It’s hard to believe we are already approaching the end of July and the kids will be heading back to the classroom in a matter of a couple short weeks. Did you know that the back-to-school shopping season is the 2nd biggest shopping season of the year behind Christmas? As schools continue to make cutbacks, the buying list for many parents is getting longer and more expensive. The cost of clothing, shoes, backpacks, laptops, paper, binders, and pens can quickly add up. With that in mind, here are 5 ways to get the most bang for your back on your back-to-school shopping this year.
August Tax-Free Weekend
Did you know that many states offer a tax free shopping weekend in early August to help with your back-to-school expenses? The list of participating states is up to 26 and growing every year. Check to see if the state you live in is participating and try to save some money by doing your shopping on that specific weekend.
Gotta Check out Wal-Mart
The name “Wal-Mart” can create a lot of discord among many Americans. Most tend to either love or hate the retail giant. Love it because of the amazing bargains that can be found, hate it because it has the reputation of running local “Ma and Pop” stores out-of-business once they come into an area. But when it comes to back-to-school shopping bargains Wal-Mart is hard to beat. I was walking through our local Wal-Mart yesterday and the aisle after aisle filled with back-to-school supplies blew me away. And the stuff was dirt cheap. A couple deals that caught my eye were a 12-pack of #2 pencils for under $2 and binders priced at 99 cents. They also tend to have deals on name brands like Mead, Crayola, and Bic.
Swap with Friends
If you are like my wife and I, you have some close friends who have school age children around the same age as your kids. They are a great resource for not only gently used school clothing but also supplies they may not have a need for anymore. My best advice is to set up a swap and trade clothing and school supplies so that it becomes a win-win situation for everyone. Before we started doing this we would just donate our stuff to the Salivation Army but now we are able to trade it with friends and in return we get clothing, backpacks, and supplies like binders, notebooks, and even gently used school shoes.
Buy “Open-Box Specials” if Possible
If you have a kid that is high school or college age, you may very well be shopping for a new laptop computer in the next couple weeks. Your best bet to score a deal is to look for “open box specials” at stores like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Target. An open box product is basically a laptop that had been opened for either display purposes or simply been returned by the customer after it was opened. Typically, these open box specials are priced at up to 35% off the original retail price and come with the same warranty as a brand new product. When you go shopping be sure to ask a sales associate about them as many stores have them in the back warehouse and not prominently on display.
Always Look for a Coupon
Retailers selling back-to-school supplies and clothing are pretty liberal with the coupons they hand out this time of year. Be sure to always spend the couple minutes required to look for a coupon to either use in-store or when shopping online. There is nothing worse than paying full price only to stumble upon a coupon later on that could have saved you some cold hard cash.
About Kyle James: Kyle is the founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com, a website dedicated to finding, sorting, and organizing coupons to over 850 popular stores.