1. Price match with Amazon to save on shipping.
You may have noticed that Amazon prices are frequently 10-20% lower than prices you see at Target. Save yourself some time and shipping costs by price matching. I do all of my price comparisons with the Amazon app and use my mobile to show the associate at guest services Amazon’s better price. Target will then verify the deal and charge me the better online price—super easy, right?!
Target isn’t the only store that price matches Amazon. There are eight others—see them all here.
2. Buy a backpack that has a lifetime warranty.
If you’re going to buy a backpack, buy one from a company that will replace or fix their damaged product for free. Under Armor, Overland Equipment, L.L. Bean, Lands’ End, and Jansport all offer lifetime warranties on their backpacks.
3. Buy inexpensive name brand clothes from alternate retailers.
I can’t tell you how much I love sites like 6pm.com. Alternate retailers like Zappos-owned 6pm.com offer quality brands like Calvin Klein, The North Face, Asics, and Ugg for way less than what you’d find at regular retailers like Macy’s. And the shipping is free! So if you must buy name brands for you or your family, try shopping there or other out-of-the-box retailers like Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, and T.J. Maxx.
4. Buy discounted gift cards that are sold up to 35% off their face value.
Raise.com is where unused gift cards go to be sold at a discount so smart, frugal-minded people like you can save big. Use a discounted gift card to pay for back-to-school items, and stack those savings with coupons and sales to easily get over 70% off.
Tip: Keep in mind sister stores when looking for the best deal on these gift cards. For example, you can use a Banana Republic gift card at Old Navy, Piperlime, Gap, or Athleta since they’re all owned by the same company.
5. Stack coupon codes when you shop online.
Stores like Kohl’s are constantly offering coupons and coupon codes that you can strategically stack for greater savings on a purchase. At Kohl’s you’re allowed to stack up to four codes (for example: one sitewide coupon + two department specific coupons + Kohl’s Cash), so try not to make a purchase unless you have a coupon. Other stores that allow you to stack coupons online include:
- Old Navy
- Victoria’s Secret
- New Egg
- Sally’s Beauty Supply
6. Ask for a price adjustment if you find a lower price later.
Many stores will gladly offer you a refund if an item gets marked down after you’ve purchased it. Typically, you have 7-14 days after your original purchase date to request a price adjustment. See here for more information on individual stores’ policies.
Tip: Download the Slice app and be alerted when a price drops.
7. Shop the dollar store if you’re low on time.
Don’t forget about the dollar store for essentials like Kleenex, hand sanitizer, pens, pencils, and folders. If you’re in a hurry and can’t make it to multiple stores to get those loss leaders, find low prices without coupons on the things you need.
8. Rent expensive graphing calculators and textbooks.
If seeing “TI-84 Graphing Calculator” on your child’s back-to-school list terrifies you, you’re not alone. Those babies are over $100! Ask your child’s teacher how long students will need to use the calculator. If students will only need it for a semester, consider renting one from Graphtor or RentCalculators.org. Better yet, if the teacher allows it, download a free graphing calculator app, like this one for Androids.
9. Sell before you buy.
Before you buy anything, check your current inventory and determine if anything can be sold. ThredUP, Little Sprouts, and eBay are great sites to get money for outgrown apparel—just be sure you prepare your items properly. Check How to Resell Clothes and Household Items Like a Pro for expert advice.
Don’t worry if your items don’t sell. Donate used clothing to Schoola, and the school of your choice will get 40% of the proceeds.
10. Save on school lunches with automatic reordering.
If your kids are anything like mine, they love PB&J sandwiches. This means your family is probably going through multiple jars of peanut butter, jelly, and Ziploc bags to put them in every month. Why not subscribe (have products shipped to you automatically at regular intervals) to these items with Amazon Subscribe & Save? You’ll save an additional 15-20% on top of any sales and coupons available, and if you subscribe to at least five items in one month, you’ll get an additional 15% off already reduced prices.
Note: With Amazon Subscribe & Save, you can edit and cancel subscription items anytime.