The best back to school sales & deals in 2021

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

best back to school 2021 sales deals

  • Right now, retailers across the internet are having back to school sales with major discounts.
  • We’ve rounded up all of the best sales to shop for clothing, shoes, tech, and more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

While there is still time for students to soak up the summer sun, plenty of retailers are taking the opportunity to host back-to-school sales.

To save you the trouble of having to scour the internet for deals, we rounded up the best back to school sales in 2021 that are happening right now. From clothes, Apple products, and school supplies to mattresses and dorm room essentials, you’ll find everything you need for heading back to school. And, even if you’re not a student, you’ll likely find great deals on clothes, tech, and more. We’ll continue to update the best back-to-school deals here as they come up.

For more opportunities to save, check out our round-up of the best sales happening now, and the Amazon deals available.

Here are the best back to school deals available in 2021

Best back to school clothing, shoes, and accessory sales

Old Navy BTS

Adidas: Save $30 when you spend $100 using the promo code FRESH through July 23.

American Eagle: Get 30% off shorts and up to 70% off shirts, jeans, and more. 

Banana Republic: Save an extra 75% off sale styles at checkout.

JCPenney: Save up to 40% off apparel, furniture, and more. 

Kohl’s: Get 15% off your purchase using promo code TAKE15 through July 25.

Macy’s: Save on clothes, shoes, and accessories. 

Nike: Save up to 40% off shoes and apparel for men, women, and kids. 

Nordstrom: Save on hundreds of apparel and accessories for kids, women, and men during Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale.

Old Navy: Save up to 75% on sale styles now. 

The best back to school tech deals on laptops, tablets, and more

Dell sale

Apple: Apple’s year-round education pricing includes discounts on Macs and iPads, including $100 off the MacBook Air. Right now, you can get a bonus pair of AirPods with a Mac or iPad purchase.

Best Buy: Save hundreds of dollars on laptops, iPads, and accessories through Best Buy’s Student Deals. 

Dell Outlet: Save up to $250 on laptops through July 26.

HP: Get up to 47% off laptops, monitors, and more.

Lenovo: Save up to 55% on laptops and accessories. 

Office Depot: Save up to 55% off school supplies including backpacks, lunch boxes, and office supplies.

Target: Save money with office and school supplies starting at $0.25.

The best back to school deals on mattress, bedding, and dorm room essentials

Dormify 25

Avocado: Get $100 off latex mattresses now through August 9, using promo code SUMMEROFAVO.

Bed Bath & Beyond: Save 20% when you sign up as a college student. 

Casper: Get up to 50% off sale mattresses, pillows, and bedding.

Container Store: Get 15% off as a college student or parent.

Dormify: Get 20% off sitewide using promo code BACK2SCHOOL.

JCPenny: Get up to 40% off select dorm essentials using promo code 4BASICS

Macy’s: Save up to 60% on bedding. 

Mattress Firm: Save up to 50% on select mattresses.

Overstock: Save on college dorm room essentials, including decorations, bedding, and more. 

Pottery Barn Teen: Save up to 60% on all dorm essentials, including bedding, furniture, and decorations.

FAQs

When do back-to-school sales start and end?

Although students head back to school in late summer and into fall, sales usually start in July and run through late August or early September. Many retailers have student and teacher discounts year-round though, so you can find discounts around the clock. 

What’s on sale for back-to-school shopping?

Popular items for sale during back-to-school shopping include apparel, technology, school supplies, or dorm supplies for college students. Often, you can find office and school supplies cheaper than $1 during July and August. If you are unsure what you or your child may need, take a look at this back-to-school guide for shopping list inspiration.

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Read the original article on Business Insider

43 college dorm essentials you’ll actually use – according to a recent graduate

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

dormify2

  • Going back to college is always an exciting time, whether it’s your first year or you’re a senior.
  • If you’re heading off to college for the first time ever, you’re probably wondering what to pack.
  • Below I’ve listed some dorm room essentials most of us recent graduates agree are essential.

If you’re heading off to college for the first time this fall, congrats! It’s such an exciting time – picking out your classes, meeting your roommate, making new friends. Although exciting, moving away from home and into a new space with a new person can be nerve-wracking. A good packing list to get you prepared for move-in day won’t necessarily calm all of your first-day jitters, but it hopefully will make you feel a little more ready.

As someone who recently graduated from college, the chaos of dorm-room shopping is fresh in my mind. I also remember the items I used every day and the items I was convinced I needed, but sadly never made it out of their packaging. That’s why this list exists – to give you some guidance that will hopefully make your college shopping process a little less hectic.

From the more obvious basics, like a comforter, to the more obscure, like an Amazon prime membership, this list has all the essentials to get you ready for the big day.

Shop our picks for 43 great dorm room essentials below

An Amazon Prime Membership for convenient shopping and free shipping

amazonprime, $6.49 a month

Amazon Prime Student Membership, $6.49/month (6-month free trial for new members)

Amazon Prime is the ultimate in convenience, especially if you don’t have a car on campus or if you go to school in a more removed, rural area. I found myself on Amazon Prime often, constantly ordering last-minute school supplies, my favorite snacks from home, and even toiletries when I was too lazy to drive to the store. The convenient service takes the annoyance of shopping away so you can focus on more important things, like studying.

If you are a new member you can get a free trial of Prime for six months, otherwise you can just get a discounted student membership.

A wallet that sticks to the back of your phone

amazon adhesive wallet $5.99 5 pack

Adhesive Phone Card Holder, $3.99 at Target

My student ID was one of my most valuable possessions in college. That little plastic card gave me access to my meal plan, my dorm, laundry, and more. I didn’t usually carry a full wallet with me, but I always had my phone on me, so I used these little phone wallets to hold my important cards instead. I could fit three cards, or two cards and some cash, in one of these.

A bottle to keep your drinks hot and your bag dry

contigo $11.75

Contigo Autoseal Travel Mug, $20.49 at Target

When you need to bring a hot beverage to class, there is nothing worse than opening your backpack to find your travel mug has leaked onto your schoolwork. This travel mug is great for keeping your drinks hot, but it also has an autoseal that actually keeps your drinks from leaking and spilling. So, you can throw this in your backpack and still hand in your essay sans coffee stains.

A pair of shower shoes that you can also wear to class

haivaianas $18

Havaianas Top Flip Flops, $18 at Zappos

Shower shoes are a must if you’re using communal showers. These Havaianas are simple, comfortable, and you won’t be horribly embarrassed if you accidentally wear them out of the shower and into class.

A shower caddy that carries everything

shower caddy

Day/Night Shower Caddy, $7.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

This shower caddy is big enough to hold all of your shower supplies, but has a removable mini carrier so you don’t need to lug everything with you when you shower, you can just take what you need. 

A fan that is a lifesaver if you don’t have air conditioning

vornado $34.99

Vornado Small Air Circulator Fan, $30 at Bed Bath & Beyond

If you don’t have air conditioning in your dorm, you need a fan. This one is small, but mighty. You will actually feel the difference in the air when you turn this fan on, but it is still small enough to fit on your desk, making it a great choice for a college dorm room.

A command hook that can do some heavy lifting

large command hook, $4.55

Command Large Plastic Hook, $4.00 at Target

These little hooks are major space savers. They come with adhesive strips for easy application to the wall and come off the wall without damaging the surface. It says these hooks can hold up to 5 lbs, but I was still surprised that this little plastic hooks could actually bear the weight of my heavy winter parka. These are great to stick to the wall for additional storage for jackets, bags, and other items that might not fit in your closet.

