As students across the country prepare to head back to school, one thing on the minds of parents is back-to-school shopping for supplies. Pencils and pens, binders and notebooks, scissors and ruler -- the shopping list seems to never end.
But stocking up on school supplies doesn't have to be a headache. There are a multitude of digital ways to save money and time, helping make life a little easier.
One simple way to save on school supplies is to make use of coupons. But instead of looking through today's paper for coupons, try looking online.
One coupon site, RetailMeNot, has a special "Back to School" section where it features coupons, promotional codes and discounts for popular back-to-school stores such as OfficeMax and Office Depot. Flamingo World, another coupon site, offers discounts and deals at stores such as Target and Walmart. And Coupon Mountain has a "Back to School" page where it lists savings on school supplies from various stores.
Also, be sure to check the websites for office supply stores such as Office Max, Office Depot and Staples for their local weekly sales and discounts. Stores such as Walmart, Target and Kmart have postings of their sales online, as well.
Rowley also recommends signing up on a retailer's web site to have coupons sent to you and checking for deals on social media websites such as Twitter.com.
"Always check Twitter for last-minute specials before you head off to shop," she said.
You can follow these coupon sites on Twitter to get the latest updates:
Price Comparison Sites
If you want to know what store to shop at to get the lowest price, price comparison websites make finding the best deals quick and easy. The sites allow you to type in a particular item such as colored pencils or backpacks and compare the prices at a variety of stores. Google Shopping, Bizrate, PriceGrabber and Sccope are all sites for comparing prices for the items on your school supplies list.
"The web makes pricing completely transparent," Rowley said. "Parents can comparison shop stores without ever leaving the house. They can also get a very clear picture of what an item costs, which helps them budget more accurately for the season."
You can also follow these price comparison sites on Twitter to get the latest updates:
Another way to shop for school supplies is through swapping web sites. These sites allow people to swap things they already have for things they need, a digital trading post of sorts.
Swapping sites are especially great when shopping for required reading materials. One of the sites is Swaptree, which allows you to create a "have" list and a "want" list. According to the site, "Swaptree will show you all of the items that you can receive for your items. Clicking on a 'GET NOW' link next to an item will show more information about both the item and the trader you will be receiving the item from. Once the other traders accept, the trade is complete and you will then be provided the shipping address where you need to ship your item."