8 Ways to Save on Back-to-School Spending

Ready to tackle back-to-school shopping like a boss?

It's that time of year again — the kiddos are heading back to school. The good news is that back-to-school shopping doesn't have to break the bank. In fact, our experts say you'll likely snag fantastic deals on supplies, clothing and more during the month of August.

With a pair of 6- and 7-year-old girls at home, this year marks my fourth round of back-to-school shopping, and I've definitely learned a thing or two along the way. I've rounded up some of my favorite back-to-school shopping tips, and tapped our expert team for some insider hacks that could mean big savings on school shopping.

1. Make a List and Check it Twice

According to our very own Slickdeals CEO Josh Meyers, creating your shopping list before hitting the stores is key. Most schools post their back-to-school supplies lists on their websites ahead of the first day of school, but if possible, consider contacting the teacher directly to find out what you will and won't need; a lot of times, there are items on the recommended supply list that you don't actually need. For my second grader who went back to school last week, this included pencil cases. Regardless, it pays to make your list ahead of time and stick to it in order to avoid unnecessary purchases in the frenzy of the school supplies isle.

2. Do a Closet Clean Out Before Buying Back-to-School Clothes

When it comes to back-to-school clothes shopping, making a list is equally important, but only if you know what you actually need. Clean out your kids' closets and dresser drawers before hitting up the back-to-school sales. Make piles of pants, shorts, shirts and shoes, then briefly torture your kids by making them try stuff on. This will help you avoid over-buying if your kids haven't managed to outgrow all of last year's clothes.

3. Tap Into Tech

Leverage in-the-know social communities to get the most bang for your buck. Slickdeals has a loyal network of 10 million users, all of whom are eager to find the best deals. What's more, they routinely share their finds. Check out loads of deals on our Back to School page and download the Slickdeals mobile app to take your savings with you when you're out shopping. If you can't find a specific item on your list, set a deal alert to be notified directly when there's a great deal.

4. Have Student IDs at the Ready

Student IDs represent a super-simple way to save since they often translate to discounted items, especially on clothing and electronics. (In some cases, a .edu email address will also get the job the done.) J.Crew, for example, doles out 15% off with a valid student ID. Meanwhile, students can buy Macs for up to $300 off at the Apple Store. Similarly, Prime Student will get you six months of Amazon Prime for free. After that, students enjoy 50% off the regular cost of membership.

5. Look Out for Back-to-School Tech Deals

The back-to-school shopping season often brings more than a few knockout laptop deals for those with electronics on their lists. For example, you can save $449.99 on a Dell Inspiron 13 2-in-1 Laptop by combining a coupon with a Slickdeals Rebate (see deal below). BHPhotoVideo.com is also slashing prices on the Apple MacBook Pro 15.4" Laptop with Touch Bar to just $1,899 with free shipping; an instant savings of $500.

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6. Know What to Hold Off on Buying

Before you pull the trigger on everything on your list, ask yourself if you can hold off on a few things. Just as stores deeply discount holiday decorations the day after Christmas, prices on back-to-school items tend to drop after the school year starts. Lunch boxes and backpacks, for instance, are usually sharply discounted a few weeks after school starts, so you could save quite a bit if your student can get by with their old bag for a little while. The same goes for textbooks. Meyers suggests attending class first to see if you actually need all the books on the list. If you do, check out Amazon or Chegg for used or even rentable options.

7. Sign Up for your Favorite Store Newsletters

If you don't have time to research the best back-to-school deals (and if you're a parent, we're assuming you don't), do yourself a favor and sign up for store newsletters. This delivers deals straight to your inbox, which you can scroll through at your leisure. (For example, you can get 30% off your next Old Navy purchase if you register for their email list.) You can also opt to follow your favorite stores on social media, where they'll often promote savings events and sales.

8. Hit Up Your Local Dollar Store for Classroom Extras (Not Basics)

The local Dollar Tree is where we cash in on classroom extras, including disinfectant wipes, tissues, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and other classroom goodies. (It wouldn't hurt to stock a college dorm room with some of these items either.)

Just one bit of wisdom: Walmart and Target continue to offer better overall deals on general school supplies. While at Walmart yesterday, I saw crayons for as low as $0.25 and glue sticks for under a dollar.

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What are your favorite back-to-school shopping hacks? Drop us a line in the comments below!



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About the Author
Marianne Hayes Contributor

Marianne Hayes is a freelance writer, wife and mother in Tampa Bay. After earning a degree in journalism and creative writing from the University of Central Florida, she spent nearly a decade getting lost in New York City and Los Angeles before making her way back home again in 2014. Marianne's writing has appeared in a variety of publications including The Huffington Post, Forbes.com, LearnVest, The Daily Beast and more. When she's not writing, Marianne is usually cruising her local bookstore with her two daughters.

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