A tapestry to liven up dull dorm room walls

society6 tapestry, $43.99

Society6 Tapestries, starting at $31.49

Dorm room walls can be dull, but you can easily cover them and add some intrigue to your room with a tapestry. Society6 has tapestries in a wide range of prints including photographs, paintings, and typography. You can find lots of unique designs to make your room feel a little more like your own.

A colorful speaker that is college-proof

UE boom, starting at $99 to $120.98

Ultimate Ears Boom 2, $80 at Best Buy

The UE Boom 2 speaker is made for college students. It wasn’t really, but this shockproof, waterproof speaker can survive all of the antics of a college party. In a dorm room, these speakers are pretty loud on their own, but if you are moving to a bigger space and want even louder sound, you can connect your UE Boom with up to 150 other UE speakers for the ultimate party sound system. The fun colors are also a plus.

A lamp that is also an outlet and desk organizer

equipyourspace $14.99

Organizer/USB Outlet Desk Lamp, $15.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

You don’t get much space in dorm rooms, so any multi-purpose items are great for capitalizing on what you actually do have. This lamp is functional enough on its own, but the added USB outlet and organizational space make it that much more practical. You can hold post-its, paperclips, and other small school supplies in the organization compartments and the USB outlet is great if your room has limited wall outlets.

A drying rack that can be folded up for easy space-saving

polder $19.90

Polder Compact Accordian Drying Rack, $19.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

When folded down, this drying rack is flat and can be stored easily under your bed. When opened up, it provides 14 feet of drying space without taking up much space in your room. If you have any clothing that is too delicate for the dryer, one of these racks will come in handy. The best part is, you won’t even notice it once you put it away.

A Moleskine journal that you can use for handy notes

moleskin $14.75

Moleskine Hard Cover Notebook, $25.99 at Quill

Moleskine journals are great for a multitude of uses. They are smaller than most typical subject notebooks, but still can be used for class. I like to use mine as a planner and for jotting down random notes and thoughts I have throughout the day. The hard cover notebooks are flexible, but still durable enough to survive a messy backpack. 

Decorative pillows to liven up your space

dormify starting at $15

Decorative pillows, starting at $7 at Dormify

To make your dorm feel homey, add some decorative pillows to your bed. Decorative pillows are a fun way to show off your style and make your space feel like its yours. Plus, these will also make your bed extra cozy. 

A set of plastic drawers for easy under-bed storage

Iris $29.99

Iris Loft Underbed Stacking Drawer, $29.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Dorm rooms don’t typically offer a lot of space, so you have to get creative to make room for all of your belongings. These plastic stacking drawers are great for under-the-bed storage. These drawers are stackable to really maximize space and the front of the drawer is clear so you can easily see what is inside. These are perfect for storing clothing, towels, sheets, and more. 

A power strip for all of your devices

belkin $11.99

Belkin Power Strip Surge Protector, $21.49 at Staples

With a lot of tech, you will need a lot of outlets to charge everything. Many dorm rooms are not set up so outlets are in the most accessible locations, plus you have to share what is available with your roommate. A power strip is an easy, cheap solution to make sure all of your devices can be charged simultaneously. 

A hamper that also holds your laundry supplies

pop up hamper $7.99

Pop-Up Mesh Laundry Hamper, 7.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Depending on your laundry situation, you might be lugging your hamper up flights of stairs or to another building on campus. This hamper will make that process a little easier, with side pockets for your laundry supplies, so you have everything laundry related in one place. Plus, when you’re not using it, this hamper can be folded down flat and stored easily elsewhere in your room. 

A kettle that makes heating water safer, and easier

black&decker $24.99

Black + Decker Electric Kettle, $25.00 at Bed Bath & Beyond

I didn’t use an electric kettle until senior year, but now it’s a staple in my kitchen. It heats up water rapidly and automatically turns the kettle off once the water is boiled, so you don’t have to worry about any fire hazards. As a college student who was always rushing out of my apartment in the mornings, I always had peace of mind knowing that I didn’t leave the stove on to make my tea or oatmeal, because I didn’t need to use the stove at all. If you’re in a dorm and don’t have a kitchen, this is just as useful of an appliance for quickly heating water for tea, oatmeal, or a personal favorite instant meal, easy mac.

A towel that won’t fall

towelwrap $19.95

Women’s TowelNRobe Bath Wrap, $17.99 at Walmart

Mens Cotton Terry Body Wrap, $40.00 at Kohl’s

A towel wrap is a great substitute for a regular towel. These are just as comfortable and drying as your average towel, but the added Velcro strap ensures that your towel will stay put on your trek from your room to the shower.

A microwave that will make your favorite dishes

hamiltonbeach $55

Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel Microwave Oven, $69.98 at Walmart

Popcorn, easy mac, ramen — there’s so much you can make with a microwave. If you want to go a little more gourmet, you can make your own microwave-friendly dishes like mug cakes and frittatas. With the range of what you can make, and the ease of use, a microwave is a worthwhile and necessary investment for your college years.

Nutrition bars to keep you energized on long days

gomacro $16.83

GoMacro Nutrition Bars, $3.59 at Target

On those days when it feels like you will never get out of class, you’re going to need some sustenance. Nutrition bars are a quick fix that you can throw in your backpack for long days when you don’t have time to sit down for a meal. I like these ones because they’re made of simple, natural ingredients which will keep you fueled without a dreaded sugar crash later on. 

A little wastebasket to keep your room clean

trashbin $5.99

Mesh Metal Wastebasket, $6.99 each at Bed Bath & Beyond

It’s easy to let trash pile up in your dorm room, but having a trash can will at least help contain that mess. A lot of dorms have giant trash and recycling bins scattered throughout, but don’t have anything in the actual rooms. These wastebaskets are small enough that they can be hidden in the corners of your room, but they’re big enough to actually hold a good amount of garbage to make sure your surfaces are visible, and hopefully, clean.

A comforter that feels like your favorite T-shirt

dormify comforter $129

Tie Dye Jersey Comforter and Sham Set, starting at $99 (Twin XL) at Dormify

A soft comforter is a must. This one, made from cotton jersey, has the same cozy, worn-in feel as your favorite T-shirt. Plus, you can throw the whole thing in the wash for easy cleaning.

Febreze to freshen up your space

febreze $2.99

Febreze Air Freshener, $2.99 at Target

Your dorm room is your home base in college and you likely will use it for many other activities besides sleeping, which can give your room a “scent,” if we’re being generous. Many colleges don’t allow candles in dorms, but you can still hide the smell of burnt microwave pizza and dirty laundry with a can of Febreze. This linen & sky scent is light, but strong enough to eliminate the stink of college activities, so you can actually enjoy hanging out in your dorm room, odor-free.

A multipurpose mug that looks cute too

anthropologie mug

Lucy Eldridge Mug, $12 at Nordstrom

Even if you don’t have a kitchen in your dorm room, bring a mug with you to school. You can use it as a vessel for tea, microwave meals, and if you really have no desire to make any sort of food, this will make an adorable pencil holder on your desk. I like this one for the fun animal prints and sayings.

A set of sheets that is cozy and cool at the same time

brooklinen $99

Brooklinen Classic Core Sheet Set, starting at $99 for a Twin XL

These cozy percale sheets only get better with time. With each wash, the breathable fabric softens— a good incentive to do your laundry. Each set comes with a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and two pillowcases.

A bottle that will keep your water cold all day long

hydroflask $29.95

Hydro Flask 18 oz. Standard Mouth Water Bottle, $29.95

This insulated water bottle can keep your beverages cold for 24 hours, so you can always stay hydrated with ice cold water.  I love the range of bright colors and the option to purchase different caps, like a sports cap great for taking to the gym.

