Where To Shop for Back To School

Diane Labombarbe

 Back to school shopping is all about getting what your children need for school at the best price possible.  To get the best prices, it helps to know when and where to go for the best deals.

Box Stores  Stores like Wal-mart and Target have a large selection of school supplies at good prices during the back-to-school shopping season.  If you have to buy everything in one trip, these stores will have you covered at a good price.

 The better strategy is to watch different stores for different prices over the months leading up to and shortly after school begins.  Many box stores offer price matching, where they will match a competitor's price for an identical brand and size of an item.  

To get the prices, watch weekly circular flyers and check online price comparison sites like Nextag to see which stores have the best prices on items that you need for back to school.

Amazon.com The mass online retailer has simplified one site online shopping.  If you dread going to stores, you can shop from home for all of your back to school needs at the Amazon website.  If you have Amazon Prime you can shop without paying for shipping.  The online retailer offers specials and sales that change on a daily or weekly basis, making it worthwhile to check the website often for the best deals.  

Amazon also has a passive fundraiser program - Amazon Smile!

- where your purchase can go to benefit a charity or non-profit of you choice.  Your school booster clubs or PTA/PTO can sign up, allowing all parents who shop the online retailer to support their schools at the same time.

Thrift and Consignment Stores can be good choices for back-to-school clothes and backpacks.

 Gently used items that elementary school age children have simply outgrown can be found at great prices in these shops. Older children and teens can find timeless basics and fashions from the last few seasons that still have staying power as well.  This can often be a great option to get top quality brands at low prices.  

Dollar Stores will carry consumable school supplies and find fun school knick-knacks for great savings.  These stores will get brand name quality supplies in at varying times.  Just swing in for a quick look to see what dollar stores are carrying before heading off to the other stores.

Your Own House  Really, this is the first place you should look once you know what you need to get for back-to-school shopping.  Did you stock up on loss leaders last school year and still have enough for this year?  Don't purchase duplicates.  Did you buy the backpack with a lifetime guarantee and it still fits your child?  No need to buy a new one.  

Office Supply Stores Like Office Depot and Staples offer great loss leader sales.

 Sometimes these stores have the best price on electronic items like calculators, tablets and laptops.  Generally the basic supplies that are not loss leaders will have lukewarm pricing, so be sure to compare prices before you purchase.

Be sure to keep your receipts for back-to-school shopping.  With so many retailers offering great deals at different times, you may find a better deal on an item once you have purchased it elsewhere.  If yo have the receipt, you may be able to return the higher-priced item.

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