The Ultimate Back to School Guide for Every Grade

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Back to school season is here and with it the long lists of things your kids need before the new year begins. From elementary school to college, there is so much gear they need it’s a little overwhelming.

There’s notebooks and pens, backpacks and lunch boxes, new clothes and shoes (especially for young kids who grow like crazy), and even computers and dorm decor for those entering college.

To help you through the process we’ve put together a few guides based on age, to help you quickly find quality gear at an affordable price your kid is sure to love. We’ll also share some tips on saving money along the way.

Back to School Guides

Saving Money on Back To School Shopping

The cost of all that back to school gear your kids need can be terrifying. To help you out, here’s a few easy suggestions for saving a few bucks.

Rebate Programs

Before you dive deep into back to school shopping we recommend signing up for a rebate program if you’ll be doing a lot of your shopping online. While there are a few programs out there Ebates is probably the most well known and widely used. The way it works is you visit the Ebates website before going shopping at your online website of choice.

So for example, if you wanted to shop at JCPenny for some kids clothes you would visit Ebates, search for JCPenny and then click their link to start shopping. On Ebates you can see how much cash back you’ll receive.

It sounds a bit annoying to have to visit another site before going shopping I know, fortunately, Ebates rolled out a Chrome extension that automatically does this for you. After installing the extension, when you visit a website that has a cashback offer a popup appears notifying you.

Just click activate and boom, you’re earning money back. Plus they’ll let you know if there are any active coupon codes you can use. You can sign up for Ebates here to receive a little bonus towards your earnings. (This is an affiliate link so if you use it we’ll get a little bonus too to help keep our servers running). 

Shop The Sales

August is when many back to school sales start rolling out so hold off until then if you can. If you already know the main stores you’ll be shopping, sign up for their email newsletters. Often they’ll have exclusive promotions there that they don’t share in stores. You’ll also often get an early notice when those sales will start rolling out.

Also consider getting a jump start on your back to school shopping during the Amazon Prime Day promotion. While some of their discounts aren’t really deals, if you dig around you can usually find a few good prices on stuff you actually need. To find out if your getting a good price or not we recommend using CamelCamelCamel (weird name but awesome tool).

Just copy the url of the item your looking at, head over to the CamelCamelCamel website and paste it in their search bar. Then they’ll let you know the price history of that item if they have it.

They also have a Chrome extension that makes that process way easier. I mainly use this tool to make sure I’m not paying the all time high price. As you can see in the video, those composition notebooks have varied from $20 to $5.73.

Find Used Items

When it comes to shopping for kids clothes we love picking up used items. With all of the tech we have today this process has become so incredibly easy. Here’s how we shop around for used kids clothes.

First and foremost we talk with our friends. We have received so many clothes for free or next to nothing from friends whose kids have outgrown their old clothes.They know they won’t use them again and are often more than happy to give them to a friend.

Consignment stores and thrift stores are our next favorite place to go. Consignment stores like Kid-to-Kid and Once Upon A Child are typically a little more expensive then thrift stores but the clothes are usually higher quality than I’ve seen in many thrift stores. These specialty consignment stores usually have a much larger selection as well.

Another great place to check is garage sales, Facebook garage sale groups, and reuse apps like Offerup and LetGo. To find really good deals you’ll have to search through these on a more regular basis but we’ve found some fantastic deals, particularly in Facebook garage sale groups.

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