Save money on back-to-school shopping

As much as parents may be shocked to hear it, summer is almost over. With the calendar now having flipped to August, it's time for many Americans to get their back-to-school shopping done before their kids have to head to class once again. Of course, this can be a costly prospect, and many parents may dread it, but a little prep work and common sense may be enough to help them save considerable sums of money.

In fact, that prep work is often the easiest and most financially beneficial part of the whole process, according to a report from Today Parents. That's because figuring out what a kid needs is easy enough because of the lists most schools now mail out - pencils, notebooks, calculators, etc. - coupled with the ease of online shopping. Often, parents can find coupon codes and other deals on sites like Amazon and other online retailers that will give them significant discounts on school supplies over what brick-and-mortar stores charge at this time of year.

Get smarter
In addition to seeking out deals online, most consumers are going to find that at least one or two trips to various stores are unavoidable during this process, the report said. Even still, if they're going to be doing that sort of thing anyway, the most important thing they can do is to often be vigilant about what's on sale versus what they need, and compare and contrast those prices with what they can find online. This can help them to identify potential deals in real-world stores versus online.

That kind of thinking can also be helpful when buying clothes, the report said. Getting clothes at a store can be quite expensive, but going and trying them on is crucial for kids who are growing out of their sizes every few months. As such, it might be wise to take a hybrid approach: Go to the store and try on clothes the kids like, but then comparison shop online with the right sizes in mind. The prospect of saving an extra $50 or more might outweigh the potential hassle of going back and buying anything that's left over from the list.

More on sizing
In addition, this is the time of year when many clothing stores offer "buy one, get one" deals, the report said. And with this in mind, parents might be wise to buy not only the size their kids need now, but one size up as well, to lock in the savings of the sale and also ensure their children have some clothes into which they can grow.

All of these savings tips could end up providing significant value to families by freeing up money for other things. One of the wisest choices they can make at this juncture, then, is to invest at least some of that money into paying down debts or boosting savings. That, in turn, could lead to significant benefits they might not have considered in the long-run.

Want to learn more?