A set of Rubbermaid food storage containers to stash your snacks

rubbermaid $5.89

Rubbermaid Premier Food Storage Container, $20.99 for a 12-piece at Bed Bath & Beyond

Whether you are living in a dorm or off-campus, these Rubbermaid containers are a necessity. You can use these to bring packed lunches to class, to keep your favorite snacks safe from bugs, or stock up on food in the dining hall to stretch that college budget. These containers are microwave, freezer, and dishwasher safe, so you can really use them for anything. 

A cheap, easy way to bring your memories with you to college

snapfish $0.20

Snapfish prints, starting at $0.09

Once you’re away, you may realize how much you miss your friends and family back home. Scrolling through pictures on Instagram and Facebook doesn’t always cut it, but printed pictures are a great way to keep the people you love around and make a great room decoration as well. Snapfish makes it easy to print your favorite pictures in a variety of sizes and finishes, and they start at only 9¢ per print.

A Keurig for a quick caffeine fix

keurig $92.02

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker, $129.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Early morning classes and late night study sessions make caffeine a college student’s best friend. When I was a freshman I could get unlimited free coffee at the campus dining halls, which was great. Once I graduated from an unlimited meal-plan though, I realized how much money I was wasting buying coffee that was honestly not even good. The Keurig was the answer; a speedy, single-serve coffee maker that is extremely easy to use and clean. The upfront cost may seem like a lot for a coffeemaker, but if you consider how much money you will save making your own brews in the morning, it definitely is a smart purchase.

A folder that can fit all of your subjects

five star $10.29

Five Star Expanding File Folder, $6.99 at Target

You most definitely will need folders or binders to keep track of all of your class handouts. While you can opt for individual folders for each subject, I found that one compact folder was the most convenient. With one folder, I was always prepared for class as I had all of my papers with me. Plus, this one is vertical so you can easily take papers in and out when you need them.

A sweatshirt that can take you from bed to class

eveerlane

The Classic French Terry Crew, $45 at Everlane

Long nights in the library, early morning classes when you wish you were still sleeping, these are the times that call for a comfortable sweatshirt and these are the times that make up a good chunk of the college experience. It may seem obvious, but pack a comfortable sweatshirt that you can lounge in, sleep in, and wear to class.

Clorox wipes for easy cleaning

Using Clorox to clean table outside

Clorox Wipes, $23.49 for a 3-pack at Amazon

Nobody is cleaning your room for you once you get to college, so you should have some basic cleaning supplies on hand. Clorox wipes are great for wiping away crumbs, dust, and any other grime that accumulates in your room. I have even used these to clean muddy, white sneakers, but I’m not sure that is the best method.

A charging cable that is extra-long and extra-convenient

amazon cable $9.99

Apple 6-Foot Long Charging Cable, $29.99 at Best Buy

This phone charger is extra-long, so you can use your phone while it charges in an outlet up to six feet away. This is super useful if there is no outlet near your bed, but also it’s just as good as a regular phone charger.

A little organizer for your desk

desk organizer

Bamboo Rotating Organizer, $25.38 at Walmart

You should definitely have some storage to keep your supplies organized, so you can actually use your desk. This desk organizer won’t take up too much space and is a tidy way to store the school supplies that you use often, like notepads, scissors, pens and pencils. The natural color will fit in with any decor and it rotates too, for easy, fast access to your school supplies from all angles.

Starry string lights for wall decorations

stringlights

Starry String Lights, $15.20 at West Elm

The artificial lighting that you will find in most dorm rooms is pretty depressing. String lights are a cheap, easy way to brighten up a dim space. With 33 feet of lighting, there are ample ways to set up these lights in your dorm room. When turned on, these also make a cute, and useful, decoration.

A comfy pair of slippers for your dorm and beyond

muk lul

Women’s Muk Luk Clog Slippers, $20.99 at Target

When you realize how dirty dorm floors get, you’ll be happy you have a pair of comfortable slippers to wear around your hall. This pair has an indoor/outdoor sole, which is great in the case that you do want to wear them outside.

Door hooks for added storage space

hook

Hook-Over Over the Door Hook, $1.99 at The Container Store

Another great space-saver, these hooks fit right over your door and are flat enough so your door can actually close. Use these to hold your towels, jackets, and bags. 

A Kindle for reading in your free time

kindle

Kindle Paperwhite, $94.99 at Target

If you have the free time to read for pleasure, a kindle is the way to go. With all the reading you have to do for class, you’ll have enough books taking up space on your desk and in your backpack. With a kindle you can get all of the titles you want on one compact device and at a fraction of the cost. This one has a Paperwhite surface, so you can read outside with no glare, and a built in light, so you can read before bed even if your roommate is sleeping.

Canvas pouches for all sorts of knick-knacks

canvaspouch

Canvas Pouches, starting at $10.74 at Etsy

I use this little canvas pouches for everything. They can be used as pencil cases, makeup bags, or to organize any other knick-knacks you have lying around. With a multitude of designs and even personalized options, you could get a few to hold a different items. 

A mattress topper that’ll transform a stiff mattress

linenspa

Linenspa 2-inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress, starting at $58.99 (twin) at Wayfair

Your university probably isn’t welcoming all first-years to school with Leesa and Casper mattresses — and if they are, I want to know where you go to school. Luckily, you can transform those stiff-as-a-board mattresses for $40, or even less. A mattress topper is truly a blessing, turning any old bed into the comfortable sleep haven you deserve. I like the feel of plush memory foam toppers like this one, but there’s a plethora of materials to choose from so you can be sure you’ll find one that’s perfect for your sleep preferences and budget. 

A set of velvet hangers that keep your closet

velvet hangers

Real Simple Flocked Suit Hangers, $24.99 (50-pack) at Bed Bath & Beyond

I’ll never forget walking into my dorm room for the first room to find an armoire filled with about hangers of random shapes and sizes. You can deal with the crappy ones that may (or may not) come in your closet already, or you can just bring your own. These hangers are easy on your clothes, sturdy enough to hold up to 10 pounds, and have a slim design that maximizes closet space. Plus, using a set of uniform hangers will help keep your closet consistently neater

A reading light that won’t annoy your roommate when you’re up late studying or reading

led reading light

LED Reading Light Clip, $9.99 at Best Buy

Living with a roommate means you have to be mindful of someone else’s schedule, not just your own. You might like reading late into the night, but your roomie might want lights off at 10 p.m. to prepare for her early-morning lecture. Rest assured, you don’t have to give up your night-owl habits to respect your roommate’s preference. Pick up a small reading light instead — it takes up barely any space, is bright enough to see comfortably in the dark, and clips onto surfaces for easy use. 

An over-the-door organizer that can be used to hold just about anything

hanging over-the-door organizer

36-Pocket Over the Door Organizer, $20 at Dormify

In a small dorm, you have to get creative about storage. The back of your door is the perfect place to hang an organizer like this one. Use it to store snacks, shoes, cleaning supplies, or random knick-knacks. It provides tons of storage (36 pockets worth) in a space that would probably go unused otherwise. Plus, it’s easy to clean — all you have to do is wipe it down.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 13 best planners for staying organized in 2021, including tips and tricks from experts

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Person writing in planner using a ballpoint pen. Photo cropped to only show hand and planner.
  • A planner is an all-in-one productivity tool for writing down events, to-do lists, and goals.
  • Planners come in all varieties, from dated and undated to daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.
  • The best planner is a personal choice, whether it’s small and undetailed or big and densely packed.

Paper planners are calendars that help you keep track of tasks, appointments, ideas, and so on. They let you see the week or month all at once, in a clear and legible way. But no planner is one-size-fits-all: The best planner for you might be unsuitable for someone else’s needs.

