Be a Smarter Back-to-School Shopper


Here are some tips on getting the most of out of your money when back-to-school shopping, courtesy of Michelle Madhok, founder of online shopping site and editor of

1. Shop Online

Online you can keep more control over the shopping cart, Madhok explains.

Searching and shopping strategically online can save you more money than shopping from the sale rack at the mall if you use the right resources. If you’re browsing stores or the mall and you find something you like, write down what you see and search for it online when you get home, says Madhok. And online retailers often offer free shipping for back-to-school shopping.

If you’re concerned about clothes fitting, keep in mind that kids sizes are more standard than adult women’s sizes for example.  “They’re designed to fit the child as they grow, and you can kind of get away with a not-perfect fit immediately,” Madhok says.

2. Comparison Shop and Use Savings Portals

Madhok recommends checking with Web sites like and that let you compare prices from various retailers.

If you have an iPhone, you can also download the app to find in-store promotions.  Your phone will show a barcode that can be scanned at the register. And you can get cash back by shopping through portals like Bank of America’s Add It Up site or Upromise.  

3. Set In-Store Strategies

If you prefer shopping in stores, buy off-season items and save them for later, Madhok suggests.  It’s a great way to get deals if you can predict what you’ll need. Try using sites like Shop it to Me or and definitely take advantage of sales tax holidays if your state has them.

4. Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk is a great way to save money on school supplies.

Team up with relatives, other families or parents of your child’s classmates and shop at Sam’s Club or office supply stores like Staples (Stock Quote: SPLS) and Office Depot (Stock Quote: ODP), Madhok suggests. Office supply stores might also offer free shipping if you spend a certain amount of money.

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