5 Tips to saving money when buying back-to-school supplies

For parents with a mile-long list, back-to-school shopping is often a dreaded task, especially for those who have more than one kid. Not only will you have to deal with massive crowds, sold-out supplies, and increasingly extensive requests from your child's school, but you're likely already hearing a whole lot of "I wants..."  from your children. So how exactly are you supposed to get all the shopping done without busting your budget? By following our five tips below!


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Leave the kids at home. The easiest way to overspend is to allow your kiddos to tag along. If you leave them with dad or a sitter when you head out to the stores, you won't have to worry about them sneaking items into your cart or conning you into purchasing items they don't actually need. Let them join you when clothes shopping, but otherwise, go it alone.

Use your apps. There are a slew of free apps that will help you save money in-store. Yelp and Shopular--two of my favorites--will automatically show you what's on sale and give you access to coupons when you launch the apps within a certain proximity to most major chain stores and/or shopping malls.

Buy the best. For big-ticket items, you should always buy the best quality that you can afford. You'll likely shell out a bit more dough upfront but chances are, your child or a younger sibling will be able to use that expensive backpack or top-market laptop for several school years in a row, which will save you big bucks over time.

Price match. Many of the most popular stores nationwide, including Walmart and Target will price match and/or accept competitor's coupons. If you see the calculator your high schooler needs on Amazon.com for less, but you know that your local Target carries it, Target will likely give it to you for the same price, saving you on shipping and the extra time and effort.

Wait until later. Equip your kids with just the bare essentials for the first week or two of school. By the second half of September, lots of stores will be offering deep discounts on any and all remaining back-to-school stock. It's not uncommon to see prices drop as much as 60 to 75 percent. With deals that great, it's even a good idea to stock up on staples like papers, pens and pencils for next year.

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