We all know that the holidays are the biggest shopping season of the year, but do you know what the second biggest is? If the flood of “first day of school” photos on social media hasn’t clued you in yet, then let us: it’s back-to-school shopping season, which spans from July to September.
In 2019, parents and guardians are expected to spend $519 per child on back-to-school shopping, according to Deloitte’s 12th annual back-to-school survey. In total, this year’s U.S. back-to-school spending is projected to reach $27.8 billion. That’s a lot of backpacks and calculators!
If you’re part of the quarter of all U.S. households that will be sending your kids back to class this year, you’re probably looking for any opportunities to save on back-to-school shopping. Here are 6 tips and tricks to help you save money on your next back-to-school shopping trip:
1. Stick to the List
Your child’s school will send out a list of required school supplies. If you haven’t received one yet, sit tight and resist the urge to start shopping! You don’t want to be stuck with a pile of back-to-school supplies that you don’t need.
Once you have the list in hand, consider shopping for supplies online. It’s a great way to resist impulse buys at the store, especially if you’re shopping with the kiddos, plus you’ll save on gas money and avoid the lines! Many stores — including Ibotta partners like Staples, Target, Office Depot — have local supply lists posted online, so you can add everything you need to your cart with just a few clicks. Just make sure you visit through the Ibotta app to earn cash back on your online purchases.
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Before you buy, take stock of what you’ve already got at home. Do you have a stash of office supplies that you can raid? What about an older child who can pass along pre-loved school clothes they’ve outgrown? Then, expand your search. Consider asking friends with older children if they have school supplies or clothing they no longer need. Online communities like Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor are also great places to look. You’ll reduce your impact on the planet and your bank account.
3. Comparison Shop
Prices can vary a lot from store to store, so it’s worth doing your homework (your kids will be doing theirs soon enough!) to find the best prices, especially on big-ticket items like computers, software, electronics, shoes, and coats.
4. Reap the Rewards of Loyalty Programs
We know, we know — when you’ve got a list of back-to-school supplies a mile long and a couple of kids in tow, the last thing you want to do is stand at the register and sign up for a store loyalty program. But that 30 seconds could save you some major cash. Once you’ve signed up, you can link your store loyalty accounts in the Ibotta app. Then, when it’s time for back-to-school shopping, choose offers in the Ibotta app before you head to the store, scan your loyalty card at checkout, and you’ll be able to skip uploading your receipts. You’ll get all the benefits of the in-store loyalty program plus earn cash back through Ibotta.
5. Shop September Sales
It’s tempting to do all your back-to-school shopping in one go, but good things come to those who wait. If there are items you don’t need to purchase right away, you’ll save money by waiting until September, when school supplies and clothing go on sale to make way for holiday merchandise.
6. Save More on Back-to-School Shopping with Ibotta
Save even more money on school supplies and clothing when you shop with Ibotta. If you’re shopping online, visit the Online Shopping section of the Ibotta app to make your purchases and save automatically. Shop Amazon, Target, Walmart, Office Depot, and Staples for supplies, then click over to Macy’s, TOMS Shoes, JCPenney, Belk, and for fall clothing and shoes.
Prefer to pick out the perfect back-to-school outfit in person? Add offers in the Ibotta app before you shop, then upload your receipt afterward to earn cash back. Or use the new Pay with Ibotta feature to save instantly at stores like Gap, Nike, Old Navy, American Eagle, Adidas, Foot Locker, and The Children’s Place. Connect a debit or credit card to your Ibotta app, shop at a participating retailer, and pay with Ibotta at checkout. You’ll get instant cash back on a percentage of your purchase.