Back to School Shopping Strategies with the Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson

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This year, consumers can save up to 90% on back to school necessities.

Back to school shopping can be overwhelming for many budgets, but Stephanie Nelson of CouponMom.com says there are ways to strategically take advantage of special deals and coupons this year if consumers plan and research before they shop.

“The key to saving is planning,” Nelson said. “Before you even leave your house to start buying new school clothes, backpacks and supplies, sit down and plan what you need to buy with your student.”

Stephanie Nelson is the founder of CouponMom.com, which has over 5 million members, and is established as the nation’s top expert in couponing across the country. Nelson has been on every major national television talk show and taught millions how to save money for the past 10 years. The Washington Post called her ‘”the rock star of the recession” and her book, The Coupon Mom’s Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times best seller.

She suggests parents should take an inventory of their children’s clothes to prevent overbuying. “Go through drawers and closets to inventory your child’s current wardrobe, and sort out the items that are too small or never get worn and donate them to a local charity,” said Nelson. “Older children’s acceptable outgrown clothes can go to a younger sibling, if possible. After determining the number of acceptable outfits you already have on hand, make a realistic list of specific items you need to buy.”

Here are some of her strategies for back to school savings:

· Buying shoes with free coupons: The back to school season is the busiest time of year for shoe sales. As a result, stores have many special promotions to get buyers” attention including buy one, get one free. Check in your newspaper circular and online for special shoe deals.

· School Supplies—stock up at 90% off: Take advantage of price matching for school supplies. Basic school supplies are at their lowest price at this time of year (50-90% off)—some items are as low as 10 cents each. Watch for sale prices of up to 90%, and stock up for the entire year. Look at ads for grocery stores, drugstores, big box discount stores, and office supply stores. Bargains will continue starting now through September. At the end of August/early September, watch the clearance sections at discount stores for even lower prices if they have items left.

· Backpacks: For younger children, the backpacks on sale at discount and drugstores may be all they need. As students get older, it may 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.

· Buy School Clothes later in the year and find free coupons: Wait until a few weeks into the school year to stock up on new clothes, to take advantage of later-in-the-season sales and to give your child time to see what new styles they like.
· Look for advertising circulars in the newspaper for your stores. Many will have generous coupons in addition to sale prices.
· Check your store websites for coupons and promotions. Sign up for their email newsletter.
· Check coupon code websites for printed coupons or online codes at your favorite retailers.
· Check sites and print free coupons from outlet mall websites (example: http://www.premiumoutlets.com). For example, printing one free coupon could save $20 at your favorite store
· Subscribe to the email newsletter of your local mall. You will be sent information and free coupons for special promotions.
· 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·

  • Save with online shopping -

· Search for your favorite retailers' Facebook pages and Like them to learn about special deals, and to get coupons.
· Stack the savings: Shop online with sale prices, online coupon codes and get cash back at various cash back sites (Upromise, Ebates, or through your cash back credit card's site if you have one).

For more information and details on back to school savings, go to http://www.couponmom.com.

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