I can’t believe the amount of money that is flying out of my wallet during the back-to-school buying frenzy.
There are football cleats, soccer uniforms and three pairs of shoes to purchase; eyeglasses to order; school fees to pay; and cartloads of 3-ring binders, glue sticks and colored pencils to buy. The school supply lists are as long as my arm.
With money especially tight right now as we head toward Year 2 of a one-income existence, I’ve kicked my mad bargain-hunting skillz into high gear. Here are some examples of my penny-pinching prowess:
— The seventh-graders in our school are required to have a TI-83 or TI-84 Plus graphing calculator, and believe me, these things aren’t cheap. Regularly around $120, they’re on sale now for as low as $89.99 at Staples.com and OfficeDepot.com, with rebates.
But with a little online sleuthing, I got an even pricier model, the Silver Edition, at a cheaper rate — my $5 instant savings, $15 mail-in savings, and a $20 Office Depot coupon code snagged on the Internet brought my final price to $90 (shipping and tax included).
— I found the Adidas sneakers my son wanted (listed for $75 at Zappos.com and $90 at Adidas.com) at Eastbay.com for $39.99, plus I used a coupon code to get another $6 off. An amazing deal! And they arrived on our doorstep a mere three days later. Almost too good to be true.
Note: I never buy ANYTHING online without first checking for promotional codes. There are several websites that list these reader-submitted coupons, including DealTaker.com, RetailMeNot.com and CouponCabin.com. To explore your options, just google the product, brand or store name plus the words “coupon codes,” and they’ll pop right up on your screen. Some sites even list deal expiration dates and success rates. At checkout, copy the code into the appropriate box, and you’ll experience Internet Shopping Nirvana.
And we exclusively use PayPal for online transactions. My hubby likes the protections it provides.
— My teen and tween love the resale shop Plato’s Closet (we shop at the one in Cross Pointe Shopping Center). Son always finds Levis and cargo shorts to his liking, and daughter can find all the animal-print tops her little heart desires — and for a righteous price.
— Another resale favorite of ours is Once Upon a Child, conveniently located next door to Plato’s Closet. My 4-year-old and I shopped there today, and he came out with 3 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs of school pants, a dress shirt, 2 argyle sweaters (yes, argyle — his choice!), 2 long-sleeve polo shirts, a pair of sunglasses, a jean jacket, and a pants-vest-shirt-tie combo for special occasions — all for $75.
— Kohl’s has tons of clearance-priced clothes and other bargain opportunities. I got a $5 discount for providing my e-mail address (I could opt-out of the mailings later) and $10 in Kohl’s Cash for buying a few back-to-school items, then went back to the store a few days later and cashed in on a 15% shopping pass. This cut the cost of the kids’ new backpacks considerably.
Plus, who can resist those cute plush animals they stock at the checkout counter? $5 Pooh and friends are on sale through September, with the net profit supporting kids’ health and education initiatives nationwide. (Visit the Kohl’s Cares site to learn more.)
— I also love the BOGO offers at Payless. If you buy one pair of shoes, you get the second the second half-off. There are several styles to choose from, and the clerks are always pleasant and helpful, even offering to track down desired sizes at other area Payless stores.
Daughter and I both got black American Eagle flats for $34 total.
I remember back to grade school when I soaked my parents for $50 Bass shoes, and those were 1970s prices. That’s too rich for this mom’s blood.
Got some back-to-school shopping tips of your own to share? Please do — but keep it classy. ;)Tweet