Here are 10 ways to save on back to school supplies:
1) Buy Clearance – I know it’s not really feasible for this school season, but if you can buy at the end of the school supply season, when things get marked down, then you’ll have them for next year. I also know it’s hard to determine what your child will need, but you can estimate. For instance, last year I was able to snag some kids scissors and spiral notebooks to last me for years at the Target School Clearance sale. And who can’t use those items? It can be lots of fun to pull out the office/school supply stockpile and have your kids ‘shop’ for what they need.
2) Use Smart Phone Applications – Many retailers are taking advantage of the larger number of customers that have smart phones. There are plenty of applications out there that can help you save money. ShopKick is a free app where you can earn rewards just for walking into a store and you can unlock exclusive deals. You can get more rewards for scanning specific items while you are in the store. Your Kick rewards can then be redeemed for gift cards or movie tickets. GoRebate Mobile is another free app designed to find great rebate deals on the go, as well as the power to track the status of submitted rebates and receive alerts when a rebate deal is nearby. Don’t forget about my favorite app, RedLaser where you can scan an item in the store and it gives you a list of prices in nearby stores. Cartwheel is an app for Target and allows you to get extra discounts on some items.
3) Price match stores – Find out which stores will price match the advertisements of competitors. Instead of driving to 4 different stores, you can go to one and have them match the advertised price. Keep in mind most require you to have the competitor ad with you and it must be for the same item and current sale week.
4) Shop Tax Free Days – Many states have tax free back to school days or weekends. I’m happy to say that the Florida Back To school tax free shopping days are back! They will be August 1-3 in Florida, but the site has not been updated yet. Be sure to mark your specific States days down on your calendar and review the list of eligible items ahead of time. Combining store sales with coupons and tax free = nice savings. Don’t forget to shop your local thrift stores. You can find gently used and sometimes clothing with tags still attached.
5) Host a back to school swap – Get together with other parents in your neighborhood and swap gently used clothes, books and games. If you are savvy shoppers and have clearance items from last year, you can trade what you have for what you need.
6) Stick to your list – I say this in every class I teach and it applies for back to school shopping as well. Make a list and stick to it. Your list is your armor and helps you avoid buying impulse items.
7) Use the Coupon Database & Blogs– You might be surprised how many school item coupons there are this time of year. Search for glue, tape or pens in the Coupon Database and see what’s out there. And follow money saving blogs for the heads up on deals!
8 ) Spend more to save more – Invest in a good backpack or lunchbox that will last several years instead of a lower end model that may not make it through the entire school year. We all know how our kids treat their backpacks! If you shop at Land’s End for example and use Ebates to do it, you’ll also get cash back rewards.
9) Shop all year – Keep your eye out for sales and deals all year long. Backpacks usually go on sale in September. If last years can last a few more weeks, then you might be able to get away with waiting for the sale. Look for deals at Christmas and on clearance racks throughout the year on reduced items.
10) Use store reward programs – Many office supply stores offer reward cards to customers and teachers. If you can combine sales, coupons, rebates and rewards it will save you money in the long run. Keep in mind many of these same stores accept competitor coupons so take them all with you when you shop.
Here are a few recent related posts:
First Coast Living – (July 13, 2015) – Saving Money on Back To School (Video)
Here are details of a Staples and Office Max purchase. Look for deals at these stores and utilize Staples 110% price match guarantee.