Smart Buying

Score Big Back-to-School Savings

It's that time of year -- time to load up on pencils, paper, notebooks and other back-to-school items for your kids.

It's that time of year -- time to load up on pencils, paper, notebooks and other back-to-school items for your kids. Make sure you don't spend more than you have to preparing your child for the classroom.

Starting in August, 16 states and the District of Columbia will let you skip sales taxes on school supplies, computers, clothes and other merchandise on specific dates.  See our guide for the specific dates and states.  Even if you don't live in one of those states, you still can score big savings. Below we have ten tips from the experts -- Sok Verdery, chief executive of CouponShack.com, and Ellie Kay, a mother of seven who is known as America's Family Financial Expert.

10 Tips for Back-to-School Savings

Set a budget. Let your children know how much they can spend so they buy only what they need. Kay says you can motivate them to keep spending under control by telling them they can keep any cash they don't spend.

Look for a coupon first before making any purchase. CouponShack.com has a long list of back-to-school coupon codes.

Layer the savings. When shopping online, look for sale items where you can also use a coupon or code to save even more on the price or shipping, or to get free products.Shop early for back to school gear. The best deals are with limited quantity closeout items.Check for student discounts. Stores such as Apple offer discounts just for students. All it asks for is your name and school you are attending.

Sign up for e-mail alerts from back to school retailers.

Look for refurbished items, such as computers, with an extended warranty.

Save on shipping. Look for free-shipping coupons. Or shop at online retailers that also have physical stores in the town where your child is attending college so the item can be sent to the store and you won't have to pay shipping.

Buy items in bulk to take advantage of larger discount coupons that give bigger savings for spending more. Places such as Staples offer bulk discounts and free shipping.

Buy used books. Shop online at Alibris or eCampus.com, where you can purchase directly from individual sellers.

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