” Gordon said. “They did really good for sound blocking and audio quality and Sony is a great, reliable headphone brand.”
If you want to snag a great deal to try and keep that college apartment or dorm room clean, Consumer Reports found the Eufy 30C RoboVac for $220 (Orig. Price $300) at Amazon.
We found it for even less when we checked -- $180 on Amazon.
Consumer Reports says this extremely quiet robovac excelled at cleaning and navigating its specially designed test laboratory.
”Vacuums, in general, tend to go on sale all throughout the year, so my best recommendation is to never pay full price for a vacuum,” Gordon added.
Florida’s Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday
You can still take advantage of Florida’s Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday through Monday, Aug. 9.