4 Smart Apps to Save Money on Back to School Shopping

This post originally appeared on Forbes.

This week past week has been a whirlwind of preparations for my son to head back to school for first grade. Between supply lists, a few new wardrobe items, a backpack and lunchbox, new shoes and gear for his first season of soccer, we’ve been spending quite a bit.

save money back to school shopping
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

We were able to reuse some supplies from last year and got like-new soccer cleats at a resale shop. Beyond that, I’ve tried to maximize our savings by taking advantage of a handful of money-saving apps.

Here’s a look at some of my favorites.


Every time I shop online, I hunt for a coupon code before I hit that “Place Order” button. But scouring the internet for coupon codes can be a huge time suck. Honey handles that for you.

It’s a free browser extension that automatically aggregates and applies discount codes at checkout when shopping online. Once downloaded, the work is done.

Once you’re on a site that is supported by Honey, click on the Honey icon in your browser to see coupons that are available for that store. When you’re on a checkout page with a promo code field, Honey will pop up. You just click Apply Coupons and Honey will automatically try all known coupon codes for that shopping site. They even have some Honey-exclusive codes. If it finds a code that works, it will apply the one that saves you the most money.

Discounts and coupon codes are available for purchases at over 3,000 shopping sites. It will even stack coupon codes when possible, ensuring you get the best deal possible. According to analytics provided by Honey, during August and September of 2017, Honey users spend $2,190,851.61 at stores like Office Max, Staples, etc. and save $1,101,328.88 in that time period due to Honey.

Visit joinhoney.com and download the extension. It currently works on Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and Edge.


If you want to make saving money online hands-free, check out Dosh. Unlike other cashback apps, you don’t need to scan receipts, initiate a purchase from their website, or apply coupon codes. Just connect your credit card or debit card. When you pay with a linked card, Dosh gets you up to 8% cash back whenever you make a qualifying purchase.

Currently Dosh gets you cash back at thousands of stores, including Gap, Nike, Target, Sephora, Bed Bath & Beyond, Forever 21, TOMS Shoes, and The Container Store.  and get up to 8% cash back instantly in your Dosh wallet. Brands like

Once you have at least $25 in your Dosh account, you can transfer your cash to a bank account, PayPal or donate it to charity. Visit dosh.cash or download the app on the iPhone App Store or Google Play. Right now, you can earn $5 just for linking your first card.


Spent is another app that lets you save money on purchased without any extra steps. Simply connect a credit or debit card to the app and earn cash back with you use the linked card with select brands and retailers.

For example, browsing the app right now I see I can earn 1% back at Whole Foods, Costco, Starbucks, Walgreens and Netflix.

You can transfer your cash back to your PayPal account once you have at least $20 in rewards. Since many of the offers are in the 1% range, that may take a while. But since earning happens in the background, it’s just another easy way to save money on shopping you’d be doing anyway without any effort beyond setting up your account and linking your card.

Visit spentapp.com or download the app on the iPhone App Store or Google Play.


Is your wallet or keychain crammed with loyalty cards? I still have a few but I find I use them less and less now that almost everything is electronic.

Drop can replace most of those loyalty cards. It works by matching up purchases you make with offers you’ve selected on the Drop app. You just link a debit or credit card and select five of your favorite brands. These are usually prominent retailers. I chose Target, Starbucks, Chipotle, Walgreens and Sephora. Choose wisely, because you can’t change your favorite brands once you’ve selected them. But you’ll earn points every time you shop at those retailers with a linked card.

You can also earn points by shopping with certain retailers, linking a second account, inviting your friends to sign up for Drop, and checking out the brand on social media. Once you’ve earned at least 5,000 points, you can exchange those points for gift cards. Five thousand points is worth a $5 gift card.

Visit earnwithdrop.com or download the app on the iPhone App Store or Google Play. Enter code 5dc69 to get an extra 1,000 Drop points upon signup.

Keep in mind, you can often stack rewards from these apps with other coupons or cash back apps like Ebates or BeFrugal. It might take a little research to find the combination of apps and offers that maximize your savings, but even if you just connect your cards in Drop, Spent and Dosh and download the Honey extension, you should be able to earn some decent money back on the back-to-school shopping you’re doing anyway.

save money back to school shopping
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

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