Back-to-School Shopping for the Savings Impaired

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Back-to-School: The Art of the Deal


Have you ever wondered how some moms seem to always be able to save money and find all of the good deals? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not something that happened over night. The art of the deal is something that has probably been ingrained and cultivated in them. If you’re not one of those moms, don’t worry. I’m gonna let you in on the secrets!

Photo Credit: London Scout

Start with a List

I am a Type-A chronic list maker. Before I got a smartphone, I would have scraps of paper floating around in my purse with lists scribbled on them. Now that I’ve upgraded, I make good use of my notes app in my iPhone. Always have in mind, what it is that you’re back-to-school shopping for before you step foot in a store or click the first link online. If you’re like me, your mind goes completely blank anyway when you step into the store, hence the list. Having a list will make sure that you don’t buy unnecessary items…okay, it will discourage you from buying unnecessary items and duplicates.

Begin at the Clearance Racks

Whether you’re online or in the store, start at the clearance racks. Why pay more for something that is going to end up on the clearance rack in a few weeks anyway? If you’re online, it’s especially vital that you start with the clearance and sale items first. Why? Because those items go quickly online, you can’t see who you’re up against, and popular sizes disappear like magic!

Target Clearance Haul

Take Advantage of Apps

I am a tech-loving mama! I have more than a few ways to save money online.

  • Ebates: This is a site that pays you back for shopping  at participating online stores. The pay-back amount is a percentage that varies by store, and some stores offer double cash back. The amount may not be huge, but if you’re spending a moderate amount of money online, it can add up. My lifetime cash back total so far is $112.56, and I’ll be receiving a “big fat check” in August for $24.01 deposited straight into my Paypal account. They pay out every 3 months as long as our balance is $5.01 or more. The trick is that you have to remember to activate the savings before you check out. You can either download the app or use the online version.
Ebate’s Activation Prompt
  • Ebay: Don’t sleep on the ‘bay. We all know how quickly kids grow out of clothes and shoes. Often times you are able to find clothing and shoes on Ebay that are new with tags (NWT) or in great used condition for affordable prices. My sons attend private school, so they have to wear Lands’ End uniforms. Ask me if I spend $30 per pair of pants and $18 or more on uniform shirts–I don’t think so! Read the post on how I beat the system by buying Lands’ End’s iron knee pants every year for back-to-school. Sometimes I get “lucky” and find them on Ebay, and I can’t hit the Ebates and “checkout” buttons fast enough! Recently Ebay has started a rewards program similar to Ebates. They call it Ebay Bucks. The pay out is 1% of qualified purchases and pays out every 3 months; no minimum required. Unlike Ebates, Ebay’s rewards can only be redeemed toward a purchase on Ebay.
  • Target Cartwheel & Redcard: Target has a money saving app for your smartphone. You can search for savings by category, collections, by item, or have them recommend deals to you based on your spending history. The savings are offered on different items and vary, but they usually start at 5% and go upward. Target also offers a debit or credit Redcard. I have a the debit Redcard, and whenever I make a purchase the amount is debited from my checking account. The benefits of using the card are the 5% savings on your purchase and the future offers tailored to your spending history.


Save the Day

I could go on and on about how to get the most bang for your back-to-school buck, but I don’t want to keep you from getting your hands on some of the good deals! If you walk away with nothing else from this post, remember to: Start with a list, begin at the clearance and sales rack, and take advantage of apps. Now go out and save the day!

woman, mother, wife

Takiela clipped her first coupon in elementary school. She shopped her first thrift store in high school. This girl knows a thing or two about saving money. She became an online entrepreneur & blogger at Suthern Twang in 2016 for two reasons: because she was a thriftaholic and because she had a dream to fire her bosses. Take the journey with her from employee to full-time girl boss at SuthernTwang.Com as she side hustles her way to freedom!


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