Money-Saving Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

This post originally appeared on Forbes last year as my son was about to start Kindergarten. Now that we’re ready to head back to school for 1st Grade, I thought it would be a good time to share these timely tips!

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My son starts kindergarten next month, and last week I received his classroom supply list. Whew! It’s quite the list. I’m not sure I even carried a backpack in kindergarten, let alone showed up for the first day of class armed with three packages of glue sticks, two boxes of pencils, two three-ring binders, dry erase markers, plastic storage bags, headphones, sheet protectors, and two-pocket folders in red, green, yellow, and blue, among other things.

As luck would have it, I received an email from Jon Lal, father of two and founder and CEO of BeFrugal, a cash-back and coupon site geared towards online shoppers. Lal was kind enough to share the following tips and tricks for saving money and time while shopping online for back to school supplies, laptops and fall clothing.

Make a list and stick to a budget

No matter what sales or shopping holidays pop up, it’s always a good idea to start with a budget and a shopping list. Don’t forget to check last year’s inventory and compare what you need versus what you already have before you hit the stores or websites. Items like backpacks and binders might be in good enough shape to use again.

This year’s Amazon Prime Day was July 16th. Last year, Cardlytics, a firm that tracks purchasing data, reported that parents were using Prime Day as an opportunity to get a jump on back to school shopping. As a result, many stores have started online sales earlier in order to remain competitive.

Online Shopping

Now is the time to take advantage of online sales and start checking items off your list. Lal says the best back-to-school items to buy early are those that you need specific models or brand names, such as scientific calculators or other technology. Don’t risk stores running out before you can buy.

There are a lot of perks to shopping for school supplies online. It’s easier to avoid temptation this way, where kids won’t drag you into stores and go after the high-priced featured items covered in characters from this year’s most popular movie.

Shopping online is also the easiest way to find the best deal. You can compare prices with only a few clicks, and search for coupon codes on your favorite savings website. Sites like BeFrugal offer cash back when you shop online – it only takes a few seconds to click through and earn back a percentage of your purchase. You can even combine these rewards with the savings you get from coupon codes and sales. Be sure to look for free shipping codes or opt to pick up your order in-store for free.

BeFrugal.com Cash Back
 

August and September

If you can wait until the end of summer, that’s when the prices of generic items such as pens, pencils, and notebooks will drop significantly. September is also the best time to find good prices on fall clothing. Wait until August and September to find the lowest prices on laptop computers, as well.

Don’t forget to check and see if and when your state has a tax-free shopping weekend for additional savings.

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