Giveaway: Win a $25 Visa Gift Card by Sharing Your Best Back-to-School Tips! (US, Ends 8/18)

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Are you ready for your kids to go back-to-school?  It’s so fun to ask moms right about now, “When do your kids start school?”   If they answer, “I’m not sure… I think three weeks…”, they are probably having a good summer.  Answers range from the unsure to, “20 days, 4 hours, and 36 seconds”.  You know that mom is READY for school to start!

Rosie and her BFF did their school supply shopping last week.  We celebrated with strawberry smoothies afterwards!

Do you have any tips for back-to-school shopping?  

Share your best back-to-school shopping tips and tricks in the comments below and you will be entered to win a $25 Visa Gift Card!  

You can share as many as five tips – write a separate comment for each one.  Open to US residents only.  Giveaway ends at midnight EST on 8/18/2012.  Good luck!

Disclosure of Material Connection:  The prize is provided by Visa.  I was not compensated in any way.


  1. 1
    Kelly D says:

    Shop online for deals.

  2. 2
    Kelly D says:

    Price match at Walmart to avoid multiple trips & save on gas

  3. 3
    Kelly D says:

    Search through Sunday circulars for the best sales.

  4. 4
    Alicia K says:

    dollar stores are GREAT for things like index cards

  5. 5
    Alicia K says:

    bring your coupon book/binder. you never know what sales or clearances will be hiding

  6. 6
    Alicia K says:

    stock up on nonperishable snack foods during the back to school sales. they won’t go bad and will just go up in price as the year goes on

  7. 7
    Alicia K says:

    if you need electronics, buy them now!!!

  8. 8
    Alicia K says:

    if you know you’ll do a lot of shopping at a specific store, buy a gift card for less online so you’ll save a bit

  9. 9

    Shop early! Even if you do not head back to school until after Labor Day (like in NY), the national retailers do their sales in July and August. Keep your list with you at all times and be ready to check items off

  10. 10

    print coupons ahead of time and shop in the morning when stores are less crowded.

  11. 11

    Matching coupons with sales! I’ve gotten several packages of free pens lately!

  12. 12
    Mami2jcn says:

    Check out the clearance racks.

  13. 13
    Mami2jcn says:

    Shop for clothes off-season.

  14. 14
    Mami2jcn says:

    Don’t forget about consignment shops.

  15. 15
    Mami2jcn says:

    Shop eBay and/or Craigslist.

  16. 16
    Mami2jcn says:

    Take advantage of your state’s tax free weekend.

  17. 17

    I like to check the store ads for the best deals :-)

  18. 18
    Mary Beth Elderton says:

    Inventory what you already have before shopping. For example, maybe the skirt that still fits from a cute outfit last Spring could be part of a new cute outfit this Fall.

  19. 19
    Stacy T. says:

    Compare sales ads, then take multiple ads to one store to save on gas.

  20. 20
    Kimberly Schotz says:

    Stock up on school supplies to last through the year now while things are on sales and prices are low.

  21. 21
    Janet W. says:

    Shop ahead of season so you prepared when you need those items.

  22. 22
    Janet W. says:

    Always check the clearance sections of stores.

  23. 23
    Janet W. says:

    Shop around online for the best deals before going out to the stores.

  24. 24
    Kimberly Schotz says:

    Look to the dollar store for basic school supplies such as poster board.

  25. 25
    Janet W. says:

    Always try to use coupons if possible and match them up with products already on sale to maximize your savings.

  26. 26
    Kimberly Schotz says:

    Check the Internet for great deals on backpacks and lunch boxes.

  27. 27
    Kimberly Schotz says:

    Compare store adds to get the best deals

  28. 28
    Janet W. says:

    Try to avoid the bundle deals. Usually you can end up getting individual products on sale at a cheaper price each than what it costs in a bundle.

  29. 29
    Kimberly Schotz says:

    I have gotten lots of great high quality school supplies at Costco

  30. 30

    Buy things throughout the year to get the best deals – don’t wait until the last minute when nothing is on sale!

  31. 31
    D Schmidt says:

    My best tip is to shop online and go to the coupon websites to try to find extra saving coupons.