Picking a planner comes down to personal preference, whether you like to schedule things down to the minute or just jot a few weekly notes. Many have space for notes, to-do lists, and other tasks. Some people want a balance of enough space for their jottings but in a book that can easily fit in their backpack.

Planner styles get even more detailed, and we break down the ways to choose what’s right for you at the end of this guide. We talked to two stationery store owners and a productivity expert to get their advice on how to pick a planner.

“There’s lots of different, great planners, and it just kind of depends on thinking about how you want to plan your week and how you want to visualize your week,” said Jeremy Crown, who co-owns Little Otsu, a paper store in Portland, Oregon.

Whatever style of planner you prefer, you’ll be able to find something in the list below. Keep in mind that manufacturers often make their planners in several styles and sizes, and we try to reflect that in the list.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Here are the best planners

Apica CD Free Monthly Planner

Apica Schedule Book Planner open page to schedule.

The Apica CD Free Monthly Planner is very affordable, with minimal frills.

Basic but very functional, Apica’s monthly planner has 32 pages, a cardstock cover, and thread binding. It’s undated, so you can pick it up and start scheduling any part of the year. There are 16 sheets of monthly calendars (one month stretches over two pages), plus another 15 pages of grid paper. There are also a couple of pages for a yearly overview. If you don’t need a super-detailed calendar but still want something with nice paper and an affordable price, the Apica is a great option. 

BestSelf Co. the Self Journal

BestSelf Journal open on desk with a pen on it, with various desk items like sunglasses, a wallet, and plant to the side.

The Self Journal from BestSelf is geared toward quarterly planning, with daily, intensive options for tracking your goals.

If you’re looking for a lot of structure and prompts, the Self Journal might be right for you. It has pages of tasks and templates to guide your goal-setting. While undated, it’s only meant to last 13 weeks, so you won’t have a full year at your fingertips. The idea, though, is to break the year down into chunks and do the same for daunting projects. There are spaces to fill out what you’re grateful for, goals, and targets. 

With 240 pages, the size is fairly portable, and it has a hardcover. The paper is also fountain-pen friendly.

Bloom Daily Planner

Bloom Daily Planners

The Bloom Daily Planner comes in many versions to suit many styles, all with plenty of supplemental sheets for tracking progress.

Bloom’s planners are full of lists and charts for you to fill out and help you figure out how to schedule the year ahead. There are vision boards and habit-tracking options included. You can also sign up for additional, downloadable sheets for bill tracking, meal planning, and so on. 

The nice thing about Bloom is that it has almost countless options for getting exactly what you want. The planners come in both softcover and hardcover options, and there are several planner layouts to choose from. For teachers, there are undated versions, as well as ones that start in July. If you have a wedding or new baby on the horizon, there are planners for that, too.

Clever Fox Non-Dated Daily Planner

Clever Fox Planner opened with two hands and one is holding a pen to write in it.

With a full page for each day, the Clever Fox Non-Dated Daily Planner gives you space for your packed schedule or brainstorming sessions.

Clever Fox‘s daily planner has scads of room for those with busy days — or anyone who likes to doodle and brainstorm in their calendars. Each day of the week has its own page, with space to schedule from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are also prompts for weekly goals (both work and personal priorities) and productivity tracking. The planner also comes with stickers to help you personalize your pages. With a sturdy cover in colors from black to rose gold to royal blue, it should be easy enough to find one that matches your style. 

In addition to the daily version — which is only for six months — there are weekly options that have space for a full year. If you want a larger planner, the pro version measures 8.5 by 11 inches. 

Cultivate What Matters Powersheets Goal Planner

Cultivate What Matters Powersheets open on a table with a blue pen to the side.

From Cultivate What Matters, the PowerSheets Goal Planner has lots of prompts to keep you on track and inspired.

Getting started with PowerSheets is a bit of a commitment; it can take a couple of hours to fully fill out your goal sheets. There are also video explainers to help you check all the boxes. The planner is hefty and sturdy and should have no problem lasting the year. There are 160 pages, with the months spread over two pages. There are also two pages per month for monthly, weekly, and daily ideas and action items. PowerSheets aren’t made for day-to-day notes but are more for bigger-picture projects and goals. 

There are lots of stickers and a pastel palette, which won’t appeal to everyone. 

Day Designer Daily Planner for Blue Sky

Day Designer Planner for Blue Sky open to a page to write in.

A thorough planner with lots of room for notes, the Day Designer Daily Planner for Blue Sky is great for people with busy days or lengthy to-do lists.

Usually, Day Designer planners are $59, but the Blue Sky collaboration version is $28. The Blue Sky planner does have lower-quality paper and a flexible cover that may not stand up to wear and tear as well as a hardcover. The day has a 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. schedule, along with room for to-do lists. At the top and bottom are boxes for gratitude, your “top three” important items, and notes for the night. 

If you have a larger budget and prefer a daily calendar, Day Designer’s flagship planner has a page dedicated to each weekday, with a single page for weekends. 

2021-2022 Academic Year Daily & Monthly Planner (small)
Field Notes 56-Week Planner

Field Notes 56 Week Planner flipped open to write on a blank planning sheet.

Robust yet portable, the Field Notes 56-Week Planner is a great low-priced choice that still lasts a full year.

Compact yet rugged enough to toss in a backpack, Field Notes‘ 56-week planner is no-frills but fully functional. Each week gets two pages, with Saturday and Sunday sharing space. They’re undated, so you can start anytime, miss a couple weeks, and pick back up without wasting pages. As the name suggests, you get space for over a year, with 112 pages total. 

At less than $20, it’s one of the more affordable planners on the list, though we wish there were a few options for the cover. 

Happy Planner

Happy Planner faced open on a desk with two pens on the right page.

Happy Planner has lots of customization options, including layout and length.

Happy Planner is all about making its products work for you, so there are quite a few ways to customize your planner. It offers horizontal, vertical, and dashboard layouts, as well as a few different sizes and undated options. You can also buy plenty of stickers to add more flair. The covers tend to be pastel, boldly colored, or Disney-themed, so it might be hard to find something more understated. We also like the planner’s discbound binding, which is like a three-ring binder you don’t have to open and close.

Happy Planners are popular with teachers, and they offer 18-month versions that start in July. 

Classic Planner (12-Month) (small)
Panda Planner

Person looking at their Panda Planner with pen in hand and coffee to the left.

The Panda Planner is meant to be hyper-focused on a three-month period, with daily tracking.

The classic version of the Panda Planner is undated, with room for three months of daily tracking. There are also weekly and monthly sections. The planner is designed for those who need lots of on-page support, with boxes for morning and end-of-day reviews, habit tracking, and priorities. Each day gets a two-page spread, and they’re undated, so you can skip weekends if you want something more work-focused. The cover and interior designs are less flowery than many other planners on the list, which may be a positive or negative, depending on what you like. 

Panda Planners also come in undated, six-month and dated, full-year versions.

Passion Planner

Passion Planner faced open on a desk.

Designed with motivation in mind, the Passion Planner has a few layouts to help you follow through with your goals.

The Passion Planner is focused on motivation and helping you achieve your yearly goals. The weekly version has places for you to note what you’re focusing on and good things that happened. The layout is vertical, so keep that in mind if you prefer a horizontal setup. There are a few styles to choose from, including undated daily and weekly layouts. On the website, you can choose whether you want your planner’s week to begin on Sunday or Monday. Small, medium, and large sizes are available, with the biggest being a bit larger than a standard sheet of paper. 

