10 Ways to Save Money During Back-to-School Season

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Coupon Cravings Shares the Secrets to Big Savings on School Supplies and Gear

I find that sticking to a list and taking the time to set up deal alerts and seek out coupons from the stores I frequent really saves me a bundle.

Parents will spend around $600 this year on back-to-school supplies and gear this year, according to the National Retail Federation. Money is still tight for many families who need to maximize the money they do spend. Coupon Cravings (http://www.couponcravings.com), a leading money-saving web site, shares ten ways to save on back-to-school purchases.

“I’ll have three in school this year, and between the backpacks, lunch bags, school supplies and new shoes, back-to-school shopping really adds up quickly,” said Erin Gifford, founder of Coupon Cravings. “I find that sticking to a list and taking the time to set up deal alerts and seek out coupons from the stores I frequent really saves me a bundle.”

1) Shop Your Kids’ Closets First. Before you open your wallet for children’s clothes, take a look at their closets and drawers to see what they can still wear and what they really need. Then prioritize to ensure they have what’s most important for the start of school.

2) Wait for Clearance Sales. Avoid the crowds and wait for the post-back-to-school sales. You probably won’t need long-sleeved shirts and sweaters for at least another month, so hold off on those items to get better back-to-school deals.

3) Look Out for Penny Deals. Hold onto those weekly ads that come in the Sunday paper. The office supply and drug store chains will offer deals that net you pocket folders, glue sticks and mechanical pencils for a quarter each, and sometimes even a penny. Hit the discount chains for big savings too, like crayons and notebooks for no more than a quarter.

4) Stick to Your School Supply List. Make sure to bring along your school’s supply list so you pick up the right items the first time. Your child will not likely need anything that’s not on the list.

5) Shop During Tax-Free Holidays. Many states have tax-free holidays when you can pick up clothing, school supplies and computers without paying sales tax. These are a big help with big ticket items, like printers and software.

6) Look for Textbook Discounts. Never purchase books straight from the bookstore, at least not without doing some comparison shopping first. Many sites like Half.com and BIGWORDS can help you find the best prices. BIGWORDS even has a free iPhone app so you can research prices even while you’re browsing in the bookstore.

7) Sign up for Price Reduction Alerts. If you have your eye on a specific laptop or wireless printer, sign up to get an alert by email when the price drops. Two sites to check out are ZingSale or PriceProtectr. With ZingSale, you can check out a 60-day price history to see whether the price may go down.

8) Use Price Comparison Sites. Use price comparison sites like PriceGrabber or Shopping.com to quickly find the best prices on the web. Also check out free iPhone app, RedLaser, to scan barcodes while in-store to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere.

9) Price Match. Big discount retailers, Target and Walmart, have policies in place to honor competitor prices found in ads, with some restrictions. This is helpful at Target especially which also has store-specific coupons you can use for added savings.

10) Stack Coupons. Sign up to receive emails from your favorite brands and stores. If you can, register for a separate email account for these promotional mailings. You’ll see extra savings when you stack these email coupons with the big back-to-school sales.

About Coupon Cravings
Coupon Cravings is a money-saving website dedicated to sharing the smartest grocery, drugstore, restaurant and retail deals, as well as the latest freebies. Coupon Cravings received over 300,000 visits in June 2010 and can be found on the web at http://www.couponcravings.com.

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Erin Gifford
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