The school year always seems to creep up on all of us, and making sure your kids have all the right tools can get stressful and expensive. Here is a list of places and ways you can get free school supplies for your kids this year, from free backpacks to calculators.
But first, make sure to check out our back-to-school deals page to find some great ways to save on school supplies this year.
Get free school supplies through Ibotta rebates.
Rebate app Ibotta is offering 100% cash back on a number of back-to-school items, including Five Star 3-Subject Notebooks, Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils, and Paper Mate pink erasers. All you have to do is download the app and link your Walmart, Target, or H-E-B account. Then add the rebates before you start shopping (we’ve got even more info about the Ibotta Back-to-School offer).
Get a free personalized pencil pouch in August from JCPenney.
Every second Saturday of the month, JCPenney Kids Zone has free arts and crafts activities for kids (plus a 10% off coupon for parents).
On Aug. 14 from 11 a.m. to noon, visit your local JCPenney to receive a customizable pencil pouch, markers, and an eraser.
Get back-to-school backpacks full of free supplies at Verizon Wireless Zone.
Bring your kids into Verizon retailer Wireless Zone between 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 1. Select locations are giving out free backpacks filled with school supplies. It’s “first come, first served,” so show up early before they run out.
Check out the list of participating locations in Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.
Local charities are giving away free back-to-school supplies.
Check these charities and see if they are hosting any back-to-school giveaways (with everything from free clothes to shoes, school bookbags or backpacks, pens, dresses, slacks, and other stuff):
- Salvation Army
- United Way
- Love INC
- Boys & Girls Club (there is a one-time yearly fee that varies depending on location. I’ve found it goes as low as $5 and as high as $50).
The Salvation Army also holds another seasonal assistance program, Coats for Kids. Each winter participating locations provide free jackets, boots, and other winter clothing to both kids and senior citizens in need.
Get free pens and more just by giving companies your name and address.
If you’re looking for some free pens, bulk office supply stores like 4Imprint.com, Intur Travel, and AnyPromo.com give them away for free. All you have to do is select a style of pen, fill out your information, and they will ship it to your house for free.
TIP: 4Imprint.com also gives away free journals and notebooks as samples. Just go to the notebook you want to click on the “Request a Free Sample” button. Be aware that there is a maximum three samples per person on the site.
Win a free calculator and more math supplies from Rent-a-Calc.
Rent-A-Calc is offering a free school supplies contest for students on a weekly basis where they give away three graphing calculators, five backpacks, and 48 protractors every week — which means you have a good chance of winning one of almost 3,000 free items.
Rent-A-Calc also has the same contest for teachers for free rulers, pencils, erasers, and supplies to help students in the classroom.
On FreeCycle, one person’s junk is another’s free back-to-school supplies.
FreeCycle is basically a place for people to give things away, and that includes school supplies. I’ve found people giving away crayons, pens, binders, and highlighters.
Making an account is free, and it never hurts to see what people will be willing to give. Plus, it makes getting rid of some junk lying around the house easy!
Get free SAT prep guides (and other textbooks) for Amazon Kindle.
Amazon has an amazing program that allows students to download free textbooks through Kindle! If you don’t have a Kindle, you don’t have to worry, because you can download the Kindle app for free on your phone and computer.
Their selection is pretty limited but you can find free SAT test-prep books and multiple teachers’ guides.