How to save money on back to school shopping

I am looking at the calendar and it’s mid August, which means it might be time for some back to school shopping. Today, I have several tips to help you moms and dads out there outfit your kids with clothes and school gear, while trying to be mindful of your budget. But, what’s great about these tips is that they are good for any shopping purchase and season.

Let’s look at a few basic things that your child might need for back to school preparation. I am thinking notebooks and paper, that sort of thing. First, a few days ago I discussed how you can use Amazon Prime to get unlimited shipping when you buy eligible products. Especially if you forget something that you need in a timely fashion, Amazon is a great back up plan. Bonus tip is that they might be able to deliver same day for a nominal cost.

back to school
back to school photo credit: olibac

Second, if you are able to plan a bit in advance, buying a discounted gift card is an awesome way to save a few bucks on something you were going to buy anyway. Visit Gift Card Granny or Raise which have a substantial amount of discounted gift cards for your favorite stores.

Third, I cannot overstate the benefit of reviewing weekly sales flyers for your grocery, drugstores, and office supply stores. If you don’t get a newspaper on a regular basis, visit Shoplocal for the latest weekly deals at these stores.

Fourth, coupons of course, are your go-to for saving. Cruise sites like Retail Me Not and see what coupons might be available from your preferred retailer. Bonus tip here is that if you see that a particular product, such as notepaper, is on sale at a drug store, see if there’s an additional coupon for that store.


Going back to school is probably already stressful enough for your child, but your wallet doesn’t have to be agitated as well.

Get free shipping while shopping online

Getting free shipping can be a huge factor in your decision to buy a product online or in the store. For example, bulky objects, like laundry detergent, can really be a wallet drainer if you are trying to buy everyday household goods online. Today, I will show you how to get free or low cost shipping from major retailers to make shopping online worth while. Let’s break out three principal options:

First, for many retailers, such as Amazon, getting free shipping is as easy as spending a minimum amount of money, $35 on eligible items, in their case. While I never encourage buying more than one needs to, it is easy to get to $35 pretty quickly on staple items. Thinking out of the box here, toothpaste, shampoo, socks, laundry detergent, and batteries. Amazon also offers its Prime Service. This is not free, but does cost $99/year. Ok, I know that’s unfortunate, but I think it’s a bargain. Here’s why: in addition to paying no shipping cost on eligible items, with no minimum amount purchased (I bought a $9 notebook recently and paid no shipping), you can get unlimited streaming of movies, television shows, and music. Think of this as Netflix on steroids.

Another option, which is totally free to certain American Express credit card customers, is Shop Runner. Shop Runner is normally $79/year and it includes unlimited shipping for a variety of retailers such as and even Domino’s pizza! If you have an eligible American Express card than this is a no-brainer option. Even if you aren’t a frequent customer of their retailers, it only takes a few transactions for the annual fee to pay for itself. For example, at FTD, the florist, Shop Runner members either pay nothing for shipping or have service charges waived. That’s huge and can be easily $20.

free shipping
Free shipping!

The final option, which is essentially similar to using RetailMeNot to find coupons, is Free

free shipping

With this site, you simply search for the retailer from where you are shopping and see if you can get shipping costs waived for your purchase. It might be a special coupon code, or minimum spending amount to meet.

There are definitely options out there to reduce or get completely free shipping, making online shopping that much more of an attractive buying option. These resources should help.