If buying a Passion Planner doesn’t fit into your budget, the site has downloadable content that you can print and fit into a regular, three-ring binder. There are also digital versions available. 

Rhodia Webplanner

Rhodia Webplanner

With nice paper and a stylish design, the Rhodia Webplanner may appeal to those looking for a mix of structure and freeform planning.

Rhodia is a French notebook company with a trademark orange and black scheme, so there aren’t a ton of color options. Unfussy, with a faux leather cover and nice paper, the Webplanner gives room for a weekly schedule on one page and a grid for notes on the right. It’s a nice compromise for those who like bullet journaling but want a little more structure. 

Quo Vadis Weekly Business Planner

Qua Vadis Business Planner open to pages.

Good quality yet affordable, the Quo Vadis Weekly Business Planner is a no-nonsense way to keep tabs on your weekly to-dos.

A well-designed, pocket-sized planner from Quo Vadis, it has a textured, faux leather cover. It’s helpful to go on the Quo Vadis website because it lays out all the options available for its planners: academic or calendar year; daily, weekly, or monthly format; and small, medium, or large size. The planner’s weekly layout is vertical, with scheduling space from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. There are large squares on the right page for extra notes. The cover comes in several colors, and you can also find the planner in faux suede or smooth faux leather options. 

Though there isn’t a lot of extra space for habit tracking, the back of the planner does have some space for personal notes and a map of the world’s time zones. 

Wit & Delight Stay on Track Desktop Notepad

Wit and Delight Desktop Planner faced open with hands and a pen in one hand.

Portable planners aren’t for everyone, so the Wit & Delight Stay on Track Desktop Notepad is a great (big) way to jot down notes, appointments, and the like.

If you want a planner that you can’t ignore, this desk version from Wit & Delight is a good option. It’s undated, with 180 sheets. Each page has vertical space for Monday through Friday. There aren’t Saturday and Sunday spots, but there’s a “home life” box that could work for weekend activities. There are also places for notes, projects, and big picture items. 

How to choose a planner

There are an overwhelming number of planner types. “I used to try to just stock as many as possible because it’s such a personal thing,” said Chandra Greer, who owns Greer, a stationery store in Chicago, Illinois.

She eventually realized it was impossible to cover every base and now just selects functional, quality options, knowing they might not be the right fit for everyone. “I’m more interested in the function of it,” she said. “Is the layout useful? Is the layout well-designed? Is the paper great? Is it something that is going to withstand being your daily friend for 365 days?” 

To find out what will work for you, you can start by considering what qualities are most important to you. “I think if you sort of start with, ‘What is it that I want to use this for?’ that gives you a good starting point,” said Alexandra Cavoulacos, founder of The Muse and author of “The New Rules of Work“.  You can start with format — daily, weekly, or monthly — and overall length. Do you want to keep it to a few months for a specific project, or would you prefer something that gets you through a month or even longer? 

Daily, weekly, monthly

For some people, a planner is merely a portable calendar, Cavoulacos said. “They want to know where they need to be, when they have a doctor’s appointment, those sort of things,” she said. Other people want to track projects and create to-do lists. The amount of detail per day will start to dictate how much space you need. “There’s a hundred ways somebody might schedule their day,” said Greer. Some people need an hour-by-hour breakdown. If you’re mostly making to-do lists, a weekly calendar might work. If it’s more about keeping tabs on a few appointments, monthly might work. 

“It’s all about what works for you,” said Cavoulacos. 

Dated or undated

There are many reasons you might decide to buy an undated calendar. “People might decide on March 28th, they want a planner,” said Greer. “But if a planner is dated, they’re already three months through the year.” With an undated planner, they can get more bang for the buck by having it carry them through the next March. 

Another reason might be you know yourself to be a fickle planner user. If you keep it undated, you can always pick up where you left off without wasting days’ worth of paper. People working on a big project, planning a wedding, or focusing on a specific goal might also prefer an undated planner, for more flexibility or to keep everything contained in one book. 

Months or years

Some hyper-focused, daily planners will only last a few months. It helps keep them from being too bulky and cumbersome. Others are much bigger picture, with five-year plans. In between, there are standard yearly planners and academic versions, which tend to start in the summer or early fall. 

The only thing that might stop you from buying an academic planner in January is that most manufacturers don’t have the current year’s available, so you’re better off waiting a few months for that. 

Horizontal or vertical

You’ll often see weekly planners arranged with each week covering two pages and the days spread out horizontally or vertically. When someone comes into Little Otsu looking for a planner, co-owner Jeremy Crown first asks, “Are you more of a task-oriented planner?” He thinks people with detailed schedules or long to-do lists will prefer the column format of vertical layouts. Those who like making notes or doodling might like the horizontal layout better. 

Some planners use a “dashboard” view, with a week or day on one page and the other dedicated to habit trackers, gratitude prompts, and other fill-in-the-blanks. 

Size

Doctors, nurses, and chefs always want pocket-sized notebooks and planners, said Crown. You might want something big enough to hold your sprawling handwriting but small enough to carry around in your purse or messenger bag. Many planner makers will offer at least a couple of choices when it comes to size. 

Minimalist or full of prompts 

Planner aesthetic ranges from very barebones to packed with extras. What you like is completely personal. You’ll find plenty of basic books with a plain cover and just the calendars. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you can get a planner with quotes, charts, and check-ins. You may want something in between, with a pretty cover but few internal embellishments. 

“You want your planner to inspire you, whatever that means for you,” Cavoulacos said. That could mean a simple planner with zero distractions, she said, or something with quotes and your horoscope that makes you look forward to opening the book every day. “I do think the sort of aesthetic piece, the inspiration piece, is also something that shouldn’t be forgotten,” she said.  

If you do want something more stripped down, Greer suggests looking to Japanese planner makers. “You’re not going to see little flower illustrations and little quotes and 85 pages of guided journal meditation,” she said. “They keep it very simple. They’re very serious about it.” 

Both Greer and Cavoulacos point out that you can add your own quotes and personalizations to even the most minimalist planner, as long as there’s space. “It could become more of a person’s little command center,” said Greer. 

Paper quality

For some, the quality of a planner’s paper isn’t really a factor. There are a few things to know, though. Two Halloween-ish-sounding words that are useful to know, stationery-wise, are bleeding and ghosting. Bleeding is when the ink leaks through. Ghosting is when you flip the paper over and can see what’s written, even though it hasn’t actually bled through. “Good paper, whether it’s thin or thick, doesn’t ghost,” Crown said. 

In many countries, fountain pen use is much more widespread than in the United States. The paper made there reflects that. “As a general rule, Japanese paper tends to be softer and smoother, and American paper is kind of the roughest — or we’d say the toothiest — and Europe’s kind of in the middle,” Crown said. 

“Fountain pen usage is a really big factor,” Greer said. “It’s probably the number one question we get about any of our notebooks and planners, ‘Is the paper fountain pen friendly?’ and not all papers are.” If paper quality is high on your list of importance, Greer suggests taking a close look at who makes a planner. 

“I definitely gravitate towards manufacturers who have a background in paper,” she said. “So they’re not so much about being a planner company. They’re about a notebook/paper company that has planners.” Some of the manufacturers that make planners with excellent paper include Midori, Paperways, High Tide, and Kokuyo Jibun Techo, she said.  

Cover

Even if you’re not into paper, you’ll want to pay attention to the cover’s material. Hardcovers will stand up to more wear and tear than softcovers. “Sometimes people will trade off that durability for something that doesn’t cost very much so, but definitely people are expecting, when they purchase a planner, that it’s going to get through the whole year and not look like it was run over by a truck,” Greer said. 

