5 Hacks for Back-to-School Shopping

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School days, school days … they're getting closer, so here are five tips to get your kids (and you!) ready to go back — without breaking the bank.
School days, school days … they’re getting closer, so here are five tips to get your kids (and you!) ready to go back — without breaking the bank.

The time is near for kids to go back to school, and it’s also time for parents to shop for school supplies, backpacks and clothing.

Back-to-school shopping can be rather expensive, and the average parent with kids in kindergarten through 12th grade spends well more than $400 this time of year. How you shop and when you shop can make a difference in how much money you spend. We all want to save some money, so here are five back-to-school shopping deals that won’t break your pockets.

Clearance (Always)

Before paying full price for items, check the clearance section found in almost every retail store that you visit. Often, Kohl’s and JCPenney will have sales that are 50- to 70-percent off the original price. Even if you’re shopping online, check to see if there is a clearance or sale section of the company’s website. Currently, JCPenney has a variety of clothing on sale including dresses, jeans, sweatpants, tank tops and more. At Kohl’s, you can earn Kohl’s cash and get a $5 reward for every 100 points that you earn in addition to the sale prices.

Purchase a little at a time

Instead of spending hundreds all at once, start shopping a little earlier. Also, the deals from each retailer can change frequently. The founder of PocketYourDollars.com said that many retailers rotate through deals every week. One week might feature discounts on pens and the next week notebooks. By the time you turn around, you would have bought most or all of your kid’s school supplies by the end of summer at a fraction of the original price.

Use what you already have

You might already have certain supplies around the house. Before shopping for new backpacks, notebooks and pens, check around your house for extra pens, paper, pencils and other school-related items. Believe it or not, you probably already have a stock in your drawers, and using these items can help save a significant amount of cash instead of buying new items.

Check for last year’s items

Your kid does not have to wear the latest trends just to go to school. A lot of kids, especially those in high school, want to have the latest fashions and electronics, but those come with heavy price tags. For electronics, you can save money by purchasing refurbished tablets, laptops, and smartphones at up to 40 percent off the original price.

Shopping in-store vs. online

The prices of items can be different in the stores as opposed to online. The average price for a general list of school supplies was actually 41 percent less in-store than buying the same items online, StellaService reported. However, shopping online is not always more expensive, and looking for deals on shoes, backpacks and other goods can still give you more options and prices.

Jae Monique is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine

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