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Just when you’ve finished spending a bunch on swimsuits and stuff for grilling out, summer’s over and it’s time for the kids the head back to school. How did this happen? Here are some ways to cut expenses while shopping for all those inevitable, seemingly never-ending things that the season demands.
Create a Budget
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning and well worth it before you enter headlong and breathless into the frenzy of a superstore. Make a list of the things you need before you leave the house, then let your fingers do the walking and check prices online. If all this seems daunting, never fear, there’s an app to help: EveryDollar. It will walk you through all the steps you need to make a budget and stick to it.
Use Money-Saving Apps and Websites
In addition to store-specific apps, here are some others to check out before you race out the door. Hollar, known as the online Dollar Store, even has a Back-to-School section. ShopSavvy is an app with a barcode reader that lets you scan and compare prices, both online and locally. Flipp allows users to check ads and coupons from their favorite stores. And there’s also Groupon and Amazon, both of which are always great options.
Sign up for Store Emails
As much as you might not like sharing your email, this is one of the smartest things you can do – especially when the seasons change. In fact, many stores send out weekly emails. If this gets too burdensome, set up a separate folder for them. But remember this: sometimes stores dangle carrots to get you in. They often offer free things with a purchase that you just can’t say no to, such as fresh-baked cookies or free next day delivery when you pass a threshold of spending. So keep your eyes on the back-to-school prize and you’ll be golden.
Consider Used or Refurbished Items
Those necessary gizmos like computers and calculators can be pretty pricey when new. That’s why seeing what you can buy pre-owned or refurbished is such a good idea. Check eBay or Craigslist for deals, as well as major retailers like Apple or Dell for reconfigured electronic items. You might be surprised what you find.
Leave the Kids at Home
Whether it’s those little hands that put things in the cart or sweet, pleading smiles you can’t resist, it’s a fact: bringing your progeny along when shopping will drive up the cost. Set out on your own so that when you come back, they’ll be thrilled that you bought them a bag full of goodies. You’ll be happy and so will they.
These are just a few of the ways to keep your sanity and stay on budget while back-to-school shopping. If you choose one or all, when it comes to spending, you’ll be way ahead of the crowd and might even earn yourself an A+.