Top 5 Ways to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping

Back-to-school shopping is the second busiest time of year for retailers, who offer enticing sales on items such as electronics, clothing, paper, pens and other school supplies. Families dole out an average of $500 per child preparing for the upcoming year, which often leads to overspending. Here are five ways to reduce the price tag for the new school year.  

Step one: Take Inventory. Identify what you already have at home, compared to what you need, before shopping. Schools typically provide a back-to-school shopping list you can use as a reference. From there, write your list and set a realistic budget.

Step two: Shop sales across stores. Late July and early August retailers offer door busters and school essentials at low prices. Convenient apps make it easy to compare prices across stores for the items you need. Some stores, such as Walmart, match competitor ads, which allows you to get the lowest price without visiting every store. Price matching also helps when the advertising store sells out of what you need. Office supply stores also offer bargains for back-to-school basics.

Step three: Substitute where appropriate. It is not always necessary to purchase every item on the school’s list. For example, you might be able to alter the requested notebook sizes, or use eBooks instead of physical books. Sales may not correspond with school lists, and you may find acceptable substitutes at lower prices.

Step four: Investigate student deals. Student pricing is often available for higher end items such as laptops, software, and other technology. Discounts targeted for educators and college students offer deep discounts from some companies such as Microsoft, Apple, and Dell.  

Step five. Wait. Delaying purchases until September lead to additional price cuts as companies put back-to-school items on clearance. You can save up to 90% on items not essential for the first day of school.