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Frugal Back to School Shopping Tips

By Jackie Burrell
Friday, August 7th, 2009 at 10:59 am in Kids & Tweens, Schools.

Back-to-School Survival (Laurie McAdam illus., MCT Direct) The ever-helpful Consumer Reports folks just assembled a list of frugal back-to-school shopping tips. Some of them you probably already knew – but hey, a reminder is always helpful, right? But there are some new ideas in the mix too. Take a peek, then hit “comments” and add your tips too.

Buy in bulk – Notebooks, pencils, all those things are often sold in bulk. Nowhere to store them? Or don’t think you’ll use them all? Go in on the purchase with a neighbor.

Go plain – The Hannah Montana 3-ring binder is $6, the plain version is $2.

Go classic – When you go back-to-school clothes shopping, buy polos, tees and other basics in solid neutrals and classic styles. They’re easy to mix and match, and never look dated.

Think growth – That “buy one, get the second half off” deal looks mighty tempting, but kids grow like weeds so exercise a little restraint when stocking up. Shoes that fit now, won’t by spring.

Look for online deals – No matter what you’re buying, go online to look for coupons and promotional codes first. Try or, or Google “promotion code” and the name of the retailer. One Consumer Reports reporter recently saved 45% on a purchase by using two codes at once on the Borders Web site.

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5 Responses to “Frugal Back to School Shopping Tips”

  1. Julie Says:

    I saved quite a bit this year by looking for many of the basics (like backpacks and clothing) on the web. Most online retailers mark down their already low prices pretty dramatically on this stuff. To cut down on costs this year, I made a list of the back-to-school items I needed for my family and am using a free shopping service called to let me know when any of them go on sale.

  2. Patrica Says:

    ZingSale is good but I don’t have the time to wait for deals to show up. I started using Sortprice ( back in the spring for early back to school deals and I haven’t been disappointed since. Almost done outfitting and supplying 3 kids for school and I didn’t break the bank at all.
    Editor’s note: Submitted by a SortPrice staffer.

  3. Susanne Says:

    I’m a stay at home Mom and the owner of I recently had the entire site completely re-designed and I added a bunch of new features, the main one being the ability for visitors to register as a user and submit coupons. I’m adding coupons several times/day and deleting expired coupons regularly so that the site stays up-to-date. I tried designing it with a simple layout and not too much “clutter”. It’s a strict coupon site, i.e. no internet “deals”. Hopefully you like it!

  4. Peter @ Says:

    Thanks for this informative post! I think coupons are more important than ever to people trying to save money on their shopping online. You might also want to checkout when searching the coupon codes for US online stores.

  5. MORE Frugal Back-to-School Tips | aPARENTly Speaking Says:

    […] couple of weeks ago, we featured some great, thrifty back-to-school shopping tips from the folks at Consumer Reports. Now, chimes in with a top ten ways to save […]

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