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Buying back-to-school supplies is probably on the minds of millions of American families — and with today’s high inflation, parents might pay more attention to what’s printed on price tags.
“When August rolls around, families with school-aged children may not be prepared for the cost of the clothing, supplies, uniforms and equipment they need to purchase,” said Laura Adams, personal finance expert at finder.com.
“The trick to saving money on back-to-school shopping is to create a budget and anticipate that you’ll likely need to buy more than you planned.”
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Here are 10 tips from savings experts on how to land back-to-school 2022 deals.
Be sure to share these tips with any student or parent with students.
1. Download cashback apps
“Things like Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Rakuten are all apps worthy of your phone’s precious real estate,” said consumer analyst Julie Ramhold of dealnews.com, a shopping comparison website.
These apps can be used both in-store and online to earn cash back on select purchases, she said.
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“You can earn money on everything from groceries for back-to-school lunches to gas to going to different stores for the best prices and of course the supplies themselves, whether it’s be it a new wardrobe or a backpack or just some new supplies to start the school year,” she added.
Individually, that may not seem like much — but together, those savings will add up, she said.
2. Download traditional store apps too
In addition to specialty apps like the ones mentioned above, many retailers offer apps with exclusive savings.
“So many stores are offering extra discounts/coupons just by having their app – so download it,” said Kassandra Vargas, a senior college and lifestyle blogger with 44,000 TikTok followers and counting with whom she shares “Deals of the Day “, told Fox News Digital.
“For example, Bed Bath & Beyond offers a college pass where you can save 20% off your entire purchase every time you make a purchase and use that pass on your app. save on college essentials this year.” she says.
3. Sign up for promotional mailing lists
Vargas notes that she’s glued to her emails trying to find the best sellers.
“I suggest creating a separate email address if you don’t like having your personal email spammed with these emails,” she said.
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“These emails are definitely worth getting because you get access to early offers and even personalized discount codes,” Vargas added.
4. Buy used
“Consignment stores, thrift stores and second-hand sites (like ThredUp and Poshmark) are a great way to get like-new items for a fraction of the price,” said Trae Bodge, smart shopping expert at truetrae. com.
“It works really well for young children, especially because they don’t tend to be as particular as teenagers.”
“Along that line, consider buying musical instruments and sports equipment (as long as they’re safe) second-hand,” Bodge suggested. “You can also sell lightly used items and earn money! »
5. Review what you already have
It may take a while, but your credit card statement can thank you.
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“Browse through last year’s school supplies and see what’s salvageable and have your kids try on all of their school clothes,” Bodge said.
“Then, based on what you have versus what you need, create a list. This will help you avoid buying things you don’t need.”
You may even find that you have more of a certain item (e.g., notebooks or highlighters) than you initially thought – and be able to donate extra to a local school supply drive.
6. Use Coupon Sites
Apps aren’t the only way to keep the green in your wallet.
“Sites like couponcabin.com will have plenty of back-to-school deals, many of which can be combined with sales from existing retailers,” Bodge said.
“For example, if you buy something from forever21.com, you can get 8.25% cashback on top of any sale made by Forever21. You can get 4% cashback at Bloomingdale’s, etc.,” Bodge added.
CouponCabin.com also has “a browser extension that, when installed, will automatically alert you to these sales and run coupons for you upon checkout on a retailer’s site.”
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Another option is the free capitaloneshopping.com browser extension, which automatically applies discount codes when you search the internet.
You can use coupon sites to set transaction alerts “on specific items you might need, like a scientific calculator or a laptop,” Bodge said.
Try slickdeals.net for this feature – “and once you enter the item name [you seek]you’ll get an alert when it goes on sale,” according to Bodge.
7. Take advantage of college programs
If you’re a student like Vargas, she suggests enrolling in programs that offer college discounts.
“There are so many sites like Prime Student, Unidays, Student Beams, Student Universe and many more that offer student discounts,” she said.
“With Prime Student, I’ve even rented textbooks for the semester for as little as $10,” Vargas added.
8. Shop during tax holidays
“Sales tax holidays, which vary by state, are another great way to cut the cost of many back-to-school expenses,” Adams said.
“So find out when your state is skipping sales tax and put it on your calendar.”
You can even schedule a reminder email for yourself so you don’t forget to grab your reusable shopping bags and hit the aisles at the store near you.
9. Arrange a back-to-school swap
“A fun way to save money is to invite other families on a back-to-school swap,” Adams suggested.
“Everyone brings in items, such as oversized clothes, backpacks, and unused supplies that they no longer need, but might be exactly what someone else is looking for,” he said. she declared.
A similar collaborative idea is to share costs with others.
Sharing larger orders with another family or group is a great way to save on back-to-school supplies, Adams said.
“Bulk orders of paper, pencils, notebooks and other necessary supplies make each item cost you less,” she said.
10. Shop while Back to School
For some shopping needs, you may be able to postpone purchases until the semester is in full swing.
“When you’re in college, you realize that certain supplies aren’t always in dire need. So just wait,” Vargas advised.
“Around the second week of September, you see all school supplies go from regular price to up to 75% off [their] suggested retail.”
“It may seem like you have to put everything on your back-to-school supply list, but the truth is there are some items you can wait until later to buy and potentially save more,” echoed Ramhold, who cited backpacks and lunch boxes as two examples of products you’re unlikely to see big discounts on during early back-to-school sales.
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“However, if you wait until after Labor Day, retailers will try to eliminate leftover back-to-school items, so then you may see much deeper discounts on those types of products,” he said. she stated.
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Ramhold said to try to wait a few weeks into the school year for items you might not need right away.
Until then, “discounts are up because demand is down.”