14 Ways to Find the Best Back-to-School Deals This Year

It’s never too late to start thinking about the back-to-school season, even if school has just ended.

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Families spend a lot of money every year to get their kids ready for back-to-school. For example, families with school-age children expect $848.90 on average For back-to-school supplies and gear. According to the National Retail Federation, spending at the national level totals $37.1 billion, an all-time high reported in the annual survey.

Families can save some of that expense by planning on going back to school and following some basic steps along the way. You can get organized using your favorite online calendar to help you plan your attack and keep an eye on the budget For your back-to-school shopping.

Here are some of the top ways to save while preparing to send your kids back to school with everything they need.

1. Get Started With Weekly Shopping

It’s time to get organized and plan your school-to-school shopping. Prices change frequently, so you want to be on top of what sales are possible for the items your child might need in their bag. Make a list of items you know will be needed for the school, focus on the stores with the best selections and prices, collect their sales notices and listings, and schedule your visits around those stores’ sales.

It’s a good idea to enter each store’s sale periods in your calendar to keep track of those discount periods. Then, for hard-to-find items, consider looking for price drops with nice discounts at a specialty store and buying them even when they’re not on sale to beat the school-to-school rush.

2. You Can Delay the Basics

The price of some school items such as paper, pens and notebooks may drop as you near the start of school. However, there are other ways to save on these items, so don’t rush to buy the basics. Instead, focus on more specific types of supplies, such as a specialty calendar or science gear.

3. Scrape Everything for Coupons

You probably have access to more coupons than you know. They come through direct mail sent to your mailbox, email spam that includes coupons for specific stores, and even circulars that get put in newspapers. Be diligent about scouring everywhere and everywhere for coupons.

For example, you can also search online for coupons and discounts for specific items. For example, Amazon often offers coupons on school and office supplies, so be sure to check out those bargains. Also, make sure Keep track of coupon expiration dates On your favorite online calendars to make sure you don’t let them go.

4. Track Good Deals for Price Matching

Keep track of deals at office supply stores or retailers as you compare prices and collect coupons. Then, you can use those deals to negotiate discounts at other retailers that match the prices. This is handy, mainly when supplies are limited or sold at stores offering an initial deal.

5. Sell What You Need Before You Buy

Be sure to go through old office supplies, tools, and accessories to sell anything you no longer need for school. In the meantime, check anything around the house that you may be selling that is no longer being used. This will give you a good start on the cash you need for back-to-school shopping.

6. Save When You Buy In Bulk

If you, a friend, or relative has access to a wholesale shopping center, consider buying the item to save money. You can join forces with relatives, friends, neighbors and other parents at school. Buy pens, pencils, paper, tissues, crayons, brown paper bags, cleaners and anything else your kids need in bulk. Split the cost with your group and divide the supplies equally.

7. Shop Without Your Kids

An easy way to save money on back-to-school shopping is to leave your kids at home. When you bring your kids to the store, they may pick up more expensive items or ignore your effort to save money. If your kids insist, leave a few things they need to buy at a store you’re already looking for for good prices. Let them choose the folder or notebook, or you can say that they can choose their backpack within the budget you give

8. Buy Used When Possible

If your kids need to buy textbooks for their classes or some books needed for other purposes, buy used books whenever possible. This is especially true for higher education classes, where you can quickly pay hundreds of dollars for a textbook. Check out online sales forums on Facebook, eBay and other programs that allow sellers to post items. You can find lots of great deals here not only on textbooks but also on other supplies and equipment.

9. Find e-textbook licenses and other textbook deals

If you have trouble finding old books, consider buying new textbooks. For example, see if you can purchase a less expensive e-textbook license for your book. You might also consider comparing prices for textbooks at some retailers and checking coupons before buying. TUN’s Textbook Save Engine or CampusBooks has a search feature that can help you find the cheapest options for specific books.

10. Find Exclusive Student Deals

Many retailers offer student discounts for certain supplies and equipment. For example, Best Buy features college student deals, and some tech companies offer specific discount pricing, including for high school students. These special student deals can save you big bucks on the technology and equipment you need.

11. Budget for Backpacks

One of the most expensive purchases for school is usually the new backpack your student thinks they should buy. You can save a good amount of money by avoiding expensive brand-name backpacks and backpacks themed after a movie or cartoon character. You may find that you can strike a deal with your high school student, for example, by paying a little more for a quality backpack from Timberland or Rockland. The value, however, is that they have to agree to use it throughout high school. Otherwise, a sturdy, heavy backpack without an attractive brand name will save you money.

12. Time Your Electronics Shopping

Plan those purchases if you know that expensive electronics purchases will be on your back-to-school list., There are two things to consider when planning for those expenses. First, consumer experts note that spring and fall are the best times to buy computers and other electronics. Second, many states waive sales tax on back-to-school items.

Find out where and when your state tax holiday is and add it to your calendar. Then line up specials at electronics retailers to see if you can make your purchases at a time when they overlap with your sales tax holiday. Add them both to your calendar to stay on top of deals.

13. Look for Clothing Deals

Buying new wardrobes for your kids to return to school can be expensive. So start bargaining for clothes early. If you have a large network of parents with older children, you can host a clothing swap to see if certain items are for your kids and their kids. You can also check with second-hand stores to find clothes that your child likes.

14. Avail Credit Card Offers

You may have credit cards that offer discounts and rewards to help you save money on school-to-school purchases. Make sure you take advantage of discounts on items you know you’ll need to buy anyway. Depending on the credit card promotion, you can earn between 2% to 5% back on every purchase. Remember that even small amounts can add up!

Featured Image Credits: Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnil; pixels; Thank You!

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