Tips to Save Money on Back-to-School Shopping in 2022

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Sharpen your pencils and fill your backpacks because schools will be back in session before you know it. Each new school year often means a new set of supplies, clothes, or a new tech gadget — or maybe all three.

According to the National Retail Federation’s Back-to-School 2022 survey, families plan to spend an average of $864 on back-to-school supplies this year. Among students and their families, that number climbs to $1,199.

With countless back-to-school deals and discounts, it’s important to be wise when choosing your items so you don’t overspend or buy unnecessary products. Before you start shopping, read these tips to help you save money on all things back to school.

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Pay with the correct credit card

Credit cards can help you save in two ways. First, by paying with the right card, you may be able to earn generous cash back and/or benefit from the 0% APR introductory periods of certain cards. Second, many credit card issuers offer exclusive, limited-time offers through cardholder programs such as Amex offers and Chase offers, which usually involve more opportunities to score bonus points or discounts. in silver. Note that activation may be required to participate in these types of offers.

One of the best cards for maximizing back-to-school purchases is the Citi® Double Cash Card. Cardholders can earn a $200 welcome bonus after spending $1,500 within the first six months of account opening, plus 2% cash back on all qualifying purchases, or 1% cash back in cash on purchases and an additional 1% once you’ve paid your bill.

Citi® Dual Charge Card

  • Awards

    2% Cash Back: 1% on all qualifying purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • welcome bonus

    For a limited time, get $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening.

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

    For balance transfers made within 4 months of account opening, an initial balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

If you’ve got a lot on your shopping list, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card and its generous welcome bonus of 1.5% extra cash back on up to $20,000 in spend in your first year. account membership – this basically increases your income. 6.5% cash back potential on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% cash back on restaurant and drugstore purchases and 3% cash back on all other expenses.

After that, you’ll earn regular reward rates of 5% cash back for travel purchased directly through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back when you shop at drugstores, and dine out (including takeaways). takeout and select delivery services) and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Hunt Unlimited Freedom®

  • Awards

    Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and restaurant meals, including eligible takeout and delivery services, and 1.5% on all other purchases

  • welcome bonus

    Earn an extra 1.5% on everything you buy (up to $20,000 spent in the first year) – worth up to $300 in cash back. That’s 6.5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 4.5% on restaurants and drugstores, and 3% on all other purchases.

  • Annual subscription

  • Introduction AVR

    0% for the first 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers

  • Regular APR

  • Balance Transfer Fee

    Introductory fee of $5 or 3% of each transfer amount, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that, either $5 or 5% of each transfer amount, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fees

  • Credit needed

Make a list and think twice about each item

It’s a simple but important tip: write what you need, not what you want. Maybe it’s highlighters, a pair of jeans, or a calculator. Before adding an item to the list, imagine how you would use it in your daily life as a student, how often you would use it, and why you want it in the first place.

Don’t buy something just because you see your peers adding it to their cart, and think deeply about how the item will improve your school experience. Once your list is complete, it will mentally prompt you to stick to just those items, saving you money at checkout.

Buy Used or Refurbished Items

There are plenty of apps and sites to help you find any used or refurbished items on your list, including Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Etsy, Depop, and Mercari, among countless others.

Whether you’re buying textbooks, electronics, or clothing, you’ll pay less this way than buying the item new. Additionally, you can usually find discounted items in “like new” condition on most of these platforms.

Go through a shopping portal

Shopping portals such as Rakuten allow you to earn cash back, points or bonus airline miles for your purchases in addition to the rewards you already earn using your credit card.

Just search for the merchant you want to shop from on any of these portals, then click on it to be redirected to their website. Place your order as you normally would, and with just a few more clicks, you’ll earn extra rewards. For example, as of this writing, you can earn an additional 2% at Apple, Staples, and Office Depot by purchasing through Rakuten.

Pro tip: Eligible American Express cardholders can choose to earn Membership Rewards® points instead of cash back for purchases made through Rakuten.

Take advantage of promo codes

Although you have to scour the web to find them, there are often coupons or promotional codes that can help you save even more money. CouponCabin and RetailMeNot can be good places to start when looking for coupons.

Use browser extensions to compare offers

You might think you’ve found the best deal, but chances are there are still better prices waiting to be discovered.

Browser extensions like Honey find them for you so you don’t have to scour every website to find your lowest priced pencil case available on the internet. In addition to price comparisons, browser extensions can also automatically apply coupons at checkout or help you earn money while shopping online.

Take advantage of student discounts

With a simple Google search, you’ll find listings of stores in all categories that will mark items if you flash your student ID. For example, Apple, Microsoft, H&M, Madewell, American Eagle, and Goodwill all offer student-only discounts.

You can also take advantage of student discounts through sites like Unidays and Student Beans or by signing up for a discounted Amazon Prime Student membership. Note that these discounts are generally for higher education students, although they sometimes extend to grades K-12.

If you live in certain states, shop during sales tax holidays

To help ease the financial burden, several states offer sales tax relief for back-to-school supplies. For example, if you live in Maryland, shop August 14-20 for savings of up to $100 on clothing and shoes. Check out the list of 2022 sales tax holidays to see this year’s options.

At the end of the line

It can be easy to buy that extra gadget or an overpriced backpack when you’re not deploying tools like these to help save you money. Whether you’re just looking for new pens or shopping for a whole new wardrobe, there are always ways to be more price conscious and find better deals. By using these tips and tricks, you can avoid overspending this back to school season.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analyses, criticisms or recommendations expressed in this article are those of Select’s editorial staff only and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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