Save Hundreds on Back to School Shopping with These Credit Card Tricks

By Christina Majaski. Last updated 23 May 2017. 0 comments

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Preparing for the return to school, whether it’s the first year for your preschooler or Freshman year at college, can be overwhelming and expensive. With back to school shopping predicted to be approximately $630 per year per student, many shoppers are more than happy to take every discount and savings on school supplies they can find. (See also: Best Credit Cards for Back to School Shopping)

We don’t often associate credit cards with saving money but, it is possible if used appropriately, for credit cards to become a helpful tool in cutting costs. Here are a few ways to use credit cards to save money on your back to school shopping this year.

Rewards Programs

Rewards programs often award cash back, miles, or points for purchases. Whether you redeem them for straight cash or discounts on other purchases (for example, travel rewards), it allows you to save. Look for cards that offer bonus rewards for school supply purchases. 

Sign Up Bonuses

One of the biggest ways to save on back to school shopping is through sign-up bonuses. If you are planning on applying for a cash back credit card anyway, you may as well choose one that is going to reward you for your purchases or help decrease some of your expenses. Some cards offer new cardholders an easy $100 for meeting a spending requirement within a few months. Some of the biggest sign-up bonuses are worth hundreds of dollars, so before you start shopping for school supplies, make sure you check to see which of the credit cards you are considering is offering the most valuable sign up bonus. (See also: Credit Cards with the Best Cash Back Sign Up Bonuses)

Price Matching

There is nothing worse than making a purchase, school supplies or not, and then finding the exact same product available for cheaper a couple weeks later. Although many retailers allow you to bring in your receipt for a refund of the difference, it can be incredibly time consuming to watch and hunt down price drops on each of your purchases. Fortunately, some credit cards offer price matching services so you don’t have to monitor and chase down each product on your own. (See also: Awesome Credit Card Benefits You Didn't Know About)

Online Shopping Portals

Many credit cards use shopping portals which provide opportunities to not only save money with certain retailers, but increase earnings and rewards when you use your credit card for purchasing. This is an extremely effective cost-savings method especially if you plan on shopping online anyway. It is important to check the retailers that are part of the shopping portal before you shop to decrease the chances of missing out on a great discount and rewards bonus. (See also: 30+ Cash Back Websites to Earn You Thousands per Year)

Balance Transfer

If you're carrying a balance on your credit card, adding more purchases can mean spending quite a bit more on your school supplies than you intended. You can save money on those purchases by transferring your balance to a card with a lower APR or one with a 0% promotional offer. There are currently a number of cards offering 0% APRs on balance transfers. (See also: Credit Cards with No Balance Transfer Fees)

0% APR

If you’re currently low on funds but can’t wait to purchase supplies (because school is starting soon!), credit cards that offer 0% APR on purchases for a limited time can provide you much needed time to pay off your purchases without incurring interest. The key here is to avoid interest charges, which means you must pay off your balance before the promotional period ends! 

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