10 Ways to Save for Back to School Shopping! Tips via Stephanie Nelson, #CouponMom.com

I am a big fan of shopping. My friends all know that I am a great shopper: markets, online and in stores.. it doesn’t make a whit of difference. I know how to snag a bargain when looking for great food, fashion or home decor items.
I even bought a killer designer silk charmeuse dress at a sample sale for $75.. such a great bargain!

That said, sales often feature lots of stock but not all sizes. So shop swiftly (and perhaps often if you expect more stuff will be marked down)

We are lucky enough to have CouponMom.com’s Stephanie Nelson guest post with 10 great ways to save on back to school shopping.

Stephanie Nelson, founder of CouponMom.com

1. Inventory so you won’t overbuy. Go through drawers and closets to inventory your child’s current wardrobe. Sort items that are too small or never get worn at all and donate them to a local charity. Older children’s acceptable outgrown clothes can go to a younger sibling, if possible. After determining the number of acceptable outfits you already have, you can make a realistic list of specific items you need to buy.

2. Plan. The key to saving is planning.
Before you leave the house to start buying school clothes, backpacks and supplies, sit down and plan what you need to buy with your student. Discuss what your student wants and make a specific list of what they need to buy – this will save money, time and stress. While you are out do not overbuy, it‘s easy to do before you see what your children like. Once the school year is going for a few weeks you can sit down again with your child and plan what they need and prefer.

3. Tax Free can save you up to 10%!
Take advantage of tax-free holidays in some states to save the cost of sales tax.
http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales_holiday.html . (Wish these were national holidays or all 50 states participated. California does not.SW)

4. Check newspapers and websites. Watch for special promotions in the newspaper ad circulars. Many will have generous coupons in addition to sale prices. Also, check out store websites where you can find great coupons such as
www.rackroomshoes.com, www.payless.com, www.shoecarnival.com, (These are websites that are discounted. Other options include http://www.dsw.com/)
www.premiumoutlets.com. (This is the site for a chain of outlet malls. There are other outlet malls besides Premium Outlets.)

5. Email.
When you check your favorite store websites for coupons and promotions,also sign up for their email newsletter to get special coupons and discounts. Be sure to subscribe to the email newsletter of your local mall too. You will be sent information and free coupons for special promotions.
(There are shopping and coupon websites that allow you to sign up for email or text blasts when there is a promotion for your favorite bargain shopping destinations)

6. Purchase a few extras now.
Watch for sale prices of up to 90% (or even get free items) at this time of year and stock up for the entire year. Look at store ads for grocery stores, drugstores, big box discount stores, and office supply stores. Bargains will continue starting now through September. When a note comes home from the teacher in January requesting more paper or crayons you’ll have extra on-hand.

7. Price Match.
Take advantage! Basic school supplies are at their lowest price during this time of year (50-90% off)—some items are as low as 1 cent each, or even free after a coupon or promotion. Check the advertising circulars for grocery stores, drugstores, office supply stores and even dollar stores. Find the lowest advertised price for every item that you need, circle the item and price in each circular, and take all of the circulars to the closest store that “price matches,” meaning they will honor any other store’s lower price. Walmart and Target stores have a national price matching policy. Call your local stores ahead of time to ask if they price match and many will match competitors’ prices if you ask. Save time, money and gas!


8. Backpacks.
For younger children, the $5 to $10 backpacks on sale at discount and drugstores may be all they need. As students get older, it could be worth investing in a higher quality backpack to last several years. You can expect a good backpack to last a few years and provide the necessary support and padding for heavier books.


9. Shoes.
The back-to-school season is the busiest time of year for shoe sales. As a result, stores have many special promotions to get our attention. Because common promotions are “buy one pair, get the second pair 50% off”, it makes sense to take your entire family shoe shopping together. If you can find a coupon to use along with special promotions, you will really save. If you know the size and style of shoe you need, check online shoe retailers for bargain prices, coupons and free shipping to save time and money.

10. Wait and save with online shopping.
Shop summer sales to get a few new items for the beginning of the year. Wait to shop for fall/winter clothing in a month or so when those items start going on sale. (There will be a series of mark-downs from October through the end of the year.) Check the retailers’ websites for special coupons, promotions and free shipping offers.

Stephanie Nelson is the Coupon Mom. Her website, www.CouponMom.com, has 7 million members, and she is established as the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country.


Stephanie has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 13 years. She has been called ‘”the rock star of the recession” by the Washington Post and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller. Find it on Amazon.com (great if you have Prime!), Barnes and Noble and other independent book sellers!

Please note the italics and bolding are mine. The things IN italics are my comments.

Thank you to Stephanie Nelson for such a well-thought out article at some an opportune time. She’s smart, shopping savvy and knows the import of saving bucks, time and effort. Find her at www.CouponMom.com

Sounds weird that I would talk about this… right? Well I have a kid and I was always shopping for my little one during back-to-school sales (along with other clearances via catalog, online and in stores). I was especially keen on sales and running in 5th gear when I ran across things going on sale or clearance. I recall buying 2 of every shirt in different sizes and an array of colors. Leggings, tunics and jumpers were in lots of colors and a couple of different sizes. Other elements of the clothing purchases like shoes were not purchased that way. When I found things I knew my child would wear (or want to wear like costumes) on sale, then I bought them and put them away for when those were appropriate to wear.

Shopping smart never goes out of style.

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The amount I make has yet to be determined that despite people going to visit the links (and it’s in the thousands every month), I have yet to have anyone buy anything from them.


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