Some of the most daunting words for working moms are "back to school." This phrase often creates thoughts of crowded shopping malls where you're left to fend for yourself with a long list of school supplies, clothing, books, and computer-related products. Get ready for the back to school rush!
In the past, back to school deals appeared in newspaper advertisements and on television commercials right before Labor Day. But now all of August has been unofficially designated back to school month. In fact, parents are bombarded with back to school deals that arrive in their e-mail inbox and via snail mail for weeks before school starts. While you're juggling the preparation for that big presentation at work, vacations at the beach, and cooking dinner every night, you're constantly scanning the web and tabloid circulars for the best back to school deals.
Instead of scrambling last minute for back to school deals, use these helpful tips to save time and money:
Subscribe to Mailing Lists. If you love to shop in a particular store for your children's clothing or if they wear school uniforms and you must shop at a certain vendor, make sure you're on that merchant's mailing list. This will allow you to be among the first to know about back to school deals, and the items -- from backpacks to jeans -- that will be on sale.
Cut Coupons. The web is filled with both printable in-store coupons and online coupons that can be used for a percentage off your purchases. How can you find these invaluable coupon codes? Simply put the store name and the word "coupons" in quotes in a search engine, and you'll be surprised what you'll find.
Don't Be Fooled by Inflated Sales. If a certain store or online merchant is advertising back to school deals, make sure prices haven't first been inflated so it only appears that you're getting a price break. For example, if backpacks at a store usually cost between $20 and $40, and a sale has these items listed with original prices of $24 to $45 then you're not getting the best deal.
Buy Only What You Really Need. When you think you're getting a good deal, you may be tempted to overbuy items you think your children will need, but really don't. Don't purchase three boxes of pencils when you know your kids will only use two. Remember: back to school deals aren't the only ones you'll encounter. There's the Halloween, Black Friday and after-Christmas sales that will follow.
Take Advantage of Free Shipping Offers. Online merchants will often offer free shipping if you spend a certain dollar amount. So if you have to spend $150 to get free shipping, wait until you have $150 worth of items to buy, and get them all at the same time at one online vendor.
Don't Impulse Shop. Working moms have little time to shop, and therefore might be tempted to take advantage of the first back to school deal that pops up on the computer screen. Instead, take a few days, a week or even a month to scout out the best deals when you have a few minutes to spare, and decide what is really needed.
Make a List and Stick to It. When you're shopping for back to school items you'll often find yourself browsing the racks and shelves for other products and apparel as well. If you're truly looking for deals, then just shop for what you need. Give yourself a back to school budget and don't overspend!