Be proactive and save big!
You may be deep into your summer routine of lazy afternoons at the beach, family day trips and bedtimes postponed in favor of firefly-chasing, but back-to-school season is already in full swing. And, any way you slice it, it’s going to be expensive!
Between new backpacks, textbooks, a long list of supplies and a fresh autumn wardrobe, most parents are looking at a bill of close to $700 for school-related expenses this season.
Read on for our handy list of back-to-school shopping hacks that will help you keep more money in your wallet.
- Tax-free Days for Back-to-School
August 2 to August 6, 2019, Florida offers a sales tax holiday to select merchandise: school supplies $15 or less; clothing, footwear, (some) accessories $60 or less; computers and certain accessories selling for $1,000 or less per item when purchased for noncommercial or personal use.
- Stock up
No, your child doesn’t need a 6-month supply of No.2 pencils for the first day of school or five spare pocket-folders. But if you buy enough school supplies while prices are low to last through the first half of the year — or even all the way though the end of the school year — you’ll save big.
- Take advantage of loss leaders
Every week during back-to-school season, retailers will advertise one product at a super-low price. This is their loss leader, an item priced so cheaply that retailers actually lose money on sales. Of course, the bargain-priced product attracts customers, so it’s worthwhile for the retailer, but all you need to worry about is snagging those ridiculous prices. Make sure you catch those hot deals!
- Shop the dollar store
Before you hit the typical retail stores, shop for real bargains at dollar stores like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar. You can find calculators, paper, pencils, pens and more — for just a buck!
- Buy designer backpacks online
If your kid is begging for a brand-name backpack, but you don’t want to shell out big bucks for a label, check out sites like 6PM and eBags. You’ll find fantastic deals on designer backpacks that will keep both the fashion-conscious child and mom happy.
- Look for manufacturer coupons
Comb flyers for manufacturer coupons from supply companies like Bic and Mead. You can also find them in magazines geared toward parents like Parenting or on online coupon sites, like Retailmenot and CouponCabin. These are usually steeper discounts than retailer coupons and they can be combined with in-store specials.
- Coordinate with other parents
To help you get the best deals and save some time, work together with other parents of school-aged kids. If you’re in Walmart when they have their penny deals on pencils and you can get a box of 24 for just $0.50, offer to buy a few boxes for your friend’s kids. And, when your friend finds the super-hot deal on crayons, they’ll pick up a few boxes for your kids. That’s money saved and fewer trips to the store.
- Take advantage of price-matching
Lots of stores you’ll be shopping at this season, like Office Depot, Staples and Target, offer to match any competitor’s prices. Take advantage of this generous offer by coming prepared with an online price posting of a cheaper item you’ve found elsewhere. You’ll visit fewer stores this way and save money, too.
- Shop early in the week
Weekly sales typically go live on Sundays and the best stuff gets grabbed first. Shop Sundays and Mondays so you never miss out on a great deal again.
Save big this season with McCoy Federal Credit Union’s back-to-school shopping hacks!