12 Tips for Saving on Back-To-School shopping

Back-To-School shopping can be expensive and very time consuming. Here a great article on USAToday to help you save on your back-to-school shopping.

According to this article: “Those who don’t know the rules are doomed to spend too much, shop too long or fail to find the right stuff. The new rules of back-to-school are fed by an increasingly consumer-driven, penny-pinching and techno-savvy culture. If the old rule was “Shop early and often,” the new rule is: Shop late, and strategically — while embracing technology as your retail lie-detector.”

Here are the 12 new rules or tips

1. Pre-shop online.

Ask the kids to find the best deals and the fattest coupons online, long before the trip to the mall. Parents and children should scour the Internet. This pre-search should focus on three things: prices, coupons and group deals, says Wendy Liebmann, CEO at WSL Strategic Retail, a retail consultant. And don’t forget to check out the mommy bloggers.

2. Shop late.

People who wait until right before or after school starts tend to get the best deals. Kids who wait have a leg-up on trends by eying what others are wearing before they shop.

3. Live by lists.

Bring along — and stick to — your shopping list. Many retailers have checklists available on their websites. (Bonus: Here is a site that can help you create free list online).

4. Bring your smartphone.

Using smartphone shoppers can learn a lot more about products on the shelf — including product reviews and even competitive price information.

You can sign up for text alerts from most retailers and receive instant coupons to use in the store. Shoppers also can download shopping apps on their phones or tablets that will pull information about their location and shopping history — and can spit out relevant coupons. (Bonus: Apps like shopkick and FourSquare can sometimes provide discounts and offers)

5. Seek new value.

The best deals aren’t always just about the lowest price, find new “bundling” offers. Example: Microsoft bundles a free Xbox with the purchase of a computer. Apple offers $100 gift cards for Apple products with laptop purchases. And Best Buy bundles Geek Squad service with certain laptop purchases.

6. Sell the old — or reuse.

By using outlets such as eBay students can sell older items to help fund this year’s back-to-school purchases

7. Shop unconventionally.

The best back-to-school shopping deals are not always found at conventional retailers, some of the best deals and great surprises are in the oddest places such as dollar stores for T-shirts and socks; drugstores for deals on snacks, and so-called flash sales (time-limited, steep online discounts) for clothing and beauty supplies.

8. Use pack power.

Get a group together and buy together by negotiating a better price.

9. Lay down rules.

Don’t take the kids shopping — at least not the youngest schoolgoers. Leave the kids at home so that you don’t end up buying things that you need.

10. Avoid weekends.

Weekend shopping can result in poor choices and unnecessary purchases due to grumpy, exhausted and famished family members. Never shop hungry or tied as hunger.

11. Consider second-hand.

Besides stops at the thrift store and Craigslist.org, some families with one eye on shaving costs and another on the environment are turning to the Freecycle Network (www.freecycle.org). This grass-roots, non-profit group encourages folks to give away stuff they don’t need and get stuff they do. This, in turn, keeps the stuff out of landfills.

12. Give when you get.

Saving a few nickels isn’t the only incentive that’s moving families this year. So is the simple notion of helping others.

Read the full article at USAToday

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