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10+ Ways to Fund Back to School Shopping

It can be easy to get caught up in the hype of back to school shopping and blow your budget easily.


First, the coupons and savings!

Download these apps to save on everything you need:

  • CamelCamelCamel: This money-saving app is a price tracking tool for Amazon. Through the website or browser extension, users get access to charts and details of price history for virtually every product listed for sale on Amazon.
  • Ebates: Ebates is one of the most popular shopping portals on the Web and offers up to 40 percent cash back on purchases at more than 2,000 partner stores. There are no complicated points to worry about, just a simple percentage cash back program on eligible purchases.
  • Swagbucks: This money-saving app includes a custom search engine (pretty much like Google with different advertisements) that gives you points for searching, plus you can earn points from online surveys and shopping at partner stores. Those points quickly add up to free gift cards for stores like Amazon or cash back in your PayPal account.
  • Shopkick: For those who do a mix of online and offline shopping, Shopkick is a top money-saving app to know about. You can earn rewards points, called Kicks, from a wide range of activities. Some options include walking into a physical store, buying eligible items and uploading your receipt, shopping at online partner stores and watching online videos.
  • Download Fetch Rewards free here: http://www.fetchrewards.com
  • Enter my referral code, R3QDP, during signup and you'll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points!) when you complete one receipt.
  • Honey: Honey is a browser plugin for Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers that helps you save money by automatically applying coupon codes at the checkout stage of online shopping. Sorry Internet Explorer users, you have to upgrade to something better to use Honey - Chrome is a solid choice for most Web users.


Here are some tips for keeping your budget in check:


  • Clothing

Retailers would like us to think that a brand new back to school wardrobe is a necessity. But many parts of the country are still in summer-weather mode, even in September. So instead of picking up cold-weather items, such as jackets, just get the basics, such as jeans, new shoes and some shirts. See what is in the wardrobe already and build on that. We are in OH and my son is back in school end of August. I'm sure he will be wearing shorts well into September.

Old Navy, Gap Kids, and The Children's Place have really great sales this time of year. They also rotate merchandise often -- ask when they do their markdowns so you can get the deals. And I've found really low-priced children's clothing at Target, like $1.48 for a shirt, $2.48 for a pair of jeans.

- Check out Target Cartwheel coupons for more savings

  • School supplies

Many times, teachers send home school supply lists of items they want their students to have.

For example, here is the back to school list for 1st grade this coming school year:

This list can be daunting. Last year, even with my supply of paper, pencils, etc, I still had to go out and pick up a few things. What is the best way to save? I checked my stockpile first and gathered up the items I already had.

Then for the remainder of the list, I checked the Sunday ads and went to those stores. Staples, Officemax, Office Depot, Target and Walmart usually have the best prices. Typically each year, I usually only get what's on the list. A few weeks into September, many stores start clearancing school supplies to very low prices. This is when I stock up and fill my shelves for the upcoming year.

 - Check out Target Cartwheel coupons for more savings

One trick I have used for years is getting the next year's school supply list ahead of time and buying on clearance. For example when my son was in 3rd grade, I was already buying ahead for 4th and 5th grade, when supplies went on clearance.

  • Backpacks and Lunch bags

I've found that Lands' End and LL Bean have the best, high quality backpacks. Also be sure to check out Costco and Sam's Club. 


  • Stocking the pantry

Grocery stores like to get in on the back to school hype too and push snack packs of food, cereal, etc. Only stock up on items you know you will use and don't fall for the hype! Here are some snack packs that the kids will love:

  • Trail mix. Combine your child’s favorite whole grain cereals with pretzels, raisins, or other dried fruit.
  • Baked chips or whole grain crackers, packaged into child-sized portions.
  • Homemade popcorn.
  • Homemade cookies.
  • Sandwich rolls (tortillas with sandwich fillings, sliced).
  • Cheese sticks

- Free $20 to try out Instacart- Free Groceries delivered right to your home!

- Download Ibotta to save on groceries

-Download Fetch Rewards free here: http://www.fetchrewards.com

  • Enter my referral code, R3QDP, during signup and you'll get 2,000 Fetch Points ($2.00 in points!) when you complete one receipt.


  • Hold a swap party with your friends

Get together with your friends with children of a similar age and swap your gently used clothing.


  • Check out craigslist.org or ebay for more deals


If there is an item your child needs, but you don't want to pay retail, check out those two sites first!