Binding 

It’s important that planners lie flat since you’re writing in them. Many are spiral bound, but others are stitch bound. Either will let you write on them, but you can flip one side of the book behind the other with a spiral binding. “A lot of people are kind of indifferent between spiral and stitch bound now, as long as it lies flat because that’s really what they’re looking for,” Greer said. 

Discbound is similar to spiral-bound, but it’s a bit different. The pages in a discbound book can be easily removed and put back in, but you don’t have to open the discs, as you would with a three-ring binder. Instead, there are little notches in the paper that fit around the disc. It makes planners more customizable because you can quickly and easily move pages from one section to another. 

Another concern with the binding is whether it will keep the planner together for the whole year. Some glued-in pages might not hold out as well. “If you have something that’s stitch bound or spiral, it’s very sturdy for the long haul,” Greer said.

Bullet journaling 

Bullet journaling is a system of tracking and tackling tasks, goals, and projects. It can be used with basically any notebook, but it’s not for everyone. “I think for some people you want the prompt and you want the structure to guide you because you’re not exactly sure how to organize everything,” Cavoulacos said. 

“There’s a lot of stationery enthusiasts in the United States, and so there’s all these different subcultures with people who are really into making their own space on paper,” Crown said. “And that’s what bullet journaling is perfect for.” 

If you’ve never tried it, you can either start with an ordinary notebook you have lying around. There are also plenty of hybrid options, with calendars and space for notes or bullet journaling. 

Extras

There might be some little perks with certain planners that might be deal-makers for you. Maybe you want a front pocket to keep extra papers. Perhaps you prefer a planner with an elastic band to help keep it closed. 

If the extra that’s most attractive to you is stickers, keep in mind that you can probably buy them separately.  

Why not just use your phone as a digital planner?

“I don’t necessarily think a planner is for everybody, just like any particular productivity hack or tool,” Cavoulacos said. There are plenty of people who prefer to keep their calendars and notes strictly digital, and getting a paper planner might not make sense for them. 

If you’re on the fence, she suggests asking yourself what’s attractive about a paper planner. “I think for a lot of people it’s slowing down, right?” Cavoulacos said. “It’s like the lack of distraction. It’s the moments to think, to cross things off — the satisfaction of crossing things off.” 

Greer said she went through a few years where not many people were buying planners. Now she’s seeing more customers who want something physical to carry around and write in. She even gets tech workers buying them. “They’re saying that their schedule’s more accessible to them in some ways, in terms of getting the big picture, if they’re using a physical book,” Greer said. 

For Crown, it’s more personal than a phone calendar. “It’s your life in a book,” he said. “That’s kind of what’s special about them. The end of the year, you have this book that was like, this is what I did. That’s something that the phone doesn’t do that well.” 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Parents are gearing up to spend big on back-to-school stuff, boosted by pandemic savings and the new child tax credit payments

Mother and daughter wearing face masks and looking at school supplies in a store. The daughter is wearing a blue backpack.
  • While kids anticipate the return to school, parents are ready to buy supplies early and spend more.
  • According to Deloitte, K-12 spending could be $32.5 billion this year, 16% higher than last year.
  • Some Americans may spend child tax credit payments, which will go out on July 15, on school supplies.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As the school year approaches, some children will say goodbye to virtual learning and hello to a lot of new back-to-school clothes, shoes, and other items needed for in-person learning.

A recent Deloitte report found parents are gearing up to spend more on back-to-school shopping than in 2019, and that they are ready to start buying school supplies earlier than the back-to-school season typically begins. The report points to a possible reason why: half of respondents said they’re worried items will be out of stock.

Plus, experts say parents’ spending will be boosted by higher-than-normal savings and the new child tax credit starting this week from the federal government.

The new child tax credits could help parents foot the bill

Many parents will start receiving monthly child tax credit payments of $250 or $300 per child this week through December. The payments may help with retail sales for items like food and school supplies as reported by CNBC.

“It’s a good thing for Walmart and grocery stores,” Jim Sullivan, an economics professor at the University of Notre Dame, told CNBC. “The retail sectors where middle- and lower-income families spend money are likely to benefit some from this.”

One parent told CNBC she’s planning to use some of the money from the child tax credit on school supplies. Fresh EBT, an app to track food stamp balances, found users also plan to spend some of the payments on back-to-school items, as reported by The New York Times.

People also stashed away savings over the last year

According to Deloitte’s back-to-school surveys, spending for both college and K-12 will be larger this year. Deloitte projects back-to-school spending for K-12 to increase by roughly 16% from the year before to $32.5 billion. Even as some students return to in-person learning, Deloitte found spending on tech will be 37% higher than in 2020. A survey from KPMG and Mastercard also shows spending will be much higher this year than last year.

Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte and Deloitte’s US retail, wholesale, and distribution leader, told Insider he thinks one of the reasons consumers will be shopping earlier is because they want their kids to begin the school year with the items they need.

“And there’s more money available for that,” Sides said. “Generally when you’ve got reasonably low unemployment and a high savings rate that usually translates to a much higher spending season.”

The personal savings rate in May 2021 was 12.4%, higher than pre-pandemic rates. Personal savings totaled to $2.29 trillion in May. The unemployment rate has fallen from pandemic highs and now stands at 5.9%, still higher than the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%.

Additionally, a recent KPMG survey of 1,000 people found that 39% of those who plan to spend more think items will be more expensive.

“According to KPMG economic analysis, many products are seeing a spike in prices, driven by the combination of supply shocks to US manufacturing suppliers and strong demand for goods, including certain school shopping categories,” KPMG wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

All the best back-to-school sales and deals in 2021 happening now

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

best back to school 2021 sales deals

  • Right now, retailers across the internet are having back-to-school sales with major discounts.
  • We’ve rounded up all of the best sales to shop for clothing, shoes, tech, and more, for when your child starts school

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

While the official start of the school year is still months away, plenty of retailers are taking the opportunity to host back-to-school sales.

To save you the trouble of having to scour the internet, we rounded up the best sales going on right now. From clothes, Apple products, and school supplies to mattresses and dorm room essentials, you’ll find everything you need for back-to-school. And, even if you’re not a student, you’ll likely find great deals on clothes, tech, and more.

For more opportunities to save, check out our round-up of the best sales happening now, and the Amazon deals available.

Here are the best back-to-school sales available in 2021

Best clothing, shoes, and accessory sales

Old Navy BTS

Adidas: Get 30% off select kids’ clothing when you buy three or more items using promo code READY at checkout.

Banana Republic: Save an extra 50% off sale styles at checkout.

JCPenney: Get 20% off select apparel, shoes, accessories, and more using the promo code COOLBUY6

Macy’s: Get an extra 25% off kids’ and juniors’ clothing now through July 13 using promo code JULY.

Nike: Save up to 40% off shoes and apparel for men, women, and kids. 

Nordstrom: Save on hundreds of apparel and accessories for kids, women, and men during Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale.

Old Navy: Save up to 50% on kids’ clothing right now.

The best deals on computers, electronics, and other school supplies

Dell

Apple: Apple’s year-round education pricing includes discounts on Macs and iPads, including $100 off the MacBook Air. Right now, you can get a bonus pair of AirPods with a Mac or iPad purchase.

Best Buy: Save hundreds of dollars on laptops, iPads, and accessories through Best Buy’s Student Deals. 

Dell: Get up to 40% off laptops, monitors, and accessories now until July 21.

HP: Get up to 47% off laptops, monitors, and more.

Office Depot: Save up to 55% off school supplies including backpacks, lunch boxes, and office supplies.

Target: Save money with office and school supplies starting at $0.25.

