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Tips to Save on Back-to-School Shopping
• Do a Closet and Supply Sweep
Believe it or not, you might already have plenty of school supplies lying around your house. Closets, desk drawers,
and basement bins might hold hidden treasures that can save you money. Start by rounding up all of the office and
school supplies you already own. In addition, go through your kids’ closets and start sorting. Clothing that the kids
have outgrown, and worn clothing, should be donated or tossed. Once you complete this “supply sweep,” you’ll
have a clearer picture of what you actually need to buy. Ideally, the sweep will prevent you from buying something
you already have on-hand.
• Focus on Big-Ticket Items
There are so many ways to save these days: coupons, incentive programs, rebates, weekly specials, online-only
deals. To cut through the clutter, Chrissy Pate, co-author of Be CentsAble: How to Cut Your Household Budget in
Half, recommends focusing on finding the best prices for the most expensive items on your list. “Don’t worry so
much about what the prices of the crayons or the pencils are because you’re going to find pretty good deals
everywhere on those,” she says. “You’ll save the most money on those big items, as well as time and gas money.”
• Follow Your Favorite Stores
Back-to-school clothing sales start appearing in mid-July through the end of August, and the options can be
dizzying. “They’re putting lots of coupons out there,” says Pate. She suggests keeping track of your favorite
retailers’ deals by following them on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. “Then use those coupons in
conjunction with sales to really get the biggest bang for your buck.”
• Hit Up the Dollar Store
You can get some incredible bargains on school supplies at the dollar store. Really! Start shopping in the summer
months. You never know what stores will order, or how long items will stay in stock. You can buy basic supplies, like
notebooks and pencils, for a great price at the dollar store.
• Get Your Kids Involved
Back-to-school season is a great time to teach budgeting basics to your children. Give your children a clothing
budget and a list of necessities, and let them help make decisions on the rest of the wardrobe. This also works with
extra-curricular activities. “Does it cost $50 to join the Spanish club? Varsity volleyball uniforms and fees are $150?
If so, then they need to know that their activity of choice is not only a time commitment, but a financial commitment
• Save on College Supplies
If you have a child heading to college, then you will experience some serious sticker shock. From picking up
supplies for their dorm room, to investing in college textbooks, sending a kid to college isn’t for the faint of heart.
There are many ways to save money on back to school shopping for your college student.
Buy used textbooks on sites like Amazon, eBay, Chegg.com, bookrenter.com, and Half.com. You can also compare
prices on new books on CheapestTextbooks.com, or buy books on bargain sites like Textbookx.com. Additionally,
you can save 50% or more on textbooks if you buy a digital copy and download it to your Kindle, or other e-reader.
View textbooks available for digital download at CourseSmart.com or Cafescribe.com. And at the end of the se-
mester, nd websites where you can sell used textbooks for cash.
Shop for dorm room essentials like rugs, sheets, and light cooking equipment at garage sales and thrift stores. You
can save a lot of money by buying used items.
You can also ask friends and family members if they have any items
they do not use; your social and family networks will be glad to help! You can get gently used items for free, while
givers declutter their homes. Everyone wins!
Source: Real Simple, Money Crashers