Back to School Smart Shopping


As summer winds down, children and parents are preparing for back-to-school and with that shopping for the new school year. But no one wants to bust the budget shopping for back-to-school whether shopping for clothing, shoes or supplies. So here are some money saving tips.

Shop multiple stores to save the most

Even if you love one store, be it Target or Walmart, you can take advantage of the different deals happening at each store. And that includes Staples, who often have school items for just a penny. They change their deals weekly, so be sure to check to see what’s on sale that week. And don’t forget supermarket for basic supplies. You can find great deals on pens and loose-leaf paper while getting your weekly grocery shopping done at the same time.

Choose a store based on what they offer most

For cheap prices on the basics, look to Walmart, check out Target for discounted cool fashions, and at Old Navy, JC Penney, and online vendors for the best variety and price on school uniforms. And don’t forget that shopping apps like ShopSavvy, Cartwheel, Red Laser and other can be helpful in steering you toward low price supplies.

Watch out for super cheap supplies

As much as this might sound counterintuitive, you may want to pass on those cheap backpacks selling for under $20. You know the ones that are likely to fall apart by Christmas. A better option might be to opt for backpacks that have a higher price tag that come with lifetime warranties offered by LL Bean or Jansport. And for really low- priced items like crayons and markers, does it really make sense to go super cheap when just 30 cents more might get you top quality Crayola?

Wait to buy cold weather gear

Despite the great retail displays, there’s no need to buy all that fall and winter clothing right now, especially when the kids aren’t going to wear it for a couple of months. Look instead for the current sales on summer clothes because students can wear them for at least a couple of months as well as items that they are going to wear most of the year like short sleeve polo shirts. Snap up discounted duds that can be worn well into fall and wait until late September or October to buy long pants, when they go on sale.

Take a Holiday

You may have to deal with some crowds, but think about waiting for the Sales Tax Holiday if you are shopping outside of Pennsylvania. During the Maryland Sales Tax-Free Week, August 13-19, you can avoid paying sales tax on clothing and footwear $100 or less per item. Which means a savings of $6 on every $100 worth of clothing you buy (and $300 worth will save you $21). Click here for more details on the tax holiday. Of course shopping in the Keystone State is always sales tax free on clothing – for details on the specifics, click here.

Not for parents only

Whether you are shopping for students or not, remember you will find great laptop and tablet sales starting in late July. Even if you are shopping for yourself, you can get a good deal on electronics.

And if you need some extra spending money to get you through the back-to-school season, Patriot can help with an Express Signature Loan or VISA credit card. Apply online or at any of our branches locations.

Remember the key to back-to-school shopping is to have a game plan and to stick with it. Get organized, stock up on the basics, and look for sales and promotions. Be a smart shopper on back to school expenses.