Back to School Shopping: 11 Tips for Saving Money on Uniforms, Backpacks and Supplies!

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Back to school shopping is upon us and we should see lots of deals over the next couple of weeks. Here are 11 tips to help you save money on everything from school uniforms and backpacks to books for your college kids!

Re-Use Last Year’s Supplies and Wait for Clearance:
If you can start the year using some of last year’s supplies to get you started. If you have last year’s backpack or lunch box and you can’t swing getting a new one right now, just wait and use what you have. I remember last year, backpacks and lunch boxes were on clearance at Target and Walmart within 2-3 weeks of school starting for 75% off. You can almost always grab one in a couple of weeks for less than $5!!

Shop at More Than One Store:
I know many of you don’t want to make tons of stops so always carry your school supply list with you and then try to tie your school supplies stops in with other errands. Going to the grocery store, oil change, drop the kids at baseball? Check to see if there is a sale at any of the stores close by so you can pop in and grab a couple things!

Register Rewards and ECBs Back to School Deals:
This is a great way to accumulate some free and cheap back to school items. You pay the sale price out of pocket, but then you get the rewards back to use like cash on something else in the store.

Mail in Rebates:
Mail in rebates are a great way to score freebies and cheap deals on school supplies. Make sure you check whether you are getting your cash back, a prepaid gift card or in store rewards. If the deal sounds good to you, this is a great way to keep back to school supply costs down.

Use Store Coupons (Printable and Mailers):
Always check the Coupon Divas Retail Printable Coupons List before heading out to buy school clothes, shoes and supplies! We offer a round up of all the best printable retail coupons, including coupons for office supply stores! Also watch your mailbox and newspaper for money saving coupons to use at the stores – many times these can be stacked with the in stores sales and discounts for additional savings!

Competitor Coupons:
Office supply stores like Office Depot, Office Max and Staples have all had $$Money off your purchase coupons in recent weeks. Did you know that most of these stores will take each others coupons? When I shop at Staples for instance, many times I will take a coupon from Office Depot or Office Max with me to use. I would recommend calling your store to find out if they take the competitor coupons and also who they consider a competitor.

Price Matching:
Check your stores to see if they offer price matching because this could cut down on the number of stops you have to make. Price matching generally has to be the same exact item but this comes in handy on big ticket items and even some smaller items like calculators – you can save time and money with this tip.

Price Guarantee and Price Adjustments:
Many stores offer a Price Guarantee and it is usually around 14 days. If you find a lower price after purchasing, you can bring in your receipt and the store ad for that week and get an adjustment. If your store offers the price matching you could also get the adjustment if the lower price is found at another store!

Backpacks:

  • Watch for sales that offer 50-100% back in rewards. Stores like Staples, Office Max and Office Depot have been running specials on backpacks where you get back 50% – 100% of the selling price in the form of rewards. Just be sure that you plan to purchase something else in the store because these are typically given back as store rewards to be used on more merchandise from the stores. These are attached to your shopper cards and you don’t get them immediately, usually within a few weeks to quarterly depending on the program terms.
  • Don’t forget places checking eBay and Thrift stores if you don’t want to buy brand new.
  • Online Shopping has also had some great deals and when you can tie in free shipping this really works out to be a score! Be sure to check out our NEW Back to School Online Deals Section! We update it daily with all the hottest online deals.

Uniforms:

  • Wait for sales and use coupons if the store allows for it. Don’t feel like you have to buy everything at the same time – buy little by little as the sales pop up.
  • Thrift stores and consignment shops usually collect up the uniforms throughout the year and then save them for back to school shopping so the have a plentiful assortment.
  • eBay – you can sometimes buy clothes in “lots” and get several items you need for lower out of pocket cost and save on shipping (and your time).
  • Check to see if your school has any sort of trade in event or hand me down type program where you can trade in old pieces for items that have been donated to the school by students frthat don’t need them anymore.
  • Get them on clearance – buy enough to get you started and then be on the lookout for the clearance once school has started
  • Online Deals have also offered great deals and promotions along with free shipping this really works out to be a score! Be sure to check out our NEW Back to School Online Deals Section! We update it daily with all the hottest online deals.

Books:
If your kids are in college and you need books, be sure to check online because you can purchase books at deep discounts and in many cases even get free shipping. Stores like Barnes and Noble, Bookbyte and College Book Renter are a couple of the sites I have seen. you can also check out our Back to School section for great deals online.

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