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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School Shopping Tips & Tools

Best Back-To-School Shopping Tips & Tools

According to The National Retail Foundation, parents expect to spend an average $603.63 on clothing, supplies and electronics for back-to-school. While this is the second biggest shopping period of the year, your back-to-school shopping list doesn't have to ring up in the hundreds of dollars.  Before joining the back-to-school frenzy, take a look at Credit Karma’s back-to-school shopping tips and tools to get an A+ on your savings.

Cool Tool: Let the sales come to you with, a nifty website that aggregates retail sales in your area. With a dedicated Back-to-School section, chart your shopping trip according to the sales and, with some smart planning, you won’t have to pay full price for anything.

Terrific Tip: Sign up for e-mail alerts from your favorite retail stores, especially for clothing. You’ll be the first to know when special one-day sales, online promotions, or daily deals are afoot, so work these special savings opportunities into your shopping game plan.

Cool Tool: Earn cash on back-to-school expenses by shopping with a cash back credit card. Earning 1-5% cash back on every purchase effectively shaves a few dollars off your bill, especially since you’re spending more than usual this time of year. Just make sure you pay the bill in full at the end of the month! A good choice for excellent credit is the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express; for fair credit, check out the Capital One No Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Terrific Tip: Follow stores on Facebook and Twitter, another great real-time source for the latest deals, especially for electronics like laptops, smartphones, and mp3 players. The key is to act as soon as you get word of the deal; these social media tips are great for significant savings on big-ticket items, but they sell out quick.

Cool Tool: Get an upper hand shopping in-store with your smartphone. Use price-comparison smartphone apps, like Compare Everywhere for Android, Red Laser for iPhone, or ShopSavvy for Android and iPhone, to swipe product bar codes and check for cheaper prices online and at other brick-and-mortar stores. You can check if your kid’s most-wanted Captain America backpack is cheaper a few blocks down.

Terrific Tip: Before hitting the mall, shop your own home first. You’d be surprised how many school supplies you already have tucked in drawers, closets, and under your kids’ beds. Take a full inventory of supplies, equipment and clothing that will work for the coming school year so you can cross a few things off your list before spending a penny.

“Split your back-to-school shopping list into two columns of needs and wants,” suggests Justine Rivero, Credit Advisor at Credit Karma. “This will help prioritize your spending and set aside the super-cool lunchbox your child wants (unless there is a great deal for it)."

First things first—shop smart on what you really need and avoid overspending.

Justine Rivero is the Credit Advisor and resident Credit Rockstar for Credit Karma, the pro-consumer credit advocate that helps more than 2.6 million consumers realize the everyday cost savings of having great credit health.  Credit Karma provided this useful article for me to share with my readers!

1 comment:

  1. I'll probably end up using a credit card for all of my back to school shopping for my kids this year, but I'd like to get the best rewards I can. Does anyone know of any good offers?


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