  32. 32

    I shop during the state tax free back to school shopping days. (Some states though do not have these).

  33. 33

    Take advantage of the sales and don’t be afraid to combine sales with coupons. I love to save my kohls cash that I earn throughout the year and save it up for back to school or christmas. Plus I always search for coupons online. Some stores have special coupons you can get online or on their facebook pages that you can combine with sales.

  34. 34

    Save your receipts. Not only for returns if you need them but a lot of times at the bottom of the receipts there are surveys you can take to get coupons. Then save these for even more savings later on!

  35. 35
    Stefanie Gladden(ann lyfe) says:

    find all online coupons and newspaper coupons, and visit forums to find the best deals!!

  36. 36

    Have a garage sale to get rid of things you don’t need and use the money to buy new stuff.

  37. 37
    Jessie C. says:

    Use cash back site and shop online

  38. 38
    Jessie C. says:

    check clearance racks

  39. 39
    Jessie C. says:

    Don’t forget price match in some stores

  40. 40
    Jessie C. says:

    shop during tax free days

  41. 41
    Krystal Larson says:

    Make sure you go through past school things to see if it has all been used (I always have binders left over) before you buy more.

  42. 42
    Krystal Larson says:

    Check product websites for special coupons

  43. 43
    Krystal Larson says:

    We shop for school stuff either right after the rush or way before.

  44. 44
    Krystal Larson says:

    Avoid buying more than a few of those “pretty folders/spirals”

  45. 45

    Teach your kids how to make their own lunch

  46. 46

    Save money for school projects

  47. 47
    kelly nicholson says:

    wake uo earlier to get yer limbs moveing

  48. 48
    joanne major says:

    buy supplies when on sale and for the year. Like notebooks will cost about 15 cents on sale. buy alot for the year. later they will be like $1.89 each

  49. 49

    Use coupons/discounts whenever you can!

  50. 50

    Shop at office supply stores rather than at retail stores for things like paper pens markers etc. they are cheaper

  51. 51

    If possible, get a group of Moms together and exchange school clothes- especially if kids wear uniforms!

  52. 52

    Check out EBay or local advertisements for electronics the kids may need for school.

  53. 53

    If you have a child in band used is the way to go until they for sure will keep playing (until you know it isnt a whim) look on EBay or ask other parents.

  54. 54
    debbie jackson says:

    have the kids pick it out so they take care of it debbie jackson,
    djackson1958 at hotmail dot com

  55. 55

    Shop for supplies before the summer. Summer is when prices can go up.

  56. 56

    Look for coupons in the Sunday newspaper. That’s the day of the week with the most coups!

  57. 57

    Depending where you live, check out It’s a classifieds site like craigslist, but everything is free. Folks often list kids stuff.

  58. 58

    Check out yard sales. Never know what you’ll find!

  59. 59

    Ask your family and friends for hand-me-downs and second-hand items.

  60. 60

    I love the idea of giving kids (10 and up) a budget to buy their own clothes. Example: must buy 3 shirts, 3 pants, 1 shoes with $200. Teaches them so much!

  61. 61
    Jennifer B says:

    Start early so everything isn’t picked over

  62. 62
    Jennifer B says:

    Let the kids help make the decisions so they will actually use or wear what you buy

  63. 63
    Jennifer B says:

    Look not only for in store sales, but for online sales too

  64. 64
    Jennifer B says:

    I buy what we really need for the first few months then later I save up for boots, winter coat etc.. so it’s not so much at once

  65. 65
    Jennifer B says:

    I start putting money away right when school ends so I am not in panic mode when August hits.

  66. 66

    Stockpile when you find a great deal on supplies. You’ll always need more next year or they can be donated to school supply collecitons.

  67. 67
    colleen boudreau says:

    print out coupons online before you go.
    holliister at gmail dot com

  68. 68
    colleen boudreau says:

    Make a list of what you need and stick to it.
    holliister at gmail dot com

  69. 69
    colleen boudreau says:

    Have a set budget and don’t go over it.
    holliister at gmail dot com

  70. 70
    colleen boudreau says:

    Stop up on items after when the sales start.
    holliister at gmail dot com

  71. 71
    Seyma Shabbir says:

    Look for items through out the year. Many items will be on clearance or free with coupon. I save these items for when school starts up and the kids need it. If I have too many, I will donate them to the school.