The best mattresses, bedding, and dorm room essentials deals

Dormify 25

Avocado: Get $100 off green and vegan hybrid mattresses now through July 19, using promo code SLEEPFREE.

Casper: Get 15% off mattresses, pillows, and sheets, plus an additional 10% off anything else and up to 50% final sale products. 

Mattress Firm: Save up to 50% on select mattresses.

Pottery Barn Teen: Save up to 60% on all dorm essentials, including bedding, furniture, and decorations.

 

Frequently asked questions

When do back-to-school sales start and end?

Although students head back to school in late summer and into fall, sales usually start in July and run through late August or early September. Many retailers have student and teacher discounts year-round though, so you can find discounts around the clock. 

What’s on sale during back-to-school?

Popular items for sale during back-to-school shopping include apparel, technology, school supplies, or dorm supplies for college students. Often, you can find office and school supplies cheaper than $1 during back-to-school shopping. If you are unsure what you or your child may need, take a look at this back-to-school guide for shopping list inspiration.

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Read the original article on Business Insider

We spent weeks researching mini fridges – these are the 4 best ones in 2021

  • Mini fridges are great for the office, wet bar, or dorm, and you can use them as extra kitchen storage.
  • We like Midea’s 1.6 Cubic Foot model for its compact design, reversible door, and freezer compartment.
  • We spoke with mechanical engineers and refrigerator repair professionals, and took several fridges apart to determine our picks.

A mini fridge can be a convenient addition to the office, home office, garage, or anywhere else you care to have a chilled six-pack or assortment of snacks and soft drinks at the ready.

We spoke with several refrigeration experts, including the folks at Liberty Home Guard, to find out what makes a good mini fridge, what to avoid, and how to take care of one in order to ensure it lasts for years to come. (Pro tips: Keep it clean inside and out, don’t block vents, and position it at least three inches out from the wall). You can read more about our research and methodology here.

When shopping for mini fridges, the most important features to consider are shelf configurations (and adjustability), design aesthetics, and whether or not you want a freezer. If you only plan to store beverages in your mini fridge, you may prefer one specifically designed for holding cans, or one with a glass door so you don’t have to open it every time you want to peruse your inventory.

Mini fridges, it turns out, aren’t generally built to last the way that full-sized ones are, so keep in mind that a good one will need to be replaced around the five year mark, depending on how much you use it.

Here are the best mini fridges of 2021

Our methodology

Selection of mini fridges at a store

While writing this guide, we spoke to David Moreno, a New York City-based refrigerator technician with Liberty Home Guard, and also chatted with a mechanical engineer, and a sales associate at The Home Depot. We even disassembled a few mini fridges ourselves to compare their parts, because, as Moreno said, “what I see with mini fridges is a lot of these manufacturers find a factory that produces them, and license out the name. They’re produced in bulk using really cheap components, but they do come at a great price point.” To that point, we found that the four fridges we disassembled used parts from two manufacturers, both from the same province in China. 

Based on what we learned from the experts, and our own experience as consumers (we’ve owned over a dozen models), we decided on our recommendations based on the following criteria:

Design: Because most mini fridges essentially have the same components, design is an important consideration. Simplicity is key; as with any fridge, the more complex, the more that can go wrong, according to Moreno.

Our overall pick is the most versatile mini fridge we could find, with room for everything from cans and condiments to takeout boxes, as well as a pint of ice cream or a couple of ice trays in the freezer section. 

Size: Within the realm of mini fridges, there are many sizes. Consider what you’re going to store, and how much of it. Our recommendations run the gamut from 1.1 to 4.4 cubic feet, which is about as large as they get before being too bulky to fit under a counter or desk.

Configuration: It’s important to determine what your mini fridge is going to hold — and how much space those things require — before making a purchase. Removable and adjustable shelves are preferred, and we paid attention to fridges that had both.

Usage: The fewer times you open and close a fridge, the less you engage the compressor, and the longer the fridge lasts. I personally have an EdgeStar fridge that’s in its sixteenth year, but I only open it every week or so, and often not for months at a time. I also have a Magic Chef model that gets about the same amount of use. It’s over five years old, and it’s doing just fine, save for some mild clicking once in a while. 

Price: While most mini fridges worth recommending fall within the $200 – $400 range, we did consider budget options, particularly for those who don’t plan on using their fridge too often. Since all mini fridges have a lifespan of about three to five years, spending a lot of money on one doesn’t make much sense, with the exception of built-in options, which require more of an investment. We’re researching built-ins for our next update, but for now, Moreno suggests a Whirlpool model.

The best mini fridge overall

Midea 1.6 cf mini fridge

The Midea 1.6-Cubic-Foot model has a chiller, a shelf, and stores just the right amount of food and beverages for most mini fridge needs.

A mini fridge is most often auxiliary, and in offices and dorms where space is a premium, the smaller the better. We also find that staying on the budget-friendly side makes more sense when it comes to mini fridges. According to the expert technicians we interviewed, alongside our own research pulling fridges apart, many brands license their name out to such a small number of manufacturers that there’s very little difference from one fridge to the next.

Midea’s 1.6-cubic-foot model is on the small (and affordable) side, but we find it’ll hold a couple of six-packs, a bottle or two of wine, and still leave room to spare for smaller items. If you’re solely relying on your mini fridge for all of your food and drink storage, you may want to upgrade to the 3.1-cubic-foot model (recommmended below), but choose what fits your space and your needs.

While it’s small, the 1.6 cubic foot model includes a chiller for making ice, and the simple wire-rack shelf is easy to pop in and out to clean. Another great feature is the reversible door, which isn’t as common as it should be.

Other than that, there are very few components to this fridge, and no flimsy plastic parts apart from the chiller door, which requires more delicate handling. 

The best mini fridge with a freezer

Midea 3.1 cubic feet mini fridge

A spiffier, larger version of Midea’s 1.6-Cubic-Foot model, the 3.1-Cubic-Foot mini fridge has a separate freezer and plenty of space designated for cans, food, and more.

A mini fridge with a separate freezer is great if you need to store ice cream, ice, or medication, and a well-thought-out freezer section makes this a great package for galley kitchens, dorms, and wet bars where you want to have all possible storage options.

Between the slick glass shelves (which we like because they don’t have any plastic pieces that could trap bacteria and grime), the can holder, a section on the door for two-liter bottles or wine bottles, and a space on top for butter or smaller items, this mini fridge is packed with features. Basically, you could easily live out of this fridge if you wanted.

There are a few reasons this fridge isn’t for everyone, though. If you don’t store 12-ounce cans, you might find that the can holder on the door becomes wasted space, and while most people agree that the freezer works well, some have found that temperature fluctuates above freezing. The back of the refrigerator compartment also tends to get colder, which you can use to your benefit by storing certain things toward the back and others toward the front, but it can also be a nuisance, depending on how you look at it.

All in all, this is a sufficient size and versatile configuration for studios and dorm rooms, and it’s especially handy for anyone who needs to store a decent amount of frozen goods. It’s also exceptionally easy to clean, which is always important.

The best convertible mini fridge

Avanti Dual Function Mini Fridge

Compact and versatile as a fridge or freezer, Avanti’s Dual Function mini fridge has a single shelf for easy storage and cleaning.

If you’re looking for a mini fridge that you can put to work in a pinch as either a fridge or a freezer, this is the easiest, most compact and stowable option around, and came recommended to us by the experts at Liberty Home Guard.

Note that if you do use this fridge as a freezer, you’ll want to be hypervigilant about condensation and be sure to get a good seal every time you open and close the door. This is basically destined to be a problem with most similar models, so it’s important to understand that you’re working with a very small, very inexpensively built appliance.

