contributed by Liz Zaczek, senior staff writer
Believe it or not summer is almost behind us. Back to school shopping is in full swing across the country. No matter “how” your students are going back to school there is likely a supply or dozen, not to mention clothing and shoes, that they will need to get the year off to a great start. Luckily, there are plenty of discounts and resources available to military families to help get everyone ready for the new school year.
Here’s a few ways to help you save money while getting checking off all the items on your back to school shopping list.
The program partners with The Dollar Tree to collect school supplies for the children of service members and they distribute them at events throughout the country. Visit the Operation Homefront website to learn more and find out when the Back to School Brigade is coming to your area of the country.
Many National retailers offer year round military discounts. Often military discounts are not widely publicized by the stores and restrictions may apply to be sure to ask for any details. Among the many offering discounts: Old Navy offers a 10% discount on “in-store” purchases, Columbia offers 10% off all online purchases, Kohl’s offers a 15% discount each Monday, in store only, to active duty service members, veterans and their immediate families and Zappos.com offers 10% off every order with valid military ID.
Shopping for new backpacks or lunch bags for the new school year? Both Vera Bradley and Pottery Barn Kids offer 15% discounts to military families while L.L. Bean offers 10% off online purchases for active duty, veteran and reserve families.
Many schools now ask families to assist in stocking classrooms with necessary supplies like crayons, glue, tissues and hand sanitizer. Michaels craft stores offer a 15% discount, with valid military ID, off the entire purchase. This discount can be used on sale items as well. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft stores also offer a 15% discount with proof of military service. The discount applies to in-store purchases only.
Today’s students use technology every day to complete assignments. Looking for a deal on a new tablet, laptop or other electronic accessories? Dell offers an additional 10% discount on many of their products. The company offers dedicated support and customer assistance to military families. Apple has an online discounted store specifically for active duty military and veteran families. They offer up to 10% off a wide range of Apple products
Most cell phone providers, like Verizon and T-Mobile, offer military discounts, so if you’re in the market for new cell phone plans to keep in touch with your active student, contact your provider to ask what they offer for military families. (Some offer military discounts on devices and accessories as well.)
Sometimes students need a little extra assistance to be successful in their classes. Students in U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard, Reserves, Wounded Warriors and deployed DoD civilian families are eligible for free access to the Department of Defense online tutoring program with Tutor.com. Expert tutors are online 24/7 and available to help in more than 50 subjects. For more information and to sign up, visit the Tutor.com site.
To celebrate and honor military families, eKnowledge donates the SAT/ACT PowerPrep program’s full retail cost of $350 to $999 to students and families. The participant pays a nominal student-fee between $19.99 and $39.99 to offset some of the streaming and support expenses.
These are just a few of the many discounts available to military and veteran families. Be sure to have your military ID with you when you are out shopping for back to school essentials and never hesitate to ask if there are any available discounts if they aren’t publicly available. Wishing all students a great school year no matter how or where they are headed to school.