Did you know the average amount parents will spend on back-to-school shopping this season is about $700 per child? With supply lists, new clothes, backpacks, laptops and new shoes, back-to-school expenses can add up fast.
You don’t need to spend yourself into debt just because everyone else seems to be doing it. Instead, take a proactive approach when shopping for the new school year. Here are some back-to-school shopping hacks to help you spend much less than the national average.
Shop on Sunday and Monday
Weekly sales on school supplies go live at the beginning of the week—and the hottest items will be grabbed up first. Shop early in the week to score the best deals.
Shop the dollar store
Before hitting the big-box stores and their big-box prices, scour your local dollar store for school supplies that will only cost a buck.
Utilize in-store price matching
Many stores, like Staples, Kohl’s and JCPenney, offer in-store price matching or will even beat a competitor’s lower price. Make sure to ask about price matching before you pay.
Go crazy for coupons
Follow stores on Twitter and Facebook
Follow your favorite stores on Facebook and Twitter for notices about sale events, plus coupon links to help you save more.
Get backpacks at discount sites
If your child is set on having a character backpack, check out Hollar.com for a great selection at crazy-low prices. Does your little one have designer taste? Try eBags.com or 6PM.com for brand-name bags at a fraction of the regular price.
Use discounted gift cards
Don’t start your shopping until you check out sites like GiftCardGranny.com for discounted gift cards to your favorite stores.
When shopping for big-ticket items, like laptops, don’t buy until you’ve done a thorough comparison-shop. You can use an app or a website like ShopSavvy or Price.com to help you compare prices with just a quick barcode scan.
Coordinate with friends
If you’ve got a bunch of friends who are also scanning through an endless list of school supplies, see if you can work together. Divide and conquer by letting each friend shop a different store to pick up the best deals. You can also swap supplies you already have at home.
Time your shopping
For the best budget mileage, learn the markdown cycle of your favorite stores. For example, Target offers discounts on children’s clothing every Monday, TJ Maxx posts new markdowns on Wednesdays and you’ll want to hit Kohl’s between 3 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday to take advantage of their “Power Hour” super-deals.
These back-to-school shopping hacks will get you on the right track for the school year. If you still need a little help with back-to-school expenses, why not skip a payment? For a small fee, you can skip one auto loan payment and use the extra cash to stock up on school supplies. Visit our website for full details.