A lot of people build this fridge into their RVs because of its size, light weight (33 pounds compared to most others’ 40+ pounds), and versatility, as well as the fact that it can get well below zero degrees and store frozen foods. Some even end up purchasing two of these fridges to store side by side, using one as a fridge and one as a freezer.

The best mini fridge for drinks

NewAir 126-can mini fridge

A double-paned glass door and adjustable shelves for optimal drink organization make NewAir’s 126-can Mini Bar Beer Fridge a great pick for the home bar.

If you want a wet or mini bar fridge, look for a model with a (double-paned) glass door. This allows you to keep an eye on your inventory and not have to stand there with the door open while fishing around or deciding what you want. As we mentioned earlier, the longer and more often you open your mini fridge door, the more you overwork the poor little built-in compressor, and the faster you shorten the appliance’s life. 

NewAir refrigerators are built with the same compressors we found in Magic Chef mini fridges and others owned by Whirlpool. Again, because there are only a handful of big manufacturers, the parts are roughly the same, and so too is the quality. If you really want to step it up and are looking for a wine fridge, we have recommendations here.

Otherwise, NewAir offers multiple sizes (a 90-can as well as the 126-can model we recommend), a sleek stainless steel design, and five removable shelves so, yes, you can get that case of wine in there no problem, should you want to divide space differently.

FAQs

How do I care for a mini fridge?

According to David Moreno, a service technician with Liberty Home Guard, the most important thing is to keep the back of it (or any type of fridge) at least three inches away from the wall. In order for a compressor to do its job, it has to collect heat, and in order to run optimally, it has to have air to release that heat, otherwise it’s working double-time.

Also, make sure to keep your fridge clean inside and out. This includes dusting the back, and in particular dusting the coils. Keeping the fridge clean on the inside is important for your hygiene of course, but also the fridge’s. After some point, the wrong mix of spills and ensuing mold can start to damage the components.

And, to make sure you maintain a good seal with your gaskets, be sure to wipe the gaskets clean every month. The more a fridge leaks air, the more the compressor runs, and the more the compressor has to run, the shorter its lifespan will be.

Check out more kitchen guides

wine fridge 1
Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple’s annual back-to-school deal is live now, and it includes a free pair of AirPods when you buy a Mac or iPad

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

College email

  • Apple’s 2021 back-to-school discount lets you get a free pair of AirPods with a Mac or iPad purchase.
  • Apple’s year-round education pricing includes discounts on Macs and iPads, including $100 off the MacBook Air.
  • Not sure which MacBook is right for you? See our guide to the best Apple MacBook laptops.

Apple’s back-to-school discounts have arrived, and this year the iPhone maker is giving away a free pair of AirPods to students who buy an eligible Mac or iPad device.

The promotion is live now and runs through September 27. Those who are eligible can upgrade from the free standard AirPods with wired charging to the version with a wireless charging case for $40 or the AirPods Pro for just $90. That’s a significant discount from the AirPods Pro’s $250 list price and their typical street price of $220.

The offer is valid on purchases of the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, iPad Pro, or iPad Air. Unfortunately, Apple’s 8th-generation iPad, which we’ve called the best iPad for most people, and the iPad Mini are excluded from this offer.

See below to learn more about Apple’s general education discounts and the eligibility requirements.

Find the best Apple back-to-school deals of this year below, or shop all of Apple’s education deals here.

Who is eligible for Apple education discounts?

The iPad

Apple’s Education Discounts are available to current or newly accepted college students, parents of students, and  faculty, staff, and home school teachers of all grade levels, according to the company’s website.

Here’s who is eligible for the Apple Education Discount:

  • K-12 staff: Anyone who currently works at a public or private K-12 school can get the discounts. Homeschool teachers are also eligible, as are currently serving school board members who have been elected or appointed to their posts. PTA or PTO executives who are currently serving and were elected or appointed can also get the deals.
  • Higher education staff and students: Anyone who works at an institution of Higher Education and any students who are attending or have been accepted into the Higher Education system can get the discounts.
  • Higher education Parents: Parents can get the discounts when they buy devices for their children if their children are currently attending or have been accepted into a public or private Higher Education institution.

Shop all Apple Education Discounts here.

Save up to $200 on a MacBook Pro

Macbook Air

Apple offers several deals on Mac computers for students, whether you’re looking for a MacBook Pro or a more powerful desktop computer. The discounts also apply to the new M1-powered iMac that Apple recently released. 

Here are the best Mac and MacBook education deals:

Save up to $100 on an iPad

ipad pro

If you’re in the market for an iPad, you could get a pretty sweet deal, too. Apple is offering up to $50 off some of its iPad models and $100 off the 12.9-inch iPad Pro for students, so it’s worth buying an iPad through Apple’s education store. There are also some pretty great deals on accessories for the iPad. 

There are sometimes better deals on iPads available through other retailers, but Apple’s education discount is consistently great.

Here are the best iPad back-to-school deals:

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon has a discounted Prime membership for students that packs in all the regular benefits of Prime at half the cost – here’s how to sign up

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Amazon Prime Student 2x1
  • An Amazon Prime Student membership includes six months free and then a discounted monthly fee.
  • Prime Student comes with many of the perks of an Amazon Prime membership plus college-exclusive benefits.
  • It lasts four years or until your listed graduation date, whichever comes first.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyPrime Student (medium)

Students are eligible for a wide range of discounts on fashion, tech, and travel. But one of the sweetest student discounts available right now is Amazon Prime Student, which comes with a six-month free trial and includes many amenities of Amazon Prime at 50% off the regular subscription price.

Want to know how to sign up for Amazon Prime Student and take advantage of its exclusive offers – including Amazon Prime Day 2021? We have all the details below.

How to sign up for Amazon Prime Student

To sign up for Amazon Prime Student, you’ll need a valid .edu email. From there, Amazon will ask for an intended graduation year. That’s it. If you still have access to your university email, this offer is wide open to you.

If you don’t have a .edu email address, you can sign up using an alternate form of proof of enrollment like a school ID card or an up-to-date transcript.

How much does Amazon Prime Student cost?

An Amazon Prime Student can try out Amazon Prime for free for six months. By comparison, a typical Amazon Prime comes with a shorter 30-day free trial.

After the trial ends, you’ll be charged a discounted rate of $6.49 per month, or $59 per year. In comparison, Amazon Prime comes with a 30-day free trial and is $12.99 per month after that ($119 per year).

For what it’s worth, JPMorgan estimates that an Amazon Prime membership is actually worth $785 annually. We considered a standard Amazon Prime subscription to be an excellent deal, but the discounted rate and benefits offered to Amazon Prime Students make it a no-brainer.

Benefits of Amazon Prime Student

Amazon Prime Student includes many Prime benefits the average person cares about: free next-day or two-day shipping on more than 100 million eligible items, unlimited streaming of tons of popular movies and TV shows, unlimited photo storage, 30-minute early access to select Amazon Lightning Deals, and unlimited access to over a thousand books on Prime Reading.

An Amazon Prime Student subscription, however, has a few bonus perks. Subscribers have access to exclusive offers for college students including:

Amazon Prime Student includes access to Prime Day deals

Another reason to consider going for that Amazon Prime Student membership: Amazon Prime Day 2021 is coming this June or July – and Amazon Prime Student customers will be granted access to the same exclusive markdowns as regular Prime shoppers.

With six months free, a plethora of student-exclusive perks, and access to upcoming Prime Day 2021 specials, it’s well worth signing up for an Amazon Prime Student membership.

Prime Student (medium)

Read the original article on Business Insider