Where did the summer go? Suddenly, the first day of school is just around the corner, and as usual, I have four kiddos to shop for. I need a miracle—or a crash course in great deal sleuthing!
Check out these 10 tips I plan to use to make my dollars stretch this back-to-school season:
1. Visit the Krazy Coupon Lady for great back-to-school deals.
The website has loads of great intel to help you find the lowest prices for everything on your child’s back-to-school list. A couple of my favorite features are:
- The Back to School Stock Up List. I like to carry this list with me as I shop so I don’t pay more for any supplies than I should.
- The Deals. They do all the work for you! The Krazy Coupon Ladies will find the right coupons to match with a sale and rebate app offer, then all you have to do is print the coupons and shop.
2. Price match the heck out of your shopping list.
If you find a lower price elsewhere, capture proof (either bookmark the URL online, snap a picture on your phone, or bring in the ad). Then, take your proof to the retailer’s Customer Service desk and reap the savings! Download the Amazon app for quick price comparisons!
3. Stack coupons (and coupon codes) for greater savings.
Many retailers allow you to stack coupons (store and manufacturer), rewards points, sales prices, rebate offers and other perks to lower the item’s final price. The same also holds true for online coupon codes.
Kohl’s is one store that allows you to stack up to four codes. For example, I can use a department-specific coupon (ex: women’s apparel, shoes, housewares, etc.), Yes 2 You Rewards, a sitewide percent-off coupon, and Kohl’s Cash all in one transaction!
4. Nab discounted gift cards to shop with.
Raise and Gift Card Granny, are fantastic sites that can help you snag gift cards at a discount off face value. I’ve seen discounts on both these sites for as much as 88 percent off face value! I’ll then stack these savings with coupons and other offers.
5. Take a second look at those so-called “unbeatable” penny deals.
Many retailers use “penny deals” to try to entice you into their stores. Penny deals are loss leaders—the retailer loses money on, say, Bic Pens, by selling them for $0.01. The catch is, you have to buy X number of other items, or spend a minimum dollar amount, in order to get the pens for one cent.
Using your price comparison skills (see #2), take a minute to see how much the other items you need are selling for at other retailers. You may just discover you can get everything you need cheaper somewhere else—even if it means you don’t get the penny pens.
6. Keep on top of after-purchase lower prices.
Most retailers will honor their own lower prices for 1-2 weeks following your purchase, so long as you’ve kept your store receipt as proof of purchase. Some stores (notably Walmart’s Savings Catcher) will even alert you if a lower price is found in-store or anywhere.
7. Rent instead of buy.
Let’s say, for example, that your child needs a $100 calculator. If they’ll only need for a short time, you can often get a better deal by renting the calculator at sites like RentCalculators and Graphtor.
For older students, BookRenter, Chegg and CampusBookRentals offer some great deals on textbooks.
8. Get a group together to cash in on bulk prices.
Retailers LOVE guaranteed sales. All you need to do is find a few other parents who want to go in with you to split the costs. DiscountSchoolSupply andS. School Supply are two online discount supplier sites I like.
9. Wait to buy supplies your child doesn’t need right away.
If you think the back-to-school deals are great now, wait until September, when retailers are eager to offload unsold inventory. If there are items on your child’s list that can wait a few weeks, star them and wait for prices to plunge up to 90 percent off retail value.
10. Raise funds for back-to-school supplies by selling last year’s clothing and other items.
I love thrift stores—and not just for buying. I sell my kids’ gently used outgrown clothes, shoes and accessories online and in local consignment stores and use the proceeds to fund this year’s clothing and supplies list!
My favorite online consignment and resale shops are ThredUP and Little Sprouts. For brick-and-mortar resale stores I like Once Upon a Child andPlato’s Closet
By Joanie Demer, co-founder of www.TheKrazyCouponLady.com