Don’t let back to school shopping stress you out. Some of the best deals of the year are available right now so you can save money on the things you need. Think of it as a treasure hunt! Whether you’re shopping for a backpack, pair of jeans or peanut butter, make it your mission to find the best deal. Here are five unexpected savings that will make your back to school shopping experience productive and affordable.
1. Price Match
Compare the sale ads from all of the stores and bring them with you when you shop. Many stores offer price matching so you can get the best prices without having to drive from store to store. Staples, for example, introduced their Back to School 110% price match guarantee. They will match a lower price and discount it by 10% of the difference. Walmart offers the Walmart Savings Catcher. When you enter your receipt number, Walmart scans ads in your area to check prices. If they find the item for a lower advertised price elsewhere, you get a Walmart eGift card for the difference.
2. Trade In
Take advantage of trade-in programs for electronics. Stores like Best Buy, Apple and Target allow you to send in old electronics (that still have value) in exchange for a store gift card. You can use this credit toward back to school purchases and it doesn’t even necessarily have to be for replacement electronics. Trade-in used electronics and DVDs through a store like Target and you can use it on general school supplies like binders and pens. Or, check out Office Depot’s Tech Trade-Up.
3. Stock Up
Certain grocery items see some of their best prices of the year in August/September. Here are five items you probably want to add to your grocery list right now that also make for great school lunches and after-school snacks:
- peanut butter
- granola bars
- canned tuna
- fruit snacks
Always check expiration dates, but typically these items come with a long shelf life (if unopened and stored properly) so it makes sense to stock up. While you’re at the grocery store, be sure to check for sales on school supplies. Sometimes when you use your store loyalty card, you can find even better deals than at the office supply store.
4. Give Back
Make your purchase do double duty when you buy supplies that give back to your child’s school. For example, Office Depot has a 5% Back to Schools program, which gives 5% to your school on qualifying purchases when you present your school’s Back to Schools ID number (just ask for it at your local Office Depot store).
Get even more back to school savings with Amazon Smile too. It lets you designate a school or charity to donate 0.5% of your purchase price to (when you purchase through smile.amazon.com). Now your child has the supplies they need and their school has a little extra funding.
5. Think Ahead
One of the best ways to make sure you don’t land in debt in January is to spread out your holiday shopping. What better way to do that than to take advantage of back to school sales now? Clearance priced back to school supplies and loss leaders make great stocking stuffers. Many stores will have bins near the front of the store with very low cost items like colorful erasers, flavored lip balms, and other stocking-sized goodies. You can even take advantage of back to school clothing sales for the holidays by shopping at stores with long return periods like Macy’s and Nordstrom.
Check out these other tips for back to school savings from buying in bulk to taking inventory!