  72. 72

    I shop early and when I have coupons

  73. 73

    look in the sunday paper it always has the great sales

  74. 74

    Go to second hand shops and sale all the last years clothes that no longer fit and go get some newer ones with the money you earned

  75. 75
    Amy Orvin says:

    Shop at discount stores.

  76. 76
    Amy Orvin says:

    Always use coupons

  77. 77
    Amy Orvin says:

    Stock up the year before

  78. 78
    Amy Orvin says:

    Go to the Goodwill stores for clothes.

  79. 79
    Amy Orvin says:

    Reuse same items from previous year if you can

  80. 80
    Christy says:

    I shop for school clothes at children’s consignment stores

  81. 81
    Christy says:

    I look at the circulars to see which stores have the best deals before heading out to shop.

  82. 82
    Soha Molina says:

    I make a list and stick to it.

  83. 83
    Soha Molina says:

    I wait for a school supple list before buying school su[plies and buy only what’s asked.

  84. 84
    Soha Molina says:

    I search the internet for online/in store coupons and see what offers a better deal. If shipping is free sometimes online offers are better.

  85. 85
    Michelle C says:

    I like to stock up when I find a good sale throughout the year, so I don’t have to buy everything all at once. Thanks for the chance to win!
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

  86. 86

    Label everything!

  87. 87

    use the store flyers to find the best deals!

  88. 88

    shop online at Amazon!

  89. 89

    follow TBM on twitter -mijalphoto

  90. 91

    carry around your ads so you can price match.

  91. 92

    shop early, becuase everyone is looking for the same thing you are.

  92. 93

    have as many coupons as you can for the school supplies you are buyung.

  93. 94

    take you husband with you so when its a great deal on supplies and theres a limit, he can buy some also.

  94. 95

    take advantage of the tax free days for school.

  95. 96

    I pump up my childs spirits for going back to school, buy fun and useful school supplies, try and beat the crowds, start a bedtime back up, and get new clothes!!!

  96. 97
    sarah shult says:

    I like to get my kids backpacks at garage sales or thrift stores. I can find them for about $1 – saving a ton!

  97. 98
    °•ƸӜƷ Louis ƸӜƷ•°* says:

    1) shop year round

  98. 99
    °•ƸӜƷ Louis ƸӜƷ•°* says:

    2) I get a lot of supplies in the 99 cent store – it’s amazing what you can sometimes get for under $1

  99. 100
    mrsshukra says:

    SHop online and compare prices!

  100. 101

    My tip is to save a bit of your back-to-school shopping money to spend after school has started, because your children are going to ask for things they see other kids in class wearing!

  101. 102

    A good tip is to look for buy-one-get-one deals on shoes. Lots of stores offer these, and it’s worth getting two pairs!

  102. 103

    Start early. As your shopping for summer items, scan every clearance rack you walk by. Fall is right around the corner.
    I personally have 4 kids with birthdays on different days in August. 2 of them in school, 2 starting soon.

  103. 104

    Ebates is great site if you shop online. Always start there.

  104. 105

    Teach older kids to always check the clearance racks before scanning the rest of the store. These habits last into adulthood.

  105. 106

    Don’t wait until the last minute to shop & use coupons.

  106. 107
    Cynthia R says:

    go to goodwill and some yard sales to find some clothes for back to school, coupon/flyer ad hunt for best deal on supplies, find coupons for shoes

  107. 108
    nataly carbonell says:

    I am very vigilant when it comes to making my kids go to bed early

  108. 109
    nataly carbonell says:

    I also make sure they have enough breakfast and nutrients

  109. 110

    Clean out the outgrown and least worn clothes.

  110. 111

    buy comfortable walking shoes and clothes that are easy to take off and put on when using the dressing room

  111. 112

    dont buy on impulse, dont spend a full day shopping

  112. 113

    have a set amount per kid, and thats it

  113. 114

    let your kids pick out the clothes and give them a few choices, and you have a few choices…for younger kids that is

  114. 115
    Vicki Wurgler says:

    I find great deals at garage sales-I search all summer.

