Ways to Save Big on Back-to-School Supplies

Potential ways to slash your bills by hundreds of dollars.

— -- It’s that time of year again when families are hitting the stores with those hefty back-to-school lists.

Erica Young’s family of four spends more than $1,500 on getting ready for school each year.

“With the two kids I’m just spending twice as much,” Young, co-editor at Motherburg.com, told ABC News. “And with a third on the way I’m even a little more budget conscious of trying to cut corners.”

But Lindsay Powers, editorial director of Yahoo parenting, is armed with easy ways to save.

First, there are apps like ibotta or Ebates that will pay you to shop. Just search for your store and there’s cash back on all your purchases.

“Two percent cash back, it’s activated, and you can combine it with what is already on sale,” Powers explained while showing Young how to use the apps.

Next, sign up for mailing lists. Those lists often give exclusive sales only to subscribers. An LL Bean listing alerted Young to a 25% off deal on backpacks and lunchboxes they were already planning to buy.

“Your total is $103,” Powers said. “At 25% off, that’s going to take your total down to about $75.”

And if you’re shopping online, Powers suggested checking sites or apps like RetailMeNot or Shopular for secret savings, such as 25% off at Staples.

“For all your school supplies, it’s just over $160,” Powers said. “We’ve added this coupon on and it’s dropped down to $140.”

Those same apps also alert you to in-store deals using the GPS locator on your phone to find you savings as soon as you walk in.

After ringing it all up Young’s original total was $400.98, but after applying a 35% off code, “you actually saved $163, so your total is only $240,” said the cashier.

All in all, the tips saved this family more than $250, which is more than 15% off their back-to-school budget.

More than a dozen states hold tax free days just for back-to-school shopping, which can save up to an additional 8 percent. Click here to find out where.

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