Midday Fix: Six secrets of back-to-school savings

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Back to School Savings Tips:

Don’t Get Trendy Just Yet:
Kids will want you to buy them what’s hot right now, but may change their mind after seeing what other students have. Trendy gear like lunch boxes and backpacks should be avoided until a month or two into the school year. Then, you can make a safe investment knowing your child has what he wants.

Keep Your Eye on the Prize:
Do an inventory of items in your home and office to see what you truly need before you make a shopping list. Once you have a list of the bare essentials, don’t go beyond that list. Fun extra items are tempting — colored markers, post-it notes, white-out — but can break your budget.

Use Coupons:
Sites like PromotionalCodes.com allow you to have coupons sent right to your inbox. They have discounts for popular back-to-school retailers like Sears, Target, and Sports Authority. Coupon alerts aren’t random; they reflect the time of the season.

Email a Teacher:
Ask your child’s teacher what supplies are absolutely needed before classes start. You can find teachers’ emails on school websites. This will avoid you spending wastefully on school supplies your child doesn’t need.

Buy Used or Rent:
The savings potential is big when buying used electronics or renting textbooks. For electronics, consider a refurbished model. Sometimes a new model of a camera, phone or computer is rated lower by reviewers than the model it replaces, and it could even mean the original owner simply opened the box and returned it without use. As your student gets older textbooks can be one of the most expensive back to school purchases, so renting is a great option. Sites like BookRenter.com offer a multitude of textbooks for rent.

Host a Mom Swap:
As a parent, you probably know mothers who have children in school. Ask them if there are any school supplies or clothes they’ve left unused, or used. Bartering with other mothers is a great way to get items for free — and it’s also fun!

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