Simplify Savings During Back-To-School Season

It’s prime time for back-to-school shoppers! That means you’re strategically planning your family’s mastery of this time of retail chaos – choosing which stores to shop on which days, making sure you have clearly outlined goals before entering each, and craftily selecting which children you bring along for the ride (only the essentials, please!).
The good news is: you’re not alone – we’ve collected the BEST Tips for back-to-school world domination shopping to get you and your kids through what can be an apocalypse-like experience with bins of school supplies toppled on the floors (hello, Wal-Mart), whiny children and long (so long!) checkout lines. Not this year! Use our tips and make back-to-school shopping a breeze!


1. Know your tax-free weekend!

Many states observe “tax-free” days right before a new school season on clothing and school supplies. Know your state’s days and be sure to hit the stores on those days!

Speaking of deals on back-to-school clothes, here's a RARE SAVINGS ALERT:  Now through 8/21/2016 use this BOGO coupon at Famous Footwear -- PLUS, receive an additional 15% off your entire purchase. The coupon is valid both in-store and online and can be used only once. 

2. Focus on the loss leaders.

For savvy savers, this is a no brainer. Every year, stores promote a few essential items (like pens/pencils, paper etc.) with prices so low that they actually lose money on the sale of those products. Watch for these price reductions every week and only buy items when they are listed at the lowest price. If you’re not already shopping the loss leaders – jump in! You should plan to shop around 6 times during the season to exploit the best of the loss leaders.
Note: There’s often a quantity limit to each loss leader item. Pay attention to the fine print.

3. Beat the Crowd! Shop on Sunday and Monday

Lots of weekly sales start on Sunday mornings and the loss leaders items will be the first to run out.
TIP: Don’t just look in the back-to-school aisle of the store – if an item seems to be out of stock, check the office supply aisle too as school supplies in that section are often overlooked.


4. Apps, Apps and More Apps!

There are tons of money-saving apps that will help you maximize your savings with cash back and other rewards. Our favorites right now are:

Tip: Use multiple apps and get cash back more than once from the same purchase!

5. Buy a backpack that has a lifetime warranty.

If you prefer lasting quality in a backpack, instead of saving buy getting a cheap backpack, buy one that has a lifetime warranty. Under Armor, Jansport, Land’s End and L.L. Bean all offer lifetime warranties on their backpacks. Consider it an investment.

6. Get gift cards for up to 35% off face value on

Before leaving the house, do a quick search on and purchase a digital gift card for your back-to-school store of the day for up to 35% off its actual value.

7. Bulk up and share costs.

Find 2-3 other families who are trying to stock-up on the same school supplies and buy items in bulk for lower costs. Plus, save any leftovers for next year’s stockpile!

The BEST places to shop in bulk:
Costco (link), Sam’s Club (link), BJ’s: Get the attention of the store manager at these stores to negotiate even deeper discounts when you buy in larger quantities.

+++ Don’t Miss Out! Sam’s Club’s August Savings Celebration event is taking place online and in-store on Saturday, August 6. Members will get insider access to some of the best back-to-school products while supplies last. Free shipping on any order over $50 and less than $2 for shipping on orders under $50. Plus, you can join their loyalty club for additional perks.

8. Be a list-maker.

Stay organized – especially when shopping for clothes! Create an inventory list of all the clothing items your child needs or already has and check off the amount of each item you’ll need to purchase to complete their wardrobe.

9. Stack coupons when shopping online.

Some stores allow you to stack coupon codes when purchasing online. For instance, NewEgg allows you to add an unlimited number of coupon codes to an online order. (You can just use one coupon code per item in the shopping cart).
Here’s a list of stores where you can maximize your savings (and save time and effort) by shopping online, instead of in-store:
Old Navy
Banana Republic

10. Speaking of Shopping Online – Try Ebates for more cash back

Most of you have already heard of Ebates – it’s a renowned method for extra savings in the online shopping world. But are you using their browser extension? It makes the Ebates magic even easier by allowing you to automatically apply coupons, promo codes and activate cash back while you’re browsing the web.
Like extensions? Another useful one is Piggy – Tries all available coupon codes and picks the best one for you.

11. Price match and use competitor coupons

Major brands are always looking for ways to undercut their competitors. That’s why many of them will price match and/or accept competitor coupons.
School Supplies Stores that Price Match:

Office Depot and Wal-Mart accept competitor coupons with stipulations. Read their coupon policies for rules.

12.Sell before you buy.

It seems like some kids outgrow their entire wardrobe in mere months – which isn’t nearly enough time to wear down the quality of nice clothes. Sell quality hand-me-downs on sites like ThredUP and Little Sprouts. Then, pocket the cash and use it on sale items for this year’s school needs.

13. Say “no” to brand loyalty.

Save up to 75% just by switching to store brands. Especially for the basic items where quality doesn’t vary much among brands, this is an easy switch to make.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Thanks for reading!

- Content Team