  115. 116
    Natalie U says:

    I always watch the ads and online deals
    pedidentalasst at yahoo dot com

  116. 117

    Look through the ads for things that you need that are on sale.

  117. 118

    Search online for the best deals.

  118. 119

    Go through your closets and see what you need.

  119. 120

    Buy your textbooks used if you can.

  120. 121

    Shop during tax free week if you can.

  121. 122

    i use coupons to purchase back to school items that are on sale

  122. 123

    best tip- purchase enough school supplies to last you b/c they only go on sale once before school starts
    tcogbill at live dot com

  123. 124

    if you go to king soopers or safeway, they double coupons up to a dollar

  124. 125

    go to for target specific coupons

  125. 126

    if you have a target or safeway etc specific coupon, you can also use a manufacturer’s coupon on the same item

  126. 127

    check the clearance shelves at markets. cans etc might be dented but the prices are great

  127. 128

    make a bunch of pb and j sandwiches and put them in the freezer. great for days when you are running behind schedule

  128. 129
    michelle oakley warner says:

    make sure you talk with kids alot about transition into a new school or new grade and let them tell you how they feel. i have one going into high school this year and she is scared

  129. 130
    katklaw777 says:

    Only buy what is on sale!

  130. 131
    katklaw777 says:

    Check online for good deals…but make sure you get free shipping!

  131. 132
    katklaw777 says:

    Do NOT take the kids with you when you shop for school supplies…it ‘s hard to resist those begging eyes!

  132. 133
    katklaw777 says:

    Use the store flyers to get the best deals and don’t forget that many stores will match the other stores sale prices! (hint walmart)

  133. 134
    katklaw777 says:

    Shop the thrift stores for school clothes…they may not be new, but they will be new to your kids and jeans all look the same anyway.

  134. 135

    Check to see what supplies you have stored away that weren’t used last year.

  135. 136
    Seyma Shabbir says:

    Sometimes items are cheaper online, compare prices!

  136. 137

    i only buy if it’s on sale

  137. 138

    coupons coupons coupons!

  138. 139

    look at the dollar stores-they all have back to school items

  139. 140
    amy marantino says:

    i watch for sales and stock up early

  140. 141

    Shop early in the morning when everyone is fresh and ready to go

  141. 142

    Check the clearance rack and look for the next size up to put away for next year too

  142. 143

    Participate in a clothing swap/exchange with friends

  143. 144

    Buy a few extra must have school supplies so you dont run out mid year

  144. 145

    Buy mix and match outfits to make things go smoothly each morning. Choose outfit the night before for the next school day

  145. 146
    Laura Jacobson says:

    Start early!

  146. 147
    Laura Jacobson says:

    Use coupons and follow Kelly’s Lucky You for the great deals!

  147. 148
    Laura Jacobson says:

    If its a great price, stock up so you wont have to pay full price later

  148. 149
    Laura Jacobson says:

    Check Goodwill stores or your thrift stores, ours had a back to school section of new items!

  149. 150
    Laura Jacobson says:

    Check garage sales for gently used clothing

  150. 151

    Check the Sunday sale ads to find the best price on the items you will be purchasing.
    lemontart5kb at gmail dot com

  151. 152

    I always stock up on the supplies while they are cheap so you don’t have to buy again throughout the school year. I buy paper, crayons, pencils, glue, etc.
    Thanks, Karen
    lemontart5kb at gmail dot com

  152. 153

    I try to stock up on back to school snacks that are on sale at the grocery store too — ritz peanut butter snack packs, etc. They last a long time and are much cheaper this time of year!
    lemontart5kb at gmail dot com

  153. 154

    Use Craigslist for free items!

  154. 155
    Misses Giveaways says:

    Stock up! when you can get items for free get extras for next year.

  155. 156
    Misses Giveaways says:

    Do as much back to school shopping without your kids as possible. It is difficult to get good deals when your kids keep asking for things lol

  156. 157
    Misses Giveaways says:

    Coupons!! Even if its just for a few cents, it all adds up.

  157. 158

    Staples and OfficeMax offer great deals on school supplies. So shop the sales and use coupons and rebates to get the best deals

  158. 159

    I like to take all the ads from different stores with me no matter where I am shopping because most will price match! Saves me some gas and time.

  159. 160

    Shop during your state’s tax free days (if you are lucky enough to have them)!

  160. 161

    If you can wait for some items to go on clearance. Many of the items on the list are needed the first day of school. If you can combine clearance and coupons, even better!

  161. 162

    Take advantage of the office supply stores’ reward programs. They often offer 100% back in rewards on certain items.

  162. 163

    On tip for back to school is to start early and look for bargains throughout the summer! I have saved so much money this way!

  163. 164

    Buy basics in bulk! For example, buy paper, pencils, glue sticks and notebooks in bulk and they will last the whole year!

  164. 165

    I Set a budget and stick to it! I write what I can afford to buy, and I stick to the amount!

  165. 166

    Of course, I always make sure to search the web at stores such as The Gap, Old Navy and Walmart. I can usually find very good marked down items if I look all year round!

  166. 167

    Shop all year long – you can get great deals on all kinds of school supplies especially after school starts!

  167. 168

    Keep a see-through rubbermaid type container just for extra school supplies. That way you have items available throughout the year and don’t have to think about whether you bought something or not (and where did you put it) – it’s right where you can get to it!

  168. 169

    If you have more than one child, keep the old school supply lists from previous years. Our school system doesn’t vary much so I am able to see what is needed ahead of time!

  169. 170

    Our oldest just entered high school and needed one of those fancy expensive calculators – we were advised to try ebay for a used one and snagged a great deal at the beginning of the year. We saved over 1/2 the original cost!

  170. 171

    I’m always watching for deals online. Get a free ruler here, package of pens there… If you just check the papers and emails for free/cheap items, you can make a big dent with your supply list!

  171. 172
    tls simms says:

    See if some school supplies are still left over from the previous year! thanks.

  172. 173

    I shop online for deals.

  173. 174
    Tracy Robertson says:

    keep receipts, most stores will refund the difference if the item you bought goes on sale for less within 2 -4 weeks after your purchase.

  174. 175

    For first day of school, especially the very first time ever, allow the child to help you pack a small snack or lunch. If the child feels homesick he/she can anticipate the snack/lunch which gives something to focus on instead of the homesickness. Of course Mom or Dad must secretly place a sticky in the lunch bag with a happy face or short note of encouragement. The sticky usually gets them thru the second half of the day. This worked for me when I was just a wee one.

  175. 176

    Get organized – sort everything and make lists/schedules for everyone. Otherwise all those bts activities and shopping sprees turn into chaos!

  176. 177

    Start checking advertisements in June – we got everything from .01 school glue to a $99 26 inch monitor this year:)

  177. 178

    Buy ahead – we guesstimate sizes a year ahead and do a lot of our bts basics shopping during the clearance sales so we have a good start the next fall.

  178. 179

    Grab teachers gifts and party gifts early – as things clear out of the stores to make room for bts items, we get holiday, thank you, and exchange gifts so we are ready for the year.

  179. 180

    Start modifying the kids bedtimes / wake times a few weeks early. That way there isn’t as much bts “afternoon cranky”

  180. 181
    Amanda Hoffman says:

    use coupons and look for sales

  181. 182

    Watch the sales and combine them with coupons!

  182. 183
    Laura ari says:

    Shop early for all the best deals.

  183. 184
    Laura ari says:

    Check for on line coupons codes before placing orders.

  184. 185
    Terri Betz says:

    Shop the sales, armed with coupons and a list!

  185. 186
    Terri Betz says:

    Shop the consignment shops for clothes like coats and jeans!

  186. 187
    Terri Betz says:

    Don’t forget to shop the on line specials for backpackers and cute outfits!

  187. 188
    Terri Betz says:

    Craigslist clothes should also be checked out starting in Summer!

  188. 189
    Terri Betz says:

    Buy extras at the great sales and put away for during the school year!

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