Aug. 1, 2005 -- It's almost back-to-school season -- a time when many parents drop a bundle of money on clothes, shoes and supplies. But there are several money-saving strategies, the Savings Mom Stephanie Nelson told "Good Morning America."
Saving on School Supplies
Shop early. School supplies are selling at 50 percent to 80 percent off regular prices now at some stores.
Plan ahead. Plan your shopping at home before you leave using stores' advertising circulars.
Use a "price matching" strategy. Rather than going to several stores to get the lowest prices on all the items you need, ask your stores if they price match. Price matching is when stores will match their competitors' advertised prices when the customer shows the price in a sales circular. Wal-mart, for example, has a national price matching policy at all of their stores.
Saving on School Clothes
Plan ahead. Make a list with your child before you go out shopping.
Avoid overbuying early. Avoid overbuying before school starts, since kids may have new ideas about clothes they like after they've been back to school for a few weeks. Buying too much too soon may mean some clothes won't be worn very often.
Do your research. Review the sales circulars and Web sites of stores before you leave to find special promotions and/or coupon offers. If you plan to go to any outlet malls, be sure to check your the mall's Web site before you leave for special promotions and coupon books. You may be able to print a voucher for a free coupon book at the management office, typically sold for about $5.
Shop online. Check coupon code sites to find coupons for online shopping.
Tax-free days. Take advantage of tax-free days available in 13 states and avoid paying sales charge on school clothes, which can save an additional 5 percent to 10 percent.
Saving on Shoes
Check advertising circulars for special promotions.
Visit store's Web sites for free coupons. Available at www.rackroomshoes.com, www.shoecarnival.com and www.payless.com, for example.
Check coupon code sites for coupons for online shopping.
Saving on Haircuts
Visit the Web sites of hair salon chains to look for promotional programs such as frequent customer clubs, rewards clubs and coupons you can print to save on haircuts.
Many chains also have a newsletter called Haircut Alert will send a coupon every time you need a haircut -- you select how often you want the email when you sign up. You can try www.supercuts.com, www.mastercuts.com and www.cartooncuts.com.