Let’s take a look at some of the most timely and valuable strategies:
- Wait it out: According to Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial, it’s best to let the kids wear their summer clothes to school for a few weeks. Once Sept. 15 or so rolls around, parents can hit the stores and retail websites and get a decent discount on shirts, pants, shoes and even school supplies as retailers try to shed their back-to-school wares and get ready for the holidays.
- Don’t “over-bargain” shop: Gallegos says that one common mistake among back-to-school shoppers is buying too many clothes and supplies because the price is so low whether they need the item or not. Just because Staples has a 20% markdown on rulers doesn’t mean you need to buy 20 of them. “Overdoing bargain shopping can be just as hazardous as overspending at regular retail prices,” Gallegos advises.
- Stick to cash: Freedom Financial says that consumers who avoid credit cards and use cash are much more likely to stay on budget and buy what they need. One exception is credit card rewards – if you have accumulated ample rewards points. Just be sure to pay the credit card balance down in full and you’ll come out ahead of the game.
- Draw a line in the sand with ads: Gallegos says consumers can use one advertisement/coupon supplement from a store against all the others. “Don’t waste gas driving from store to store,” Gallegos offers. “Take sales circulars with you and ask a manager to price match.”
- Club it: Warehouse clubs can be a valuable tool for discount-seeking parents. “The selection is limited, but the items usually are high quality and can be a great bargain,” Gallegos says. He adds that shoppers can also leverage specialty items such as long-distance phone cards and low gas prices for Junior’s trip back to college.