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  • Writer's pictureLisa Lee Freeman

5 clever back-to-school shopping hacks

The back-to-school season is already in full swing. It’s the second biggest spending event of the year—second only to the winter holidays. And retailers are advertising big sales that will continue for the next two months. More parents are starting their back-to-school shopping earlier. Almost a third begin a month or two before the first school day, and nearly 50% start three to four weeks in advance, according to the National Retail Federation. And many parents are spreading out their shopping, which is a smart strategy (see tip No. 4!).

  1. Take advantage of tax holidays. The busiest day for back-to-school shopping is August 5, according to a survey by Retailmenot, and many states will be having tax-free holidays around that time. To find out when your state gives you a break, go to You still have time to take advantage of tax-free shopping in Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and Texas. Check the list for more info!

  2. Make a list and set a budget for each kid. Figure out what you need (see if your school posts lists for supplies; you can also check school lists at and and then let your little ones know what they have to spend. That way, you can keep a lid on unreasonable requests! Also, you can make a list on apps like Flipp, which help you keep track and round up coupons for those items.

  3. Join a warehouse club with a friend. Costco and Sam’s Club have some of the best deals on bulk items and electronics. Split the cost of a membership with a friend and you can save together all school year long!

  4. Cherry-pick the best deals. Use flyer apps like Flipp, Retale, and Shopular to stay on top of the local ads and take advantage of special doorbuster-style deals each week. Every Sunday, see what’s on special, buy those items that week, and move on!

  5. Use money-saving tools. Rebate apps for your phone and computer like Honey, eBates, Piggy, Ibotta, and Checkout51 are great ways to double your discounts—they can add rebates on top of coupons and sales. And don’t forget to check sites like Thekrazycouponlady, Retailmenot, CouponSherpa, and for more deals.

  6. BONUS TIP: Your student can sign up for a free 6-month trial of Amazon Prime, just in time for the back-to-school shopping season. After that, students get 50% off their membership fee. Also, use Amazon's app to compare prices while you're out shopping.

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