It’s that time again, the time that struck fear into the heart of my younger school-aged self, the time when back to school advertising campaigns begin. Why do they have to interrupt our carefree summer time with the looming rain cloud of school year responsibilities starting as early as July? As a parent, my dismay is less to do with the evils of approaching homework and test taking, and more to do with the many lists of back to school essentials that I’ll have to buy for my children.
While this post caters especially to those of us who have to spend more than we like to on Back to School shopping (multiple school-age children, anyone?), they are mostly methods I use to find great deals online year round.
Amazon.com: Let’s start with Amazon, because that’s usually where I start my bargain hunting and also where my search usually ends. Most online shoppers are familiar with Amazon.com and its many virtues, but just in case you aren’t aware of them, I will extoll those virtues in the following paragraphs. Not only are books, clothes and electronics usually cheaper there—much cheaper—but you have the option of buying used if you want to save some moolah, which, who doesn’t?
Back to School Central: On amazon’s home page you’ll find the link to a treasury of back to school deals to the right of the search bar. It changes seasonally. Once you click on it there are categories on the left hand side for the different back to school type purchases. Click on the categories to browse the different savings Amazon has to offer, like free shipping for the college bound, cheap school uniforms, and %20 off shoes.
Textbooks: Here’s a little gem for our college bound students. I cannot tell you how much money I saved in college on my textbooks by buying them through Amazon instead of the campus bookstore. And now Amazon has increased their textbook services to include renting and selling. This is awesome.
I kept many of my college textbooks as reference material for years. Guess how many times I actually cracked any of those babies open after finals. The answer is a big fat zero. When I need information I find that I go online, instead of sifting through the table of contents and the chapter headings for an answer that may or may not be in that book. So why spend a hundred bucks on a book you’ll only be using for four months? Or why not get some money out of it when you are done using it?
You can also get eTextbooks instead of the ten pound tomes that are hardcopies. Imagine having all your school books stored on your phone, laptop, or tablet! Plus, eTextbooks are usually much cheaper. This format was not nearly common enough back when I was in school, but now a days the digital content is pretty dang sweet. It makes searching content and keeping track of notes and highlights so much easier, plus you get additional study tools.
*please note that you’ll want to search the correct textbooks by ISBN, which can be obtained from your class booklists. Otherwise, you might end up with the wrong edition.
Electronics: If you are looking for a tablet or an eReader or a laptop there are some savings to be had. The last time I paid the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for electronics was six years ago, and that was a big exception. Before I buy anything I always look it up on Amazon to see how cheap I can get it for. Right now they’re having a sale on some electronics that are very useful for school.
Amazon Warehouse Deals: This is a little known, but very sweet section of the amazon site. The items sold in the Warehouse are verified to be in perfect working condition, usually open box or damaged box items, yet are sold for a pretty steep discount. For more details on Amazon’s Warehouse Deals, click here.
To get to the Amazon Warehouse, just click on Today’s Deals on the top bar and then Warehouse Deals just below the search bar. You can limit the findings to certain categories, which you will find on the left side of the screen, like electronics, or home and garden.
Staples: Alright, besides Amazon there are a few places that are worth checking out. Since it’s back to school season and this is arguably their time of year, go to the Staples website. They have a %110 price match guarantee (they’ll not only match, but beat advertised prices by %10) on everything in the store for the whole season. This can be redeemed on line, or at the store. I didn’t see anything as great on the Office Depot or Office Max sites.
TigerDirect: Friends, it’s about time I shared this little secret. Many tech junkies will already be aware of this site, and if you aren’t it’s time you learned. If you are looking for a new PC, laptop, tablet, TV, Phone, computer components, camera…anything electronic…this is the place. Usually the stuff on the TigerDirect site is a little bit cheaper than buying at a retail store, but the biggest potential for savings come from the Daily Deal Slasher, Overstock and Refurbished items. I recently bought my in-laws a new PC for a hundred dollars less than retail value because it was a “dent and scratch” product. When it was received I was unable to identify any aesthetic imperfections and it worked great! And all items on the site have a 30 day full refund return policy.
To get to Daily Deal Slasher, Overstock, and Refurbished discounts, just click on Deals & Gifts below the search bar.
Okay, now you are ready to tackle your back to school shopping with these money saving online strategies. There are tons more ways to save money online, just look for them!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.
I’m a technological enthusiast with a completely unrelated degree in English Literature. I’ve also been known to dabble in photography and DIY furniture refinishing, with occasional stints of fitness sprinkled among all of the above.