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Back to school college essentials — best deals for the student budget

Acer convertible Chromebook on a library table surrounded by students
(Image credit: Acer)

Today's back to school college essentials make the hectic life of a student easier. From a speedy laptop to finish homework faster to must-have accessories, shopping for the new semester can be costly. And with inflation at a record high this year, college students and parents are feeling the squeeze. 

Luckily, you'll find tons of deals on back to school college essentials this weekend. Labor Day sales at several retailers offer epic end of summer discounts on student gear. 

In fact, we're seeing lowest prices of the season on select computers and tablets, monitors, wearables, and more. So if you've been holding out for Labor Day sales to shop for school — congratulations, you played it right. 

From now through September 5, get the best overall laptop for under $1,000 or a cheap tablet for art class. And for preparing meals when you're away at school —  nab a dorm room cooking appliance for under $20.

Hand-picked with student budgets in mind, here are our favorite deals on back to school college essentials. 

Back to school college essentials

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Dell XPS 13 (9305): $949 $699 @ Dell (opens in new tab)
Save $250 on the 11th Gen Intel-charged Dell XPS 13 laptop (9305). Dell's Labor Day Event includes clearance deals on previous-gen laptops. This model Dell XPS 13 packs a 13-inch 1080p display, 2.4-GHz Core i5-1135G7 4-core CPU, 8GB of RAM, Iris Xe graphics and 256GB solid state drive. 

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Dell 14-inch Portable Monitor C1422H: $399 $299 @ Dell (opens in new tab)
Save $100 on the Dell Portable Monitor for a second screen experience. This 14-inch 1080p 60Hz display connects to your laptop via USB abd supplies you with 2 x USB Type-C ports. At just 1.3 pounds, it easily fits into your bag or backpack. It's the perfect companion for your Dell XPS or Dell Insprion laptop. 

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Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite:$159 $119 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save $40 on the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Lite at Amazon. Light and portable, it features an 8.7-inch (1340 x 800) TFT touchscreen, 2.3-GHz MediaTek MT8768N 8-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of microSD-expandable storage. With its durable metal frame and powerful performance, it's a tablet the whole family can share. By comparison, it's $10 cheaper than Samsung's (opens in new tab)current price. 

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HP Deskjet 2742e Printer: $69 $59 @ Walmart (opens in new tab)
Now $10 off, the HP Deskjet 2742e is a no-brainer if you're looking for a compact, affordable printer. Easily print, copy, scan in color, and print wirelessly via the HP printer app. Plus, get 6 months of Instant Ink through HP Plus.

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Dell S2721HS 27-inch Monitor: $349 $199 @ Dell (opens in new tab)
Save $150 on the Dell 27-inch Monitor S2721HS. This 27-inch display has a 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution, 4ms response time, and 75Hz refresh rate. Connectivity-wise, it equips you with an HDMI port and Display Port 1.2. Its chic and modern design complements any workspace. 

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Mainstays Metal Student Computer Desk: $59 $39 @ Walmart (opens in new tab)
Save $30 on the Mainstays Garrett Metal Student Computer Desk. This stylish and functional space-saving desk is suitable for a bedroom, dorm room. It spacious desk top lets you access your computer and write comfortably. Side shelving makes it easy to organize your work space. It provides ample room for textbooks, notebooks, binders and all your gadgets.

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Realspace Jaxby Mesh Fabric Mid-Back Task Chair: $239 $89 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save $150 on the Realspace Jaxby Mesh Fabric Mid-Back Task Chair. Ideal for students, this tilt and height adjustable chair features fixed armrests, a waterfall seat cushion and a 5-star base with casters for smooth 360-degree swivel mobility. 

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Lenovo Smart Clock Essential: $69 $39 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save $30 on the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential with Alexa built-in. Not only does it display the current time, date, and temperature, it also doubles as a smart speaker and smart hub. The clock's 3W full-range speaker emits clear, crisp room filling sound. Play music, audiobooks and podcasts from Amazon Music, Spotify, and other platforms hands-free. Or manage compatible smart home devices using just your voice. You may also buy it directly from Lenovo (opens in new tab) for the same price.

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Google Pixel Buds Pro: $199 $174 @ PC Richard (opens in new tab)
Save $25 on the Google Pixel Buds Pro — the brand's best wireless earbuds yet. They feature 11mm drivers and a 6-core audio chip for stellar audio performance — free of background noise. IPX4 water-and-sweat resistant, the Pixel Buds Pro are great for workouts.

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Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger: $22 $16 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save an extra 25% on the Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 via Amazon's on-page coupon. This 10,000mAh portable power bank recharges in just 4.5 hours. It's USB-C compatible and works with iPhone, iPad, Galaxy Phone, Galaxy Tab, and more.

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Anker USB-C Power Strip: $39 $29 @ Amazon (opens in new tab)
Save $10 on the Anker USB-C Power Strip with Power Delivery. Great for home or travel, it supplies with with two Outlets and three USB Ports (2 USB-A, 1 USB-C) with Switch Control. Overload protection and a fire-retardant casing ensures safe charging. It ships with adhesive stickers for securing on a desk or wall. 

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Crock-Pot 4-Quart Slow Cooker:$29 $19 @ Walmart (opens in new tab)
At $10 less than its modest list price, the Crock-Pot 4 Quart Slow Cooker is now just under $20. This is the perfect kitchen gadget for easy, mess-free cooking on a hectic schedule. This slow cooker offers a convenient way to prepare tasty meals on a budget. It features a clear lid so you can see its contents, and high, low and warm settings. This cheaper Instant Pot alternative is great for making stews, chilis, sauces and more. 

Hilda Scott uses her combined passion for gadgets and bargain shopping to bring you the best prices on all things tech. She has a bachelor’s degree in film and media studies from Hunter College and 11 years of tech and entertainment journalism. Her work has been featured on Tom’s Guide, iTechPost, Examiner.com, Parlemag, Enstars, and Latin Times. When she's not scouting for the best deals, Hilda’s catching up on her favorite TV shows and pro-wrestling matches.