You’ve just received an impossibly long list of supplies from school and your kids are begging for new clothes. Back to school shopping is a necessary evil, but that doesn’t mean it has to cost a fortune. Here’s my advice on how to save money on everything your kids need for school, and to stock up for your home office, too.
How to save money on back to school shopping
1. Make a shopping list
Before running to the mall or hopping on your laptop, make a list. It may sound silly, but making a list can help keep you on track. There are a lot of sales out there right now, which can cause a loss of focus and a tendency to over spend. Go through last year’s backpacks and have your kids try on all their clothes to see what still fits. You may discover that you need less than you anticipated.
2. Sell kids’ old clothes
If the clothes your kids have outgrown are in good shape, sell them on an online consignment platform, like ThredUp, to earn some extra money to put towards new things. You can also buy gently-used clothing on ThredUp at prices far lower than buying new.
3. Tax-free weekends
Many states, including Florida, Missouri and New Mexico, have tax-free weekends coming up, just in time for the back to school shopping season. There are restrictions on what you can save on as well as spending limits, so do an internet search for your state to get the scoop. If you live in a high-tax state, like Tennessee or Alabama, you could save a bundle shopping tax-free!
4. Save at the grocery store
Rather than rifling through newspaper circulars for grocery store savings, the Checkout51 app will send you a list of items every Thursday that you can save money on. After your trip to the grocery store, you take a photo of your receipt with the app to claim your savings. Once you earn $20, you can cash out!
5. Buy in bulk
Sometimes it makes sense to buy in quantity. For snacks and other lunchtime essentials, buy in bulk at an online wholesale club, like Boxed.com. Buying in bulk ensures that you have what you need on hand and fewer trips the grocery store! There is no membership fee to shop with Boxed and you get free shipping on orders $49+. They have great school supply kits, too!
6. Compare prices as you shop
For online shoppers, the Wikibuy browser extension is incredibly useful. It automatically compares prices on Amazon vs. other etailers, it sources and tests coupons for you with the click of one button and keeps you posted when prices drop on items you’ve been searching for. It’s a very busy virtual assistant!
7. Affordable glasses
According to the CDC, more than 30% of boys and girls ages 6-17 need corrective eyewear. If you’re like me and have walked out of the optometrist paying upwards of $200 for glasses, you know this is not sustainable for your kids – especially if they are prone to losing or breaking things. Thankfully, there are affordable online platforms, like DiscountGlasses.com, where there are lots of stylish options starting as low as $6.95, which is more like it!
8. No sale? No problem
No sale? Never fear! Use a site like Gift Card Granny to look for discounted gift cards. By shopping with a discounted gift card for Target, Walmart, or wherever else you plan to shop, you’ll automatically save between 2-30%, sale or no sale. If you’re a student or teacher, check out their list of retailers who offer discounts if you show your school i.d!
9. Save for college
The Swoup app partners with retailers like Walgreens to help you save on all your back to school needs. The money you save with Swoup is automatically applied to an existing student loan or college fund, and you can even get family members in on the game by funneling their Swoup savings into your child’s fund! And anyone who downloads Swoup, links their bank account and existing student loan(s) and/or 529 plan, will be entered for a chance to have Swoup contribute $500 to one of their education-based goals. Visit Swoup.com for more details.
10. And if you don’t have school-aged kids…
The back to school shopping season isn’t only for kids. Think about this season in terms of home office essentials and summer clearance sales on clothing. And especially for those higher-priced items, like laptops or phones, set deal alerts on Slickdeals. When the items go on sale, you’ll receive a notification so you can pounce on that low price! Slickdeals also has a dedicated Back to School page with amazing Back to School deals all in one place.
Here’s my video on YouTube about Back to